I knew that the 1st of May would be a "different" day - my local friends had warned me to stay away from Taksim. So I planned my activities on Üsküdar to be far from the demonstrations and possible riots.
But when I walked down to Kabatas I found that not only were the streets closed to traffic - all public transport was as well, including the ferries.
There was only one to Bursa which would have been a nice day trip but the next two ferries were booked out and I didn't want to wait 2,5 hours for the free one.
In the end I simply started walkng towards Bebek, thinking that if nothing else, I would at least get a nice walk out of this. I also asked three different policemen if it was possible to get to Asia by car and received 3 different answers...
Empty streets and closed doors
After a while, one of the rare taxis pulled up to me and the driver agreed to take me over to Üsküdar. He would have to take the second Bosphorus bridge, as the first, nearer one was closed. (I later found out that the first bridge would have been open - but at the time it was really hard to tell)
The first half of the drive went very quickly because the streets were nearly empty. It's only on the bridge that traffic got more.
We drove down the Asian side along the Bosphorus for a bit, but when the taxameter neared 80 Lira I told the driver to let me out. I still needed cash for the way back after all!
It was close to noon and if I have learned anything it's that trips into the unknown are better made on a full stomach! There were many restaurants and after a short walk I entered one to have some food on their terrace.
Looking down at the street I noticed several public busses passing by. A good sign, I didn't have to waste more money on taxis!
By the bus station: an old traditional wooden house.
At the bus stop I was unsure which one to take, so I asked a young woman how to get to the Akasya shopping mall, my ultimate goal for this day.
She spoke a little English and told me to come on the bus to Üsküdar center with her.
There she walked me all the way to the metrobus station and got me on the right one. Just another example of how nice and helpful people here are.
The bus got me there in just 15 minutes and a young girl who had overheard me asking if it was the right bus told me when it was time to get out.
She was going to Akasya with her friend as well and showed me the way from the bus station to the entrance.
Well, it took a bit longer than expected, but I made it!
I went to many shops but bought nothing at first so I wouldn't have to carry around bags for hours.
I had a lot of time and could always go back and get everything on a last round.
As the t-shirt says: Life is too short to wear boring clothes!
In this picture I am wearing all clothes I bought the day nefore in Nisantasi. Yes, there are sequins on that jacket!
When going out of the north entrance there's a little park where one can get away from the crowds for a moment.
Some more browsing and sugar doping in the form of cake later I was ready to wave around my credit card.
Things are cheap here, especially since the exchange rate for the Lira has dropped in the past few years.
All the more temptation for me...
But can I complain for a moment? People here are really messy shoppers. Like, really messy. It drives me slightly nuts!
Nothing they touch gets put back where they took it from.
At the bus stop
Üsküdar in the evening light, bustling with people and decorated with flags of different political parties for the upcoming elections.
Including the walking, the entire way from Akasya to my house took less than an hour.
Off we go!
After all the day's adventures I didn't need more surprises and simply went to the Ficcin restaurant where I knew the casserolle would be delicious.
There are several milongas on Friday night - I simply picked the nearest one, Tangolic, it was all I had energy left for.
The crowd there seemed younger than in other places - lots of pretty girls in dangerosly short dresses.
Men dancing to the music of a street musician.