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Pre-Blog: A quick update from Bodrum


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Everyone,

It has been a long, wonderful week. I left the US rather trepidatious, and am now enjoying myself tremendously on what is arguably the most interesting business trip of my life.

Much has occurred since I arrived in Turkey. Most of it will only interest the real estate finance geeks who comprise my readership (and you select few, Double Barrel and Jay-Dawg, will get an earful regarding the deals I have cooking). What appeals to the general audience is far more limited, but I will try and communicate the excitement I feel in finally realizing the dream of being a jet-setting, international financier.

I write this missive to you from the Majesty Marina Hotel in Bodrum, in the South Aegean. I arrived in Bodrum yesterday and was immdediately taken to breakfest by the sea with my colleague B____. There we sat, beside a glimmering, crystal blue ocean, discussing business, drinking tea and contemplating the vista of a quiet bay dotted with tiny white villas. This morning, I woke up and had coffee at the rooftop bar, checking my email in the brilliant sunshine of a crisp Mediterranean morning. Later, we drove around the Bodrum penninsula, visiting various projects while he gave me an overview of the market.

Bodrum is quietly splendid in the off-season; during summer it fills with throngs of tourists. It has a famed open-air nightclub which has been the Mediterranean’s largest for the last twenty years. I have approached this trip as professionally as I can, but all in all, I am having a ton of fun, never forgetting that I am presently at work. As I mentioned to a friend of mine yesterday, this sure beats sitting behind a desk staring at spreadsheets.

Last Saturday, in Istanbul, I had my first taste of the social life that awaits me. I spent the day leisurely drinking tea and discussing life with Ömer who was referred to me by Eda, a Turkish friend in San Francisco. We were in Bebek, a picturesque, tranquil little neighborhood along the Bosphorous, where Ömer, a cosmopolitan, genial soul, gave me tips about living in Istanbul. He has lived in the U.S. and in China, so he understands the exigencies of becoming an expat.

That evening, I went to a party the Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoglu, the hip area of Istanbul invaded by artists and musicians. This halloween party was reportedly difficult to find even for Istanbullus. I had to walk into an arcaded street covered by a building, then climb to the 6th floor to find the artists’ studio where the festivities were held. The studio was magnificently funky – something you would see in Alphabet City or Battery Park in NYC or perhaps South of Market in SF. Fifteen foot clear-height ceilings gave the place a cavernous look, with exposed concrete walls and clapboard floors lending a distinctly bohemian touch to the atmosphere. I ambled into the main room and noted that the Rocky Horror Picture Show was being projected against a wall while various costumed characters were bellying up to the bar. The DJ was spinning the likes of New Order and Michael Jackson. The rough, concrete walls were adorned with oil and watercolor paintings. Eren, a friend of Eda’s, began to tell me that there are two degrees of separation between everybody these days. Sure enough, a few hours later, I was speaking to a Turk who went to Purdue, and I mentioned a seventy-one-year-old real estate developer I had met with earlier in the day who had also gone to Purdue. In a city of 14 million people, I had spoken that day to two people who knew each other.

The Halloween party was extremely enjoyable with an almost surreally diverse, international crowd. My trusted advisor Double B has a theory that world-class cities (New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Madrid, Istanbul, etc.) have more in common with each other than with lesser cities in their same countries. I.e. London has more in common with New York than either have with Birmingham or Peoria. Based on my observations over the last few years of travel (to such illustrious locations as Wichita, KS and Jeffe rson City, MO) I am a full-fledged adherent to this Barrelian view of world culture.

I am, in short, living the life. In’Shah’Allah, as we say in Turkey, I will see you all very soon.

Your faithful correspondent,

Sunset


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About me

  • I'm Sunset Shazz
  • Living the dream in Istanbul, Turkey
  • I grew up in the hardscrabble streets of suburban Ottawa, Ontario, committing petty crime, insulting the elderly - basically the classic misspent youth. When I was 19, I moved to West Philly, where I put myself through the Wharton School by dealing crack and hustling. After stints in Paris and London, I eventually graduated and moved to San Francisco, where I put in eight years hard labor working for The Man. But now I pop bottles with models, deciding cracked crab or lobster - who says mobsters don't prosper?
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