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Last year, I went on date to see the movie Kedi at The Music Box here in Chicago. Kedi, in Turkish, simply means "cat," and the film documents the cats in Istanbul who rule the streets and seem, all at once, to belong to everyone and no one. (You can watch the movie here.) The documentary hit a sweet spot for me because, well, CATS, but also because I had spent a month of my travels in Istanbul and around Turkey and remembered fondly all of the cats I saw everywhere while there. There were cats in the streets, cats in...

In Europe I always felt like I had trouble finding a place a to eat, that no one took a single diner like me seriously. In Turkey, I had the opposite problem. I couldn't walk by a restaurant without someone handing me a menu and trying to get me to come inside. I ate in Turkey. I ate a lot. I ate an amazing meal at at Haci Abdullah restaurant, doner kebap on the street (surrounded by cats), stuffed eggplants, traditional Turkish breakfasts, and even some Turkish delight on a moonlit night...

I had plans to meet up again with Gulender and Murat, who I met a few weeks ago, the last time I was staying in Istanbul. I had no idea what they had in store for me for the day. We started with breakfast at a place along the Bosphorus. We had tomatoes and cucumbers, honey and cream, olives and cheese, bread and cherry jam, and eggs with peppers and tomatoes. And, of course, a little Turkish coffee....

I ended up back in Istanbul a little earlier than planned. And a little earlier in the day than I ever really should get anywhere. My bus pulled up to the station around 6am and I was immediately bombarded by a guy asking me where I was going. I said "Taksim" but I'm pretty sure he thought I said "taxi." In any case, I didn't want to follow him and really just needed a bathroom....

On my second full day in Istanbul I spent the morning wandering the Grand Bazaar, where I dodged carpet sellers and lamp sellers and scarf sellers and trinket sellers all spouting out "Where you from?" "You speak English?" "You want to be my friend?" and some other favorites like "good morning…(after I ignored them)…bad morning" and "you German?" and "hola" and "bonjour" and "want to see my carpets?" which just sounds like a dirty pick up line. And then there was the person who tried to convince me he was trustworthy by showing me text messages from Brits and Americans...