Our time in Istanbul is coming to and end, and while we are looking forward to the adventures lying in front of us, we also had a really great time here. Thanks to our friend Hakan who hosted us, and played music with us, brought us to many interesting places, thanks to the A.I.D-collective who organized a great party in the Vault 34, which seems to be the place to be for underground music and culture in Istanbul at the moment, and all the other nice people we met.
It’s my second time in Istanbul, and in only three years there were quite some chances. I feel the whole city became more crwoded. The Istiklal Street feels fuller than ever. Also full of cops, police with machine guns is everywhere in Beyoğlu. There are even two water canon tanks stationed on Istiklal 24/7. But when we went to Kadiköy, a place i perceived as rather calm, last time i was there, this time it was also full of people. We got told that many people moved from Beyoğlu to Kadiköy and that there was some Gentrification going on (where on earth this doesn’t going on?). We were staying in the absolute center of nightlife, in a sidestreet of Istiklal, and every night the sound of the live music almost every bar has, mixed with the sound of the more or less talented Darbuka and Clarinette players who go from bar to bar and play right in peoples faces as loud as they can till they give them money and endless lines of Taxis honking and trying to make their ways through the narrow alleys and being held up by the garbage collectors with their huge carts. For sure it was very noisy here, but it was also inspiring. Also there are going to be elections in Turkey soon. Actually just on a local level, but all over Turkey so it is kind of important. So where ever we go we meet cars who shout political messages over speakers, or portraits of politicians, some as big as house walls (you can guess whose face that bore), or people handing out flyers. At Taksim Erdogan is building a huge new mosque now. Just today on World Womens Day was a big protest in Istiklal, unfortunately met by police violence, teargas and rubber bullets. Politics are definitely a big issue right now in Turkey and many people we meet are not very satisfied with the political situation. But life goes on and especially in Istanbul, it’s going faster than ever.
Tomorrow we will go to Eskisehir. We will try to hitchhike with the bikes, let’s see how that is going to turn out. We will play a concert there on the 10th and then continue to Ankara.