7:55 a.m. Sitting in the Ambassador Lounge (I'm the only one so far) awaiting 8:15 transfer to the hotel. Suitcase carried away during the night. Closed my cabin door for the last time, and here I am. Got my passport back. Had a minimal breakfast (yogurt and two bites of a muffin) with three of the Englishmen I've come to know. They're heading for home this morning. No sign of Tom or Mike yet.
And so it (or this part of it) ends. Always dislike endings. They leave me with an odd sense of...loss?
Since our hotel rooms won't be available until at least noon, we'll be taking a bus tour of Istanbul, which will be nice, though I do wish trying to take photos through a bus window were easier, and that I could move from one side to the other without problem or having to try to shoot past someone across the aisle. More people coming in, now. Here's Mike, so I'll close for the moment.
10:09 a.m. Sitting in the garden of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Within 200 feet of me are gold and jewels which, cashed in, could easily buy Texas with perhaps Oklahoma tossed in. No photos allowed, of course, in the display rooms.
Afternoon. Checked into the hotel—the Hyatt Regency--around 1:30. By far the nicest hotel I've stayed at. Was absolutely delighted to find that it is located one block from the Istanbul Hilton...the same place from which I had stolen a liqueur glass in 1956. Full circle, anyone? I walked down later to get a photo of it, but the street on which the Hyatt Regency fronts is the back of the Hilton, and I was too tired to walk around the long block in the heat to get a photo of the front.
Had lunch—well, they had a limited menu which did not include any appetizer-type items, so I just had a beer—by the beautiful pool, and wished I had the body to be able to take advantage of it. I do not, and even if I had a bathing suit along, would not want to frighten the children or startle the horses. We were accompanied by a very sweet cat, who could not get enough attention.
Mike was on a tour of the Grand Bazaar, which I passed on in favor of having the opportunity to just relax for a bit. I remember it from 1956 as being a gigantic ant farm with side alleys leading to other side alleys endlessly. I would not be surprised to read a story of someone who had finally found their way out of the place after several years.
Went to dinner alone, ordered a bowl of cream of asparagus soup and an appetizer of marinated local seafood, which was enough for three meals. Most interesting, and including a number of pieces of an unidentified species which was really delicious. There were also four skewers of three olives wrapped in small strips of fish, and several strips of one unidentified fish a large piece of yet another. The bill, including a beer and bottle of water, was 50+ Turkish lira...about $25-plus. (Entrees ran between 50 and 80 lira.)