Day 12 of 32 – Actual Perils

19 Nov

Two incidences in the previous twenty-four hours have reminded me that a given traveller is more likely to die not at the hands of kidnappers or terrorist bombings, but by the simple act of doing rather unspectacular things in a moderately interesting world. Allow me to explain.

Incident the first: Last night when I went to the movies with the architects, the show finished late and the metro had already closed when we got out (around 00:30) so we decided to grab a cab back to Taksim. Taking a taxi is a straightforward enough activity in most parts of the world and I was more concerned with the driver ripping us off (by taking the long way) instead of what I should have been worried about – dying in a fiery car crash where speed was a factor.

He was driving like a maniac from the second we got into the car, almost hitting two pedestrians as we left the taxi stand (he actually went *between* them). Where we almost died was when our driver was doing about 110 kph in the fast lane (in what would have been an 80 zone in Canada) when another car going, I’d say, 150, passed us on the right missing our car (and another in the right lane) by mere inches.

It would have been doubly horrible given that 66% of the seat belts in the back of the cab were non-functional. We made it from Levent to Taxsim in one piece and (I assume) record time.

Incident the Second:  I decided to visit the Prince Islands. Nearly everyone I spoke to who had visited Istanbul said I have to go and today looked to be the final day of nice weather for about the next 5 months. So I grabbed the ferry at noon and landed at the big island around 13:30. The island was really nice – the absence of cars made it a lot more peaceful than Istanbul (which is anything but).

So I walked around and I somehow found my way to the highest point on the north side of the island – a forested area with a surprising amount of livestock wandering about. I managed to snap some really nice photographs of the west-facing part of the island without noticing that I was standing at the edge of a small cliff – a cliff from which I probably would have survived a fall, but the fact that there was no one around and it was two hours from nightfall, would have made a tumble rather precarious.

Standing there looking down, I had a vision of me laying at the bottom of this cliff with two broken wrists that rendered me unable to bypass the security features of the two iPhones I brought with me – oh cruel irony, what use is a backup phone if one is unable to operate the dialer?

Anyway, neither of those things came to pass but it did drive home the importance of functional seat belts and posting something on Facebook about my plans for the day before setting out on a mini-adventure all by myself.

Here are some more photos from the island. Stay safe everyone.






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