Yeah, I know the timing’s a bit off, but I figured a quick blurb about my 4th of July here in Istanbul was in order. Celebrating the 4th always has a different feeling when you’re not in the U.S., you feel a strong need for a taste of HOME. I wanted to do stereotypical American things so what we (the au pairs and I) had planned was to nab some late night McD’s and get a hold of some sparklers then enjoy both along the Bosphorus by Bebek.
When I told my host mom of our plans she managed to find a pack of sparklers in the kitchen (used for birthday cakes) aaaannnddd she told me to put the last of the sangria she had in a couple water bottles so I could share and have a good time – I really wish I could have seen my host mom when she was my age, I bet she was crazy.
I headed down to Bebek to go to a cake shop for more sparklers after work (Zeynep was also the one to tell me where it was, seriously, couldn’t have asked for a better host mom) BUT it was closed. Ok, no worries, I still had that one pack (though the joy of a sparkler is so short-lived…). Keirsten and I hunkered down in Bebek park to wait for the other girls to show up then we all headed over to McDonalds to grab some burgers. It was going to be perfect because there was a mosque literally right next to the place which would make for a funny photo: us holding our cheeseburgers and sparklers, wearing red/white/blue, standing defiantly in front of the mosque…
But alas… that icon of American culture betrayed us! We rolled up at ten to 11pm, some dude was making a huge order and stuffing tons of burgers into multiple bags. He left, and the guy behind the counter said, “We’re closed.” Um, what? It’s ten to 11… how can this be? There are still burgers sitting on the shelf behind you, you’re not even closing on the hour… We were shocked and incredulous. I’m pretty sure all of us were standing there with our mouths open while Bethany tried to argue for us that we should get those burgers behind him (he answered, “they’re not warm”). We’d built this up all weekend, looking forward to partaking in some fine American cuisine, and there he was rolling the gate down right in front of our faces, an unmistakable sign that we were not getting our fatty fix.
I was NOT about to NOT have my burger on the 4th so I marched on towards Dükan Burger – a Turkish burger joint a little classier than McD’s – and we had ours grilled up there. Sigh, not the same, but you make due.