Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 17 - August 1, 2017
Istanbul, Turkey to Istanbul, Turkey
Countries: 19 KMs/Miles: 7095/4409
Breakdowns: 7 Time @ Borders: 21h 25m
The cool dark room provided the Kooks with a good slumber but all could have used a few more hours. The long days and hot weather the day before made them a little sluggish off the bat. The wanted to get to the Iran consulate at their 8:30am open so they could be first in line. Already having their approval codes, the team was hoping to expedite their visas in order to get them that afternoon and head out on the road again.
The consulate proved to be a pretty easy experience, with a nice security securing their phones, and a nicer counter attendant. He was happy to rush it and take their money but said it couldn't be processed until the following morning which means they would have to spend another night in Istanbul. Though disappointed, there was an internal sigh of relief that they wouldn't have to drive that day, probably nodding asleep at the wheel. Plus, no they could explore without being rushed.
The only thing that held them up that morning was more disorganization. Not enough pens to full out applications, not having their info printed to full out forms (as there phones were locked up), not everyone having passport pictures, and not having the right amount of currency to pay. The biggest losers were Mikey and John whose U.K. visas cost the most but far. Not sure what the U.K. did but whatever it was, Iran didn't like it. At least Mikey got to share tea with the bank representative. You'll often see people drinking apple tea on a small plate in a little glass cup with a small spoon and a couple of sugar cubes. And you'll be offered it in a variety of situations, even buying shoes!
They missed breakfast at the hostel so they dumped their gear and headed out. They had to change, it was HOT, reaching mid to high 30s by midday. The hottest they've experienced so far. So whats the best way to cure the body on a hot day? A hot breakfast of Menemen, a Turkish egg dish, and hot Turkish coffee, a sweet unfiltered treat that you have to let settle and leaves you with mud at the bottom of your glass. And of course white bread. At every meal. Gluten free is not a thing here. The boys loved it, a little dirty bulking never hurt anyone. The Blue Mosque was next on their list and it didn't disappoint.
There are mosques all over Turkey sporting multiple domes and towers. To the unfamiliar eye, they look like they are right out of Star Wars. Beautiful structures and a nice architectural change from all of the cathedrals they saw in Europe. The Blue Mosque may be the most famous site in Istanbul. Unbelievable from both outdoors and in. The courtyard offered a lot of informative about Islam and Muslim culture. Well layed out and easy to follow, it was a great way to debunk a lot of uneducated information many people have in their minds. On entry, you had take off your shoes and cover up. If in shorts, they gave you a dress like garnet to wear. Inside, the ceiling were spectacular and the carpet plush on your bare feet. All in all, a great spot to take a billion pictures. And you will.
The Mikey tour was on and to the Grand Bazaar they followed. Kooks be shopeeen' !!They be shoppen'! This covered maze of shops all selling the same things spans kilometres and needs street signs to navigate. Better put a leash on Geej! The fella promised their Iranian carnet de passage provider that they would bring him blue Nikes for his son and some toothpaste. An odd request but one the team would make good on. And this was the place to do it. They also purchased a backgammon/chess board for boarder waits and a lucky eyeball to hang from the rear view mirror. The Turkish people may be the best sales people they have ever encountered but their also friendly and a cup of tea goes a long way to making a sale. Andy continued hit tap water kick and Joel is baklava addiction. One would need an intervention.
They lads were baking and needed something to quench their thirst. Back to the hostel roof top and enjoy the views. "What, you don't open until three? DUR, wait a sec. I'm sorry, I thought this was God damn America!" Bagged, the retreated to their basement dungeon room for a quick power nap. Joel snoring before his head hit the pillow. Shortly after, they headed back up for a cold one and a few warm ones playing backgammon, doing some admin and just chilling. No pressure to leave that day.
Hunger set in but before doing that, they arranged their air ballooning trip two mornings from now. If they get their Iran visas first thing tomorrow and book it to Cappadocia, they could catch a couple of winks for the 5am flight. They took a hostel recommendation of a restaurant near the hostel and feasted on a local delicacy of a lamb or chicken stew in a clay pot they crack open on the table. Yummy. Another Efes and shisha laughing session followed. That's when Joel dropped a bombshell. "I hate to break it to you. Kooks, we're bankrupt."
If you are a company or individual that would like to help the Kooks get out of receivership by sponsoring our car with your name or logo go to: http://www.gofundme.com/kublai-kooks-mongol-rally-2017
The night ended by walking around the square and taking even more pictures of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Full of people yet peaceful. The smells of sweet corn and chestnuts filled the air. The call to prayer echoing from the towers. Soothing. Back to the rooftop for a few last brims and beers and off to bed early. Good night Kooks. I hope your dreams are filled with abergine. End transmission.