Istanbul was so much fun. Everyday consisted eat, walk, eat, drink, smoke, and then repeat the next day. The city itself is very charming and the metro was convenient that we never had to take a taxi once.
We stayed in Takism and ate doners and kebabs almost every night, with late night snacks of roasted chesnuts after smoking some shisha. There were also these delicious mussels filled with rice on the streets, it's one of their specialties- though I was told not to eat the shady ones on the street, at least go to a mom and pop restaurant unless you feel like taking some Pepto-Bismol after.
The people in Istanbul were all kinds of race and religion. But one thing they all had in common was their attitude of shrugging off something with "It's okay!". One night we took a taxi and even though we had too many people for one car, he said "It's okay!" and told two people to sit in the hatchback trunk. Then he ran a few red lights, and saw our discomfort and said "It's okay!". The next day we saw a few more cars running red lights and our Turkish friend responded with "oh it's okay!".
"But isn't it illegal?" I asked.
"Well yes, if you get caught." Neslihan said.
Everything could have been dealt with "it's okay!". I asked a shop owner if he had a garbage can for my empty juice box, he gave me the gesture to hand my juice box to him. When I gave it to him, he dropped it on the floor, and kicked it under a tarp on the street. "Gone!" he smiled and said. "that's okay?" I asked. I don't know, I've been known to shamelessly do sketchy stuff without feeling guilty but littering just makes me uncomfortable every time. "yes it's okay!" he replied. One of the days while wandering in Takism, we saw a dude welding with sparks flying everywhere while people were walking just two feet away:
"In Canada they'd at least put cones around it" I commented.
"No, they'd close the entire street for this, but here 'it's okay!'" Igho said.
"I kind of like this mentality" I said, "It keeps things efficient!"
"It's a bit dangerous maybe." Igho replied.
"Well I guess if someone's dumb enough to walk under there then Darwin will take care of it" I said.
Coming back, I wonder if they thought North Americans are stupid. At the Ottawa airport, there were signs indicating when a sidewalk ends, and everywhere you go, there are signs to something obvious. 3D MOVIE GLASSES AREN'T MADE FOR THE USE OF SUNGLASSES. CONSTRUCTION MAY BE LOUD. HOT BEVERAGE MAY BE HOT. ROAD ENDS HERE AND LAKE AHEAD. To us people who aren't trying to sue each other, these signs suggest that we are a stupid and clumsy nation. Why would you use a pair of 3D movie glasses as sunglasses? Of course a sidewalk will end eventually. Of course construction is loud. Of course hot coffee is hot. And then you get that guy who broke into someone's house and sued the home owner (and won) because he injured himself during his break and enter. All it takes is one asshole to do something stupid and it ruins it for the rest of us.
Maybe there are some truth to just saying "it's okay" and let Charles Darwin take care of it.