An Ode to Halkalı

I wasn’t sure how to begin this entry or even title it. It’s about the neighborhood I’ve just moved into, Halkalı. I hate it. I don’t have much of a choice of where to live at the moment, so my good friend Tim from college offered me a room in his flat in Halkalı. I’m grateful for this, but our complaints are mutual because he also has no choice of location at the moment.

From Istanbul’s city center, Taksim, Halkalı is far. Very very far. An hour and a half bus ride far, and only three bus lines pass by our flat. In fact, it’s far from anywhere worth spending any time at.

My new home is at point A. Taksim and the old city are all the way to the right, in Halkalı, Istanbul, Turkey

My new home is at point A. Taksim and the old city are all the way to the right.

The only buildings around us are large high rise apartments, government housing projects, and a new mosque that’s currently being built. A cultural desert. To top it off, we don’t have an Internet connection and it might be a very long time before we get one.

Halkalı, Istanbul, Turkey

Halkalı

We have to walk 25 minutes for any decent restaurant or café or shopping or sign of life. The mall we walk to, ArenaPark, is actually very nice. It has some great places to eat, a movie theatre, and good shopping. It also has the Starbucks where we spend hours upon hours a day using the terribly slow wifi connection. And if ArenaPark isn’t enough, at least I can take solace knowing there’s a Petshopistan nearby.

ArenaPark in Atakent, Istanbul, Turkey

ArenaPark

Petshopistan in Atakent, Istanbul, Turkey

Petshopistan

To conclude this entry, I’ll leave you with a few not-so-funny one-liners of Halkalı-bashing that we’ve mentioned to each other over the past few days.

  1. Hello, Halkalı…Goodbye, social life.
  2. Halkalı was literally a garbage dump 5 years ago. I guess nothing has changed.
  3. Things more beautiful than Halkalı: the sewer, train wrecks, Seth Rogan’s ass.
  4. Familiarity breeds contempt, but you don’t have to be familiar with Halkalı to feel contempt for it.
  5. Welcome to Hell-kalı.
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