Don’t Eat the Street Chicken and Never Pat the Street Cats


This was the advice one friend gave me before I set off to Istanbul last week.

While others told me to make sure I visited the Blue Mosque and to under no circumstances miss the Hagia Sophia, my buddy Scott had a personal story to share just like every good traveler does.

The thing is that I giggled off the statement until I was walking down the street and saw my first cat. Cute kitten I thought. Then there was another and soon more gathered around.

I still haven’t asked my buddy why I shouldn’t pet them since I saw many people doing so and even one biker pick one up by the scruff of the neck and examine it as if it was some rare breed. But, I decided I didn’t need any extra germs on this trip.

Traveling is full of little adventures. Some get spun into grand tales of exploration that generations from now will still be told. Others fade away as our minds do until they are no more.

My time in Istanbul will be remembered for the Mont Blanc salesman who gleefully introduced me to Raki on the shores of the Bosphorus and the bourbon quest I began and hope to some day finish.

On my last night in the city as I wandered down a left hand turn that promised to point me back towards my hotel I stopped and laughed.

There in the window was row after row of raw chicken. I peered over the case and saw that there was a simple grill and a bar you could sit down to have some.

I thought I should ask for some just to prove my friend wrong. In the end though, you should trust in your fellow explorer and heed their tales.

There would be no petting of the stray cats of Istanbul and my mouth never tasted the smoky taste of Turkish street chicken.

At least not on this adventure.

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