Jensen Monday Club

Day 5: Mehmet!


Top Touring Tip 4: Don't go to a Turkish Barber Just After Falling out of the Pub...

Refreshed after a car free day, and with only the worry of having to think of excuses to tell 'er indoors about the carpets, we decided that 1 Jensen free day was enough, and so we would have a tour of Istanbul and retrace our steps in the daylight.

A quick peek over our balcony revealed the car was still there, and gave us chance to admire the view.

Since we had taken delivery of the new air conditioning drive belt we had hummed and ahhed about fitting it, but we reasoned we had done about 700 miles with one belt, so unless it became a problem we would stick with just the one.

It was a savagely hot day, and this would prove be a good test of the new Sandon air con compressor  and the cars cooling systems as most of it would be in congested traffic.

Part of the reason for the choice of our hotel was the fact the owner had a 1950's Chevy Bel Air, which he would collect you from the airport in if you booked at his hotel. It seemed like a good photo call for the 2 cars.


The owner was more of an admirer than an enthusiast, and all technical enquiries were met with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders. He didn't even know the size of the engine, but thought it was a straight six. This looked right as peering underneath there was only one exhaust pipe, which then split into two tailpipes.

So we headed out from our area of Istanbul which was called Sultanahmet, and was referred to as "the old town".

As we drove around we passed yet more fabulous monuments.


And was made to feel welcome once again!

We had been experiencing an annoying whine affecting the stereo (we checked the rear seats, but the women were at home, so it wasn't the usual cause!), and so we pulled over to try to move various cable to see if it was noise from the alternator.  After a cooling down period, it was safe to try to look inside!


We had previously moved the coil to the air filter box to try to cure the noise, but so far no joy.

After a bit of a head scratch and a chin stroke, we concluded it was the Delta fan controller Chris had fitted which was injecting noise into the stereo. As we didn't have any big capacitors to suppress it, we decided there was nothing for it but to turn it up louder to drown the whining noise!

Unquotable Quote: "It's a polyphonic syncopation fault..."

Istanbul is a huge, sprawling place, and everywhere you can see for miles around there are house and buildings.

After being in the old town, we headed into the more modern business side of the city, with some impressive sky scrapers.

Some times the old and the new made uncomfortable bed fellows.

Unquotable Quote:  "I saw your car - going around Belgrade - were you lost or sightseeing?"

The air con was working very hard keeping the temperatures down in the car, and as we were stuck in traffic with no air coming in the radiator, the temperature gauge started to climb and hovered just under the red. It had been like this in other traffic jams on the way and we now had the confidence in the car just to ignore it as we knew it wasn't a problem.

Where there is a will, there is free enterprise, and this chap was making a living out of the traffic jams!

We had to have our wits about us though as the driving standards were "interesting" to say the least.

We eventually headed over the bridge and back into Asia.

Excitement of leaving one continent for another got the better of us again, and we forgot to take a picture of the "Welcome to Asia" sign on the way over, so we had to try get the bugger on the way back!

I mentioned the quality of the driving, but some of it had to be seen to be believed.

We skirted the harbour, and saw docked the biggest ship we had ever seen.

The upper decks of the ship

The super structure

This was a ferry and cruise liner that toured the Black Sea, and dropped off at Odessa. We had desperately want to go to Odessa, but there was no direct road from Istanbul, and the indirect route would have taken days. The other way was this ferry, but it was a 26 hour crossing, and Chris gets sea sick just looking at pictures of boats.

We headed back into the old town

And stopped at brothers for a well earned beer.

All the local traders came to see the car, and were sufficiently impressed to make cash offers to buy it. I could see Chris waverering and doing mental Euros to Pounds, minus 2 first class flights to Blighty, type calculations.

This became a feature of the trip with the car getting lots of very enthusiastic attention. People either remembered them and were astonished to see one so far from home, or had never seen one before, but were amazed by the styling and quality.

After a few beers, I mentioned to Brother that I always wanted to go for a proper shave, the one with a cut throat razor, and all shaving oil, and stuff. He said he was going to his mates place down the road to get his hair done and we could come with him if we liked? Sounded like a plan to us, so we had a few more beers and waited for Brothers break.

I'm not sure if it was Dutch courage or what, but we ran down the road to the barbers still clutching our pint beer mugs. A German woman shouted "Bloody English" at us as we ran past.

So much for pretending to be Scottish...

beer in hand for courage

I had a fantastic shave, just like I had always wanted since being a kid.

It was about now that things for me started to go a little strange. I had noticed that I had not really seen many men with grey hair, and had naively thought it was because they all had jet black hair. Not so, they all routinely have it dyed black.

They asked me if I would like mine done, and like a fool I said yes. Well, when in Istanbul...

Chris hade more sense and just had his beard done.

He even had a manicure while he was waiting!

We got back in the pub to comments of "weren't your older brothers in here earlier?"

Yeah, right!

This hair dye was really black, I mean it made entire rooms darker when I walked in. There are black holes in space that aren't this black!

for comparison

Chris sporting his new Genghis Khan look!

It was at this stage we spotted the hierarchy involved in Turkish bars. Brother was the senior waiter, so he would sit with us having a drink and keeping us entertained. If we wanted to order he would shout "Mehmet!", and poor old Mehmet would have to come running from out of the back of the bar, take the order, fetch it, bring it back, then hand it to Brother to pass to us.

We decided that this was a fantastic system and tried to work out how to break the news to Steve Payne that he was going to be our Mehmet when we got back...

It turned out he became Mehmet before we got back, but more of this later.

The night went well, and considering we had only popped in for " a sharp one", the bill came to 200 Euros! We headed back to the hotel and drank champagne on the hotel roof bar. I have this one Chris's authority as I have no recollection at all...

Chris sporting his totally spannered look!

I have no idea what time we went to bed, but I only know the horrors I faced the next day...

Day 6: Och, Ma Heed!