This is part of an ongoing series in which Seattle duo Brain Fruit travel through India, Istanbul, and Berlin. You can find all the previous entries here. —Eds.
A Saturday night in Taksim, Istanbul turned into an unexpected Persian/Turkish birthday party starring the ever-so-talented house band Tatavla Keyfi! On the suggestion of Olympia/Seattle's own Ian Ackerman (pictured above right, now a resident of Istanbul), we climbed three flights of stairs in a dark alley and emerged into a club no larger than a standard-one bedroom apartment. Unfortunately, the name of the club eludes me due to the alcohol-induced brain damage we sustained over the next five hours. Anyway, the club was completely full and we were immediately identified as foreigners/non-turkish speaking freaks. The first two questions we were asked were "Do you have a reservation?" (We didn't) and "How did you find this place?"
Luckily, the band's manager overheard the conversation and quickly came to our rescue by seating us at her table. Little did we know that we'd just been sat in the INSANE PARTY ZONE. The 49 year-old Persian woman at the table was visiting for her birthday and special arrangements had been made to make it her best. After a few beers/Rokis, any awkwardness melted away and we were all hugging, dancing, and drinking. Some old Turkish men broke it down, hands above their head, feet stomping to music half the speed of any western dance music. Soon everybody was gettin' down to some crazy saz shredding/accordian pumping goodness. The 5x10' dance floor was filled with people hands over shoulders doing a stompy circular can can. We left at 3 am when the food poisoning from earlier that day started kicking in. Hell and a cab ride later, our hostel beds welcomed us with pissed danish teens aplenty. The next two days were spent shitting water every 20 minutes and choking down fruit and powerade. Was it worth it? HELL YES. As no photos were captured at this event, please enjoy some evil photos I took in the underground Basilica Cistern instead: