Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Turks LOVE to party!!!!

Yes... it's true... Turks LOVE to party!!! Sure, when you live in a country with a population of about 80 million people and many "cultures" within "cultures" - there are many versions of "partying".

I can only write about the groups of people in Istanbul that I most interact with to give you our version of "partying".

Just a footnote before I begin... I am still truly surprised (and a little disappointed) that many people who live in other parts of the world (including - I hate to say - some of my friends) and who have never come to Istanbul have a very narrow view of our ways and culture. Most still think that all women walk around with veils or headscarfs and that men wear a fez! Not kidding.. I have heard this question asked of me MANY times during my periodic travels abroad.  Even though the majority of Turkey is rural, there are many cosmopolitan cities (i.e. Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara) that can compete with their counterparts abroad. Foreigners - especially those who are lucky enough to interact with the groups I will be mentioning in my article are truly AMAZED when they experience "modern Istanbul" and have the time of their lives while here and usually have a difficult time going back home!

So, my article, will include info on how the  "young & restless" and the "not yet over the hill, but almost there" upper crust and affluent Turks party in Istanbul!

Let's start with the "young & restless" (Y & R)... which is my categorization for the 20s and 30s crowd.

First, Y & R Turks (women &  men) love to dress up or "down" for that matter - but always look their best as they follow the latest fashions and trends. They usually have the "best" cars (range rover, mini cooper, BMW, Maserati.. you get the picture) - I did mention that we are talking about affluent Turks right? As it is the summer and everyone is outdoors - the latest trend is taking your adorable dog (who might also be dressed up - especially if female) on your outings during the day as more and more establishments have a "pets are allowed" policy. However, our faithfull friends do have a curfew and usually are sent home if the "day" turns into "night" - which often does!

Most of the time, Y& R Turks travel in "packs" - the more the merrier! The day may start off with a couple of friends getting together and then throughout the day and night, newcomers will join in and some will drop out - to join another pack. Everyone in the pack has the latest model cell phone (usually a blackberry or Iphone4) on the market and when not chatting amongst themselves, they are either twitting their whereabouts or downloading images to their facebook accounts to share their exploits with their other compadres.

The main "drink du year" last summer of Y & R Turks was blush wine and on almost every single table at any cafe, bar or restaurant - not only women but even the most macho male could be seen sipping their blush wine - with lots of ice. I haven't yet figured out what the "drink du year" is this summer, but have noticed the "blush" craze still in full swing... but I also think the white wine or blush spritzer has arrived in Istanbul too! Don't get me wrong.. there are lots of wonderful cocktails... mojitos... martinis... etc, but you will rarely see ANY Turk with a bottle of beer in their hand! If there is a beer drinker in the pack, nine times out of ten, it is one of their "foreign" friends visiting Istanbul!

The "not yet over the hill, but almost there" (40s and 50s) Turks (I fall into this category!) are not tooo different from their counterparts. They too dress very well, follow the latest trends, drive the "best" cars and sip their blush wine (not me - I prefer red wine in all seasons), but they have a "cooler" demeanor, are not as rambunctious and loud and also prefer to eat something while imbibing. And.. even though "young at heart", they most times run out of steam earlier on in the evening (like 3.00am instead of 5.00am!)- but don't let on! Who wants to be considered old and stuffy!

Now.. the common denominators for both groups...

Turks - not matter which group they fall into  - are antsy! They usually do not like to start and end their evening in the same place. When I lived in NYC, we used to do "round robins" from time to time... but in Istanbul, this is a common occurrence - nightly! Most "packs" will hit at least 2 or 3 places in one night!

The Turks in both groups know that the "best" time to party is during a week night and not during the weekends as most venues do tend to get overly crowded and don't get me wrong - but the "weekend" crowd can be a little different in their stance and demeanor. Anyway, the glitterati flock to the summer resort towns of Çeşme, Bodrum or the Greek Islands (if lucky enough to own a boat or have a friend who owns a boat) during the summer months.

The Turks in these groups are always well groomed. The women go to the hairdresser at least a couple of times each week to have their hair done and a once a week mani/pedi is the norm! The only problem is that sometimes the "latest" trend hairstyle or hair color might not suit everyone... but this doesn't stop them! The men are also well groomed and also follow the hairstyle trends.

The Turks in both groups have good paying jobs and tiles or are from affluent families - how else would they be able to afford to party so much?? Even though they might be out almost every night - god bless them - most of them are at their jobs bright eyed and bushy tailed (well... this is questionable!) first thing at 9:00am. In Istanbul, "partying" usually does not mean that you get falling down drunk (this can happen to) - most times it means you like hanging out, sipping a cocktail (or 2 or 3) and "dancing in place" and gossiping with your friends or better half.

So... where do these Turks go in the summer?  Some favorites are Lucca (www.luccastyle.com), Anjelique (www.anjelique.com.tr), Reina Night Club (www.reina.com.tr) and Nu Teras (www.nupera.com.tr). There are other places, but I don't want to give away all of their secrets! 

So come to Istanbul - enjoy our sights - enjoy our nightlife - if this is your lifestyle of choice... you will definitely not be disappointed and will come back for more!

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