Welcome to Istanbul! Don’t talk to anyone.

Bit of a tiring day…

Actual conversations I had today:

Guy “Friend! Friend! You are American, yes?! Do you want cigarette?”
Me “Hayir” (Turkish for no, which I now know well)
Guy answers with many Turkish things, I walk away.

Guy #2 “Hello America! Blue Mosque closed, I take you somewhere good”
Me “Hayir!”
I am heading to the metro token machine to add tokens to my card, he sees where I am headed and runs ahead of me and leans on the machine, smiling. I still have a couple actual tokens so I head the other way and get in line for the tram.

Guy #3 “Hello, do you know the way to Sulleyman’s Mosque”
Me “Walk up that hill for a while and you will start to see signs”
Guy #3 “Oh, with your beard I thought you were a local, I am new here too, I am from Cyprus”
Me “Yeah, I’m from Cyprus too”
I turn around and walk away.

Guy #4 starts speaking in Turkish
Me “Sorry, I don’t speak Turkish”
Guy #4 “Oh, with your beard….”
Me “Fuck off”
I walk away.

Guy #5, a shoe shiner, walking past me with his gear, I can see he has dropped a brush, I pick it up and run it back to him, he starts talking, uh-oh.
Guy #5 “I shine, no charge, very good, very good friend”
He starts soaping my shoes before I can say anything, he washes and brushes them, I can feel what is coming…
Guy #5 “Ok! $20 lira please” (about $10)
Me “You said no charge, sorry”
Guy #5 “Ok! $19 lira”
I walk away, he follows, yelling that I am cheating him, follows me for a good while…

There weren’t just 5 either but I’m tired.

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