Last week I was in a bit of a foul mood. It generally takes a lot to put in me in a foul mood, but after dealing with the bizarrity of the gas company's regulations and the sloppy workmanship of their hole-makers, I was on the verge of losing my temper. Supposedly, if I allowed the gas company to put holes in a couple of windows and one door, I could then get gas and hot water. It's been about a week and I'm still bathing with a red plastic tub of water heated by my electric kettle. I actually don't really mind the whole plastic tub of kettle water; it's kind of weirdly nostalgic. My years in Cairo were often marked by blackouts and water shortages. I remember filling up buckets and basins with water to bathe with when it wasn't coming out of the shower. Bathing became more of a ritual, every drop of water appreciated.
I decided I needed a good old-fashioned burger to soothe my frustration, so I headed down Istiklal toward the only two "American-style" burger joints that I know of: Dükkan Burger and Mano Burger. After dropping my jaw on the street when I saw the prices at Dükkan, I decided on Mano, two doors down. I sat down, ordered a side of spicy fries and the Ottoman Burger— smoky aubergine sauce, hellim cheese and caramelised onions. I like Mano. They make a nice Turkish take on an American burger. My anger being chewed away into satisfaction and a calmness I hadn't felt in days, I was coming back to my regular self. I noticed a crowd of people gathering outside on the street, staring at something that was just past my line of sight. Suddenly, a mad tune from violin rose above the noise of the city, followed by guitar and drum. I scarfed down my burger, practically threw money at the cashier, and jumped outside to find three men in a spontaneous jam session outside one of Tünel's many music stores.
I was surrounded by people clapping, smiling and even dancing.
I remembered why I love living in Istanbul so much.