Last night was a lot of fun. After my cruise up the Bosphorous, where I crossed over to Asia, i took the bus back to the city. The cruise was really great- just like I did in Berlin, I think it's a really great way to see a lot of the city quickly. Real estate in Istanbul is ridiculous on the water-every home was in the 20 to 30 million dollar range. Bananas.
The hostel had a BBQ on the rooftop with traditional Turkish food, which was really good--then a belly dancer came in to entertain us. It was cool--made the evening feel like we were in the middle east, even though we're still in Europe. After that, they set up water pipes, or hookah as some people call it. I don't smoke at all, but I figured if I'm ever going to try it, I should try it while I was here. Underwhelming and my throat hurt for like 3 days after. Not impressed.
Some people at the table mentioned a hostel they stayed at the night before was doing a pub crawl, so a bunch of us went over to that. It was a ton of fun--Taksim (the night district) is just buzzing at that time. We met a couple from Scotland whose room had a bedbug invasion - SO glad I wasn't staying at that hostel! A bunch of Aussies also were there, which was cool. We went to a bar with live music and the first song we hear is a cover of Ricky Martin. Glad to see they're keeping up with current charts. Then we headed to Turkish karaoke, where I tried Raki (Turkish alcohol) for the first time. So gross. Its clear but turns cloudy white when water is added.
We ended the night at an outdoor patio where we watched the sunrise, before catching a cab back to the hostel. Checking out 4 hrs later was really fun, let me tell you. (Friends from Texas who went on the pub crawl with me)