Schön Dich Wieder Zu Sehen!

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“It was a lovely morning. You could even see from an iPhone picture above”.


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Cape Town, May 5th 2018 

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Some movies on Netflix last night slacken my system. I woke up early on Saturday morning but my spirit was still hiding under a thick duvet and seemed so hard to leave. I could see the sky was still dark from the glass windows even though I nearly blind when I don’t have my spectacles on. That thick white duvet wasn’t the only thing I could blame. The air was very cold, no AC was on, I can’t sleep with AC on fyi. My system was really slow yet fortunately, I had packed all stuffs back to my small suitcase. It was so typical of me packing things night before I travelled. Thirty minutes gone and I was still trying so hard to leave. On the bed, I was cross checking my flight to Asia to ensure I had enough time before leaving this AirBnB.

I finally had my clothes on and prepared light breakfast from the food that was left in the fridge. I cancelled my plan to visit Truth for the last cup of cappuccino even though if I did, I still had enough time for Uber and an hour coffee time since the distance from the city centre to the airport is 30 minutes only.

My Uber was outside. That time, I realized the sky was way brighter than the day I arrived in Cape Town. The sky was very blue, the air was still cold, and the breeze was cool. The sun made the day clearer and it was a good thing. As I was listening to some songs with earpieces on my way to the airport, I was smiling all the way. I sat inside the car with a thought those days I had in Cape Town were amazing.

My flight was for 1pm. Before I stood among those people who would travel to different parts of the globe, I slowed my steps down to record every single scenes in my brain. I was pleased by the fact that I’d seen a tiny part of South Africa but as far as I remember,

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“Till I stood in front of a huge clear glass window staring at two airplanes outside.

My good feeling was sinking to an excitement as if I couldn’t wait any longer jumping in the plane to memorize how beautiful a sunset that day would be. And also, to the fact that my vacation wasn’t over yet”

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On the way to Dubai, May 5th 2018 

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You know that feeling when you do not realize you’ve created some memories at some corners of this earth and started feeling blue cause it’s time to leave them there? When the plane was up small by small it gave me such an instant nostalgic feeling, but in the same time I tried not to be too maudlin. I could call it as a peculiar feeling number two on this journey.

Cape Town seemed as pretty and neat as the first time I stared out of the window. The blue sky I talked about was closer to me, throwing a perfect afternoon light on my seat. I started to let all those memories stayed in Cape Town when I tucked myself for nine more hours to Dubai. I knew I had to make this journey as comfortable as possible with blanket, earphones, The Shape of Water and low cholesterol meal I accidentally ordered online which was tasteless yet helped so much from starving (bad one, I had no chocolate mousse but fruits as dessert – no, you don’t eat fruit as a dessert, do you? – this is an honest statement, I was secretly drooling when I looked at a lady’s dessert beside me). Tasteless meal didn’t stop me to feel good cause a sunset I suspected that day would be pretty, came to be gorgeous.

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Landed in Dubai for two hours only gave me something I could count as a peculiar feeling number three. Well, not to mention how I was still bemused by the lady who sat on the same row on the plane that played Candy Crush for almost seven hours non-stop (believe me, she did. No movies, no sleep, like seriously). My peculiar feeling number three was how I, Azis – who’s picky for good food – was craving a crispy fried chicken. It was really strange how I thought about fried chicken and ended with a regret at McDonalds. What I got instead were one chocolate donut, one croissant and a cup of coffee cause I had no interest on McD’s burgers – I could tell you, I only eat burger once or max twice a whole year, not a fan. It wasn’t only fried chicken I counted as a peculiar feeling number three. I asked for a coke when I had my on board meal – I mean, that was something since I barely drink anything like coke and friends – and it tasted so damn good with ice cubes.

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Hong Kong, May 6th 2018 

Unlike the flight from Cape Town, I spent most of my time by watching some movies pretended I wasn’t bored. I should have slept more since I felt so tired but these eyes didn’t even want to close. The time I witnessed a gentle sunrise from above, I knew all those peculiar feelings were part of an upcoming exciting journey.

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I kept smiling after few photographs of sunrise were taken. It was pretty, it was tranquil. I smiled because I felt lucky still having an opportunity to travel, flying from one corner to another where life experiences awaited. I tried closing my eyes for an hour but I was awoke immediately when a harsh light fell thru my window. Morning light was brighter as the sun came up, it told me gently that Hong Kong was closer.

Those skyscrapers were seen among fluffy white clouds. It was a similar view I saw last year when I had a connecting flight from Tokyo to Jakarta. That was just few hours flying from the airport but this journey won’t be the same. I was on top of Hong Kong, a country I used to put at those last ones to visit cause I didn’t feel interested, what else.

I was on the queue to enter a train to the immigration. I had one peculiar feeling of “Back to Asia” added when I stood and learned where the train would stop (how many times I said ‘peculiar’ here? You count?). It was a busy afternoon when my mind was even just, meager. I was feeling meager actually, blame my eyes. A message dropped from a friend of mine right after my iPhone connected to airport’s WiFi.

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He asked, “You’ve taken a train to the city?”

I replied with a picture of a route showed outside the train, “Not yet, heading to immigration first”


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I experienced the same thing in front of the immigration officer. Damn, it took longer to check my passport. I had no clue why perhaps my name? But it wasn’t shaken me at all. I mean, I had no clue what surprises I’d have so let’s face it. Immigration done and time to learn those signages on the spot. I admit I didn’t delve anything about Hong Kong, well somebody I could ask everything was there, lazy me. I walked with a little migraine, oily straight face, and stiff shoulders but my eyes and brain had to connect learning those signages where I should get a train ticket to the central. All I wanted that afternoon was taking bath, standing under the shower, clean towel and spray of perfume before lied down on the bed.

My steps stopped at one corner of a foreign exchange counter. Two o’clock, I came out to the arrival point and followed those signages till I stopped with worse migraine. Believe me, I’d be so glad if I had a magic door like Doraemon has. Although a magic door seemed like a mindless dream, I was standing with a dream when a 5,5 feet somebody surprisingly came from the right side. As my mind was still meager, I clearly remembered I didn’t expect any travel agents. But, there was Andreas Knogler with a little Mr. written thinner than Azis Abdul in capital on a piece of paper.

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“I had a daze for seven seconds till I woke up that this somebody was actually Andreas Knogler. It was ridiculous, diverting per se”

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On the eighth second, I realized it wasn’t a dream when we both hugged and I said, “Wie geht’s Herr Knogler?!!!!” (No I didn’t ask him in German, in English of course. Herr means Mr. as I always call him Mr. Knogler, fyi). If you are attentive enough how many exclamation marks on a German question, you would know how bemused it was. Andreas didn’t even tell me he waited in the airport and the way he asked if I had already taken a train to the city wasn’t such a piece of puzzles. Honestly speaking, I didn’t surmise Andreas could create a surprise which imho, it was ridiculously-geniously done.

If you just visited this blog, I wrote how Andreas and I met in Tokyo on 2016 here. For the past two years we have been communicating through Skype sharing and talking random things every time we both free (on no, sometimes I have to book his time ahead – no you’re not reading wrongly – in case he’s climbing somewhere in Southern Italy, or running marathon in Athens). I must say talking to Andreas over the screen on Skype is always pleasing but had an opportunity to see him again in person this year was remarkable. I don’t know, there is something special about seeing best friends halfway around the world.

Andreas was way too kind for becoming a travel companion while we were in Hong Kong. I’m gonna share days we spent on separate posts when we had so much fun. But before this post ends, I want to share a note which originally written by him through Messenger two years ago, August 8th – I copied his note for a picture purpose, you all know. Please read his last sentence, you’ll start believing that universe has a magical way to make a sincere wish, strongly, secretly, becomes real when all opportunities meet together without even telling you when. Till right now, I could even feel the magic of this note.

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P.S. A photograph of Andreas above was actually taken few minutes before he caught a flight to Seoul. I asked him to recreate the scene of him holding that – travel agent, oh Lord it was funny- paper before he left Hong Kong for a short vacation whilst I still had few days left. Let me remind you one thing, it is true that some moments in life are fine to keep in our memory. But trust me, if you could freeze that moment into a photograph, you’ll have double memories which easier to be remembered in the next let say, ten to twenty years :)  

The Day I Met Hasan


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“It’s been raining since morning, today.

Dimmed light, silent eve, it reminds me of someone I’ve been missing for past few days.

It’s my friend, Hasan…”

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10.30PM

I was running a bit when Hakan and Saf dropped me at Taksim Square. Rain was pouring right after I came out from the taxi. I couldn’t just walk towards my hostel so I stood inside the entrance of Taksim Station. The air was cold, for me, it was too cold. 

I smiled. I promised to myself that I had to enjoy everything from that journey. Rain made me frozen for a sec, but my smile that eve was still bright.

11.03PM

I was already inside my hostel. I managed my breath. I couldn’t even lie that I was exhausted. Very. I sat on the couch at the reception with few Krispy Kreme left.

“Hey, I think there is a birthday party going on upstairs. You don’t wanna check it out?”. I just smiled. I smiled to the guy in the reception that told me about the event upstairs while I was trying to warm myself. Rain in spring was something else. At first, I had no interest to see what was going on. I could hear some giggles, boisterous laughters. What I truly needed was a bed, pillows and blanket cause I had to go to the airport to catch my flight to Cappadocia the next day.

Something came in my mind. I remembered how excited I was when I met a person in Tokyo that later became one of my best friends. You know, random people, random stories, random moments that could probably only be found if you stay in the hostel. I knew that feeling. It was gone for the past three days since I arrived in Istanbul. My mind said no yet my heart said yes. I went inside the lift and pressed 6.

I was a bit surprised when the lift doors was opened. Something jumped on my mind like “Oh no, I’m too old for this.” cause as far as I could see were mostly teenagers. It was a cultural night kind of. Something interesting was happening. Alcohols, spirits, snacks, flags, you know, when different people from all over the world were in the same room and made a midnight party. I just stood and felt awkward a bit. Wish I knew it like hours before, I could manage myself among them.

I chose to see what I could see at the terrace.

11.58PM

It was two minutes before midnight. I thought I was nuts pretending the air wasn’t that cold outside. It was fucking freezing. There were two people smoking cigarettes. I bet they were European tho I wasn’t that sure.

I stood and breathed. It was so serene I might say. I could even remember the smell after the rain was. I felt frozen yet blessed at 12.10AM. I sat on one cushion that was a bit soppy after I managed with an iPhone picture. I just wanted to feel the night. I just wanted to ensure that I was still under the same sky but in another part of the world, far away from home. I couldn’t literally stop smiling to the sky.


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“Then someone came,

and offered me a cigarette.”

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He sat by my side. With a cigarette in his hand we acquainted ourself. His name is Hasan. Hasan Tasci. My cheesiness came out instantly when, “Oh no! you were born in France! Hasan, I met with two guys also from Paris!” (you know me, I have a very high cheesiness level, esp if you mention about Paris, or France, so please don’t judge me). I felt nasty to myself as I remembered. I know, but I wanted to become who I really am. Paris, croissant, what else again that could turn myself into the cheesiest person on earth? 

“Hasan, you know what, I just want to sit down at one cafe with a warm croissant and a cup of cappuccino, in Paris”, the same sentence I repeat every time I dream about one fine day in Paris. I said the same to Hasan. Hasan was smiling when he heard it. We sat very close cause he barely speaks English. When I asked and answered in English, he looked a bit puzzled. Few times I had to wide my ears open when he spoke. Sometimes I found it a bit funny when I knew what he meant to say but took for minutes arranging the words to a sentence. Hasan is Turkish by blood but born in France. He is French, speaks French and Turkish very fluently. Tho few times I apologized when I spoke too fast but he was kinda fine, “That’s okay Azis, I want to exercise my English. I’m happy to hear you speak English”.


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Oh, I said also, “Like me when I hear you speak Hasan, I’m dying to be able to speak French!”.

In fact, I just know some, “Merci, bonjour, de rien, what else again? je vais très bien?” 

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“Azis, I can pack croissants for you when I’m back in France and fly them to Lagos”

I was laughing. Hasan, you were too funny. I wanted to say, “No no, send me a ticket to Paris and I’ll eat my fresh French croissant”. Yes, it was definitely a crap if I said so, no, I’m not that bad. I shaked Hasan’s hand and said “We will see in Paris” with some giggles.

01.38AM

“It’s time to sleep Azis”

“I know, wish we had more time to share stories. Paris, haha but I also need to rest Hasan, I have to go to the airport to Cappadocia by 8”. Hasan said he was staying in that hostel for 7 days, but that morning was my last day. I didn’t want to make the same mistake like what I did in Kyoto. I asked his number but he couldn’t remember his French number. Hasan gave his email instead. “Are you in Facebook?” he asked. “Sure, but it has been a while I do not open my account, I feel Facebook is so boring these days” . He let me typed my account in Facebook on his smart phone. That was the only way we could connect each other after all. “I’ll let you know if I come back from Cappadocia, we can find Turkish coffee and continue our stories” 

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The second time I met Hasan was late night after the drama. I flew from Kayseri with a positive mind that my last two days in Istanbul would be unforgettable. It was unforgettable, indeed. In so many ways.


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An evening with someone kind named Hasan, an evening I won’t forget. 

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21st April 2017. 9.43PM

In a cold evening on my last night in Istanbul, I came to where Hasan stayed after I found an adaptor for my iPhone. I sat on the same couch. I felt warmer inside. My Zara couldn’t even help me fighting the weather. Hasan came. I had told him that somebody had sent me $160.

“Wait a minute Azis, let me Google it. Maybe there are some WU open by this time. Oh there is, but this is quite far”. I looked at Hasan and said, “No, don’t worry. This is late. How about tomorrow?”

“I’m working tomorrow till 3PM on Saturday. When is your flight? How about if I take the money when I’m on my way to work”. When he said that, I thought the same thing like the first time I met him. This man is kind-hearted. Genuinely kind. He just helped somebody who he knew for only 1,5 hours, sincerely.

“Have you eaten, Azis? Follow me, I’ll take you to find Turkish tea. It’s good for this kind of weather”. I laughed, “I have Hasan, you know cheap KFC”. I mean, I had to manage Turkish Lira so no fancy dinner for myself. I followed Hasan when he stepped outside. “Hurry up Azis, it’s windy. You are not feeling it?”. Sure, wish you knew how I ran with my hands crossed. It was very cold. Hasan and I went to the park near Taksim Square. He was laughing at me, “Azis, what is your problem, you took a cold water in a cold weather like this”, oh come on, I was thirsty. “You know how to use the water heater in the hostel? seems like it is not working”, Hasan asked and I answered, “You have to wait for minutes before you stand under the shower. It’s bad but it will work”

We arrived at one place like a restaurant. It was quite. I was so sure we came at the wrong time when they had closed. Hasan told me they have a very good Turkish tea. I saw number 10 on my wrist watch. I told Hasan, what was his next plan. He said he only wanted some light food for his dinner. We both headed to İstiklal Caddesi but I stopped my steps for a sec when I saw a beautiful bridge from that park. Night lights could be seen from where I stood. On our way, I thought about something. Perhaps, the essence of traveling isn’t the joy of relaxation where we visit somewhere new. When we take a break from our busy life. But the opportunity when we can learn to know new people. When we meet with some kind people and become friend. When they just come to our life with pure kindness when we are in a place far away from home.

Losing my personal thing when I was in Istanbul might be the one that lead me to learn more when I met Hasan.

Hasan sat with some fried chickens at the same place where I had my dinner earlier. It wasn’t that long till I asked something and he replied, “No Azis, you can talk to me but no picture”. I understood. Not everyone loves having pictures of themselves. Hasan is among. Tho I was still expected he changed his mind cause you know, photograph is the only way to freeze a moment that gone forever.

22nd April 2017. 4.23PM

I ran a bit to meet Hasan on my last day in Istanbul. I had packed all my things and counted how much my time left to see Hasan. There is one WU near the hostel. I couldn’t believe that the time to say goodbye to Turkey had come in end. I waited Hasan at the same place. On the same couch, at the same space.

I thought I would have time to sit with cups of coffee then. It was just happened so fast. Hasan said he had an appointment to see his friend. “Come on Azis, let’s take the money”, he said. We were in hurry. It was just minutes after he came back from his internship in one production house in Istanbul.

I sat beside him when he signed the letter to withdraw the money. I looked at Hasan and said to myself, “I wish we had time, I just want to treat you with a lunch as a thank you”. Hasan made a joke to me why I put his name as a receiver. I said the truth, that was my first time accepted money thru WU. I thought we must have an account, but as simple as it was, I gave him an honest answer. I changed $30 to Turkish Lira in case on my way to the airport, I stopped to grab some fridge magnets.

I sat with Hasan before we left WU. I thanked again and again for what he did to me. For that night, for the money he lent me, for the friendship. I had faith in what I saw that day. I made a promise before I met Hasan for the last time. I made a promise that I had to give him something. I wrote a long sentence in my iPhone, he understood when he read French. “Please do take this”, Hasan was quite. He wrote in French and translated to English, we did it to ease what we wanted to say. “Azis, I just helped you cause you needed. I would call you if I had the same problem if I were in Lagos. I don’t want to take this if this is expensive. Look Azis, I’m not wearing any”

I begged Hasan to keep it for me so I will remember his kindness. He said he would receive it as souvenir. “Azis, if you are in Paris, I’ll be the one that pay your croissant and cappuccino, deal?”, Hasan smiled. My smile was ear to ear. I was pleased when Hasan accepted the gift. For me, it was the simplest thing I could only do that day to express how grateful I was for everything. My smile became brighter when I finally saw Hasan on my iPhone’s screen for a selfie. “I don’t mind but we take together”, Hasan surprised me when he changed his mind after I asked how about the picture. “Hasan, see the background is perfect, haha, Western Union, I’ll remember you every time I see WU”, though it was only one picture but it was enough to end my trip with gratitude.

Before I left, I hugged someone kind-hearted who I met only 1,5 hours, who accompanied me when I had a big problem in somewhere far from home. Someone who I learnt from that in this world we will always have a destiny to meet kind people, for a reason.

 

 

See you in Paris, mon frère.

 

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