I returned to Istanbul on a late night flight, arriving at 11 PM. Unfortunately, as was bound to happen at some point, my luggage was lost. I went to the desk to report it and was told to sit and wait while they tried to locate my backpack. After a couple hours, they brought it to me. Yay! But it was now 1:00 AM and I had an hour transfer to Taksim Square and a 20 minute walk to the hotel. When I finally arrived at the room I had booked, I was told they had charged me as a no show. I asked if they had a room and they did for the first night but not the second night. Ugh! Oh well. I just wanted to sleep. I would deal with all of this in the morning. After a good nights sleep, I started searching for a room. Since my mother was meeting me in 2 days I decided to book an apartment down the street. I got directions and was told I could check-in early. I packed my bag and walked to the location on the map. I looked around but no apartment building. Then I read the directions and realized it was a few blocks away in a neighborhood that was tough looking. I stood at the street trying to figure out if it was right. What lie ahead was building covered in graffiti and windows were missing. Crap! I booked a place in the hood! Mom was going to have a fit! I took a deep breath and continued walking. When I arrived at the apartment, I asked if this was a safe area for a woman to walk alone at night. The woman assured me it was but I decided to remain cautious. The room was large and spacious. Very clean too! I hoped it was safe. Only time would tell.
That evening, I went to see my friend David the barber. We had tea and talked. He told me I would be safe and to stop by and he or one of the barbers would walk me home if I was scared. He is so nice! I went to have dinner at my friends restaurant and we caught up. He insisted I stay until his work was done and then he would walk me home. I stayed and soon we decided to go out for drinks and dancing. It was a fun night in Istanbul and the walk home was safe. I was feeling better about the location.
Mom insisted I go out and see friends I had met my first time in Istanbul...so I followed orders and went out at night. I loved the laid back side of Istanbul nightlife. Small pubs with local music and dance. My friend showed me the local side and I loved it! Turkey has won me over!