|The longest walk of my life -- and after midnight|
I offer the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert as an example. The concert itself illustrates one of the things I absolutely love about Istanbul -- there is just so much going on here at any given moment. This is a city you could not possibly be bored in. In addition to endless big-name concerts, there are so many music clubs, galleries, restaurants and museums, plus a good number of important historical sites and sports events. There is just always something to do in Istanbul, and I think that's awesome.
But then, sometimes the execution of said events makes me hate this city. Like this concert. It took place at a venue called Santralistanbul, which I had never been to -- it was easy enough to get there as there were shuttle buses from a metro station near enough to where we live. Everything started out well. But the actual concert was not at all enjoyable, all because the organizers in my opinion had sold way too many tickets for the (open) space. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were great, but it was so hard to enjoy the music because people behind us were constantly pushing and shoving to try to get closer to the stage. It was utterly relentless -- and this is not a country where people wait in line. In addition to that, we were standing on some sort of cobblestone, which got to be really uncomfortable on the feet. I just wanted to leave.
We ended up leaving during the encore hoping to beat the crowd, but we ended up getting stuck in another huge one trying to get out. They had fenced the venue off, leaving only a small gateway for entry/exit, and it created a huge bottleneck. (If there had been some kind of fire or panic, I shudder to think of what would have happened.) In the end, people started moving the fences out of the way, which really upset the security guys, but no one in the crowd really cared -- again, going back to that not-waiting-in-line thing.
When we finally got out into the street, the traffic was just jam-packed, leading to the other thing I really hate about Istanbul. The traffic is horrible at almost any time of the day, and it can be really difficult to get or leave somewhere if you're not near a metro or Metrobus stop. (We've already gone over how packed the Metrobus can be.) So, we ended up walking away from the venue, hoping to find a taxi. We walked and we walked and we walked -- for miles. We were actually in a fairly large group, just made up of people doing the same thing. Eventually, we made it to a Metrobus stop, and in the end, actually, it ended up being kind of fun, in the sense that it made for a little adventure and an unforgettable memory. But it still doesn't excuse how bad the traffic or how much better the public transportation links could be.
Phew, that felt nice to get off my chest. It's so hard to be sunny all the time. ;)