Talking about traveling, I have one dream I really wish it would be happened anytime soon: exploring Europe by road with my very best friend, Ruli. Renting an old Fiat for three months, start the slow journey from Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, till stop for a month in one of our dream destination in Italy, Tuscany. Staying in a country side and living like locals. It won’t be bad if we could enjoy the end of our trip with something a bit fancier. Doing nothing with a thick wallet in Santorini could be the perfect ending. Man, dunno when that will happen yet just imagining this dream could make me smile ear to ear for a whole day.
Okay, back to REALITY.
There is one thing I have always loved from traveling is the people I meet along the way. Lucky me, most fellow travellers have become my friends for life. It is amazing every time I meet random people in another part of the world and feel connected after all. A fellow traveler from Kiev, is one of my new friend I would remember from my recent trip.
“Hey, are you OK? Did you drink too much last night?”
A question I heard right after I opened my eyes. I dropped my head on the pillow without an answer. My head was a bit dizzy from a horrible night when Hasan and I left the police station after 1am. Three minutes later I wrote, “so sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. I’m Azis, from Indonesia. I just lost my wallet last night.” on my iPhone. I went straight to the restroom to upchuck a wave of nausea and left my iPhone in his hand. I came back to our room that has four beds, it wasn’t that spacious yet I felt more comfortable than my previous hostel. I introduced myself to Deniz, a fellow traveler from Ukraine.
My mind wasn’t clear enough looking for solutions how I would survive in Istanbul. My mind was divided into two. Staying in hostel for a day or went outside to soothe my mind with camera in hand. Both options would have some of TL100 Hasan lent me for food. While I was looking for solutions, Deniz tucked himself with a thick white blanket, “I think I’ll sleep for two hours”.
When I looked at him I said to myself, “I wish I could also tuck my body after I bathed, took a nap few hours and went for a proper lunch, with few new Zara after, that’s how I should enjoy my last two days here. It’s pesky I know”. Otherwise, I was busy thinking how I could get at least $150 till I left Turkey the next day. Deniz was still awoke with his smart phone in his hand. He didn’t close his eyes for napping yet busy browsing some infos how to transfer money to Ukranian bank. He showed me his card and laughed, “there’s no money here, Azis”. I laughed, too.
I had blocked all my cards last night so the only way to transfer money from my account was using token. And had no one with me, suck, sigh. I was busy contacting one of my good friend in Lagos a whole day to send me money, but I knew Lagos is funny (and in the end was zero, poor her). I didn’t give up till I finally got $160 from my colleague when she was in New Jersey, US. Stupid me, I gave Hasan’s details to her when she sent thru WU, it meant the final answer to get the money was meeting Hasan, ugh.
“I just want to grab a beer and breathe fresh air, wanna come along?”
Deniz was looking so fresh after he took a bath. I felt like, “damn why I had to stay a whole day in this room and tomorrow I’ll say bye to Turkey?”. I looked at Deniz and said “so sorry because of me you couldn’t even take a nap, but hey I don’t mind for a cold vodka”. Sure, the last sentence was a jest since I don’t drink (I promise).
I followed Deniz outside. That day was a pretty day in spring. We were walking around İstiklal Avenue, the weather was cool, the crowd was the same. Deniz offered me something to eat and I couldn’t lie anymore that I was starving. I said I didn’t mind for a cheap kebab, I laughed. Most affordable street food in Istanbul is delicious. With only TL100 I had no choice to be fancy. Deniz took me to a food stall near our hostel that sell döner kebap and friends.
We sat outside with warm wraps on the table. He had ayran while I had coke. Deniz was laughing when I said that I didn’t drink coke but it was an exception for that day. Not because he paid the bill, yet what I wanted was enjoying every second, every single thing I had in Istanbul. We had a very warm random conversation, about our dads, what we wanted to be in the next 5 years, when the first time we drank (he laughed again for this), and what we wanted to do if we are in Amsterdam one day.
“Why you love photographing food like that? Come on, eat”, he said. “I’ll remember this wrap in the next few years when I look at the picture you know”, I responded.
After our quick-lunch, Deniz took me to one small cafe for Turkish coffee after I mentioned Starbucks (why Starbucks when Turkey has fantastic coffee, he said). We sat inside since the spring breeze was colder in the afternoon. We continued our random conversation from why I interested in interior design and would like to capture buildings in Amsterdam (Deniz shooked his head for this), why he studied obstetrics and gynaecology at Bogomolets National Medical University, how busy he is with his internship in Kiev, till when he started playing violin, saxophone, and piano.
We went back to our hostel when he had to prepare his next trip with his uncle who lives in Istanbul. We said goodbye after I asked for some photos of him, few thank you’s for the wrap, the coffee, plus two cigarettes I took when I accompanied him smoking in front of our hostel (believe me, I don’t smoke and can’t live with smoker, but smoking in a cold day in spring could make you warmer, Deniz taught me how to smoke right).
Deniz was leaving when his uncle was arriving, and I kinda happy could hug him to say bye for a very short meeting with a friendship left behind.
“I think Deniz really had no clue what he did was meant for someone who only had $30 for the last two days of vacation”
Hey Deniz, if you read this post, let me make confession here. Do you remember when I slow down my steps in front of one market where fresh strawberries and blueberries were neatly displayed? And you were asking me, “do you want that?” and I said, “don’t worry, I’m fine.”?
I was lying to you that afternoon, lol. I was really, really wanted to taste those berries in spring where the weather was cool. I think it’s just my nature that I can’t ask too much when someone already helped without I even asked. You used to reply my message “forget it” when I said thanks again for that day.
Dear Deniz, what you did to me was more than enough, and it taught me one thing: sharing is a good thing, indeed. We don’t need to be rich to share something, it could be the real meaning of being rich when we do it wholeheartedly, unconditionally.
спасибі за доброту Йора.
See you in Kiev.