Monday, October 29, 2012

I lasted a month-and-a-half in Cihangir

By far the best thing about living in the Istanbul neighborhood of Cihangir was how centrally located it was. I could walk to the Istanbul Modern and to church (which still took an hour to get to - but this time on foot). Cihangir came highly recommended by newspapers and foreigners alike, although not necessarily the locals.

What I didn't consider before moving, was that Cihangir is so centrally located, every single Erasmus exchange student who had come to Istanbul for six months would be walking down my street at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m. 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. after a long night of dancing and drinking. Each hour of the evening's activities would then have to be discussed in very loud foreign girl and boy voices where dismay or giggles would be promptly shared by their friends, also in equally loud foreign girl and boy voices. If it had been a really good night, the drunken singing would start.

In addition, neighborhood men would love to sit on the building stoop and discuss life until 2 a.m. The neighbors might play their oud and bongos until 4 a.m. prompting neighborhood residents to come out on their balconies and yell for quiet. The taxis and shuttle buses would take a shortcut to the sea road on my street all night long.
The future Maxim Hotel
for now, an empty construction lot
Up the street from me, was a very fun construction site to watch transform during the daytime - but not so fun at night. The construction workers worked in two 12-hour shifts and had for months. Dirt and grime floated everywhere from their efforts. And worst of all, were the dump trucks full of dirt rattling and clanging down my hill at 3 a.m.
Not exactly "lite" construction
Cihangir has magnificent views. When searching for my initial apartment and then a second one, I saw so many breathtaking views of the Bosphorus. Indeed, right next to the Cihangir mosque, is a park with a spectacular vista of the Bosphorus, the cruise ships, the Hagia Sophia, and the Blue Mosque. Regular folks can't enjoy it though because it is always filled with 1-5 winos sleeping it off. The winos are in no way dangerous but they leave their bottles and litter everywhere. 
So, because of the noise, I decided to find a new neighborhood. I've since moved to Beşiktaş, another centrally-located neighborhood, but one step removed from "too much" activity. Everyday in the first two weeks, it seemed, I discovered yet another girlfriend lives in the neighborhood. I got it right this time.
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