The Dark Knight

Trip Start Jun 19, 2008
Trip End Sep 04, 2008

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Sunday, July 27, 2008

After passing out around 5am on Friday night, I woke up at 8am to be the #1 tourist that I am.  We took the tramvay to the oh-so-familiar Sultanahmet station for our Tokapi Palace visit. Built in the 15th century, Tokapi Palace is more grand in size and older than Dolmabache Palace, which has more European influence and ostentatious flairs.  We had to pay the full price of 10 ytl for the entrance PLUS 10 more to enter the harem.  I think only 300 people are allowed to enter the harem per day, so I would suggest going to the harem first and then taking your time to look around the palace like we did.  The tour groups started showing up around noon.  The sheer number of tourists amused us.  We have not seen so many white, English-speaking people in one place  for weeks!  So many people do not understand us on a regular basis that our conversations and vocabularies have regressed to blunt and often inappropriate garbage.  We openly joke, curse, and complain like the obnoxious Americans we are because really, nobody understands us, especially when we use slangs and SAT words.  We were in a lounge room in the palace when one said, "So I wonder if the girls in harem sit around here in the morning and say, 'Who boned the Sultan last night?'" -Crude laughter-  "No, no, this is where the princes chilled, so they probably talked about the girls they macked."  More laughter.  And the room went silent, and we saw a tall white guy turn and glare at us and mumble something to his wife.  In BBC English.  We also saw that he had been video-taping the room- the whole time.  Oops?

Even more English-speaking white tourists swarmed the place.  Thank gosh the palace is so big with countless shades and resting areas!  We were looking around the treasures and talking about our big anticipation for "Batman: The Dark Night" when some random middle eastern guy creept up behind us and had the audacity to SHUSH us.  I don't take this type of crap from people.  I turned around- are you kidding me?  This was no silent museum.  People were talking in all kinds of languages just as loud as, not if louder than, us.  Is Batman such a taboo?  Whatever, we were soon mesmerized by the 86-carat diamond glowing in the center of the room.  Natasha, the art historian of the group, kept saying that we must see these "famous" things in the palace.  I asked, Famous among what circles??  We laughed, only too glad to check off Tokapi Palace from our to-vist list.

As soon as we got back to the dorm, my roommate and I passed out to catch up on our sleep debt.  Some of the other people watched Batman Begins in preparation for the movie, but I just couldn't do it.  Hyped up as anything, we marched to Istikal at 5:30 pm for some yummy dinner at Wagamama, a pan-Asian restaurant over the movie theater.  We had reserved 8 tickets 2 days before, which was one of the smarter things we have thought to do in Istanbul, because the theater was jam packed.  The movie started at 6:30pm, but the doors did not open until the last minute.  Thankfully the theater had assigned seats, so we did not have to stand in the crowd to dash for the best seats.  The tickets were 8 ytl each, and the popcorn was about 4-5 ytl.  Not bad at all.  There were no movie commercials before the movie; only random food commercials.  And the movie began.  Batman!  Half way into the movie, after a particularly grim scene, a random commercial and the lights lit up.  Apparently they have an intermission during the movie, which we found LAME.  We did not get out of the movie until 9:30 pm, and when the movie ended, we all just looked at each other and uttered expeletives.  The movie was so good!  And thank gosh it was in English!  The Turkish people were a good audience: they did not comment outloud or talk on their phones or move around noisily like I had half-expected.  It was also nice to sit in an airconditioned room for a few hours. 

R.I.P. Heath Ledger.
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