Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Quick Stop in Kilyos (Istanbul, Turkey)

When I think about the word "suburb," I conjure up images of endless rows of cookie-cutter houses, bland big box stores, and about as much culture as the crumpled receipt currently loitering beside my computer. Being from midtown Toronto, I'm used to thinking about suburbia as little more than a residence which happens to be within driving distance of Canada's economic hub. Well, I realized that Istanbul is cause to re-consider what exactly a suburb could be.

Kilyos, on the coast of the Black Sea, feels a world away from the chaos of central Istanbul, despite only being about a 45 minute drive from the heart of the city. The sun shines brightly in the sky, enveloping you in an almost tropical heat. There were five of us who made the journey to Kilyos's Solar Beach Club. We all crammed into a petite cab in Taksim, where I was able to practice my makeshift Turkish with some success. Evidently our cab driver was fond of us, as when he departed he stretched out for a group hug and said, "I love you all." Turkish people are simply wonderful.

The beach itself had no shortage of soft, brownish sand upon which you could sink your toes, if you could stand the sheer heat of it that is. The entrance was about 45 TL if I can remember correctly, which, in retrospect, I can confidently say was worth it. The electronic beats bumped all day, making sure that we were able to relax, but not quite fall asleep and wake up with sun burns that might not even be classifiable by the current degree burn system. The water was warm, yet refreshing, and the bridge which led out to the cabana like structure off shore certainly was a nice touch. It was, simply put, all we could have asked for on this particular Saturday.

To a large extent in life, it's not what you're doing, but who you are doing it with. Thus, while the beach was nice, and the water was a magical escape from the heat of Istanbul, it was who I was with that made all the difference. Of course, Bri was there, which always brings me joy, but also our new found friends and colleagues Chantal, Anjali and Jamie were right there as well. Perhaps the most exciting part of this whole venture is the people I'm getting to know, and all the people who I haven't met yet -- the conversations I've had, and that I've yet to have. There is something deeply exciting about endless possibility.

I know what you're thinking. I agree, I am quite pale.
It feels great to get my first post on Turkey up and running. Many more are in the woodwork.