Exploring Izmir really begins with the water. From the Konak Pier up you are entering a new district. Konak is considered the heart of Izmir and houses the city’s most famous symbol, the Izmir Clock Tower.
Once you’ve gotten your fried chicken and English book fix at the Konak Pier, you may want to use the free restroom there, even though Turkey is a very civilized place in many manners, it is still a place that charges you to take a piss, generally a bad idea which leads to people pissing on walls or other public places, not to mention the dumps that occur when one doesn’t have 50 kurush. So, use the toilet but don’t be surprised to find ten guys waiting in line. News of a good thing generally spreads. If you have a hankering to see a movie, the Konak Pier’s theatre is deluxe with at least a couple of films in English. For a matinee pick the double couch seats in the center, even if you are alone, just make sure you won’t have to cuddle with some hairy stranger! The chart will show you what seats are empty and which are full.
Leaving the pier head up to the Konak ferry terminal and enjoy the grassy grounds and sea breezes. Pay a lira to shoot some floating balloons with a BB gun and watch the Turkish teens neck. Actually far too many of them look like young teen girls and late-twenty something guys…oh well. What can you do?
By the way, here is an interesting tidbit on young Turk culture. There are apparently ‘tribes’ of Turk men. There are the ‘Apache’ who wear a sort of mohawk and have the reputation as date rapers that don’t take no for an answer after a bit of booze – you see a lot of these guys they are like Emo, with an edge. A second tribe is the ‘Crow’ tribe, these are more like Italian guidos with big mustaches and greased back hair. You almost never see a crow with an apache. Both tribes apparently wear either jeans (apache) or suit slacks (crows) but none of them wear just regular cotton trousers from what I can tell because despite searching in various bizarres and high end stores, I haven’t found normal cotton trousers anywhere. Looks like the Cherokee got wiped out in Turkey.
Cross over the bridge to the Clock Tower. Whoo-hoo! It’s a very fancy Ottoman clock tower built by some Sultan in 1901 and it is very fancy. It tells time and has a lot of fancy design elements. Very fancy.
More interesting are the very poor guys selling bird seed around the square where the clock tower sits. The sheer number of pigeons in the square is astounding. They move out of the way in small flights but unless there are small kids or dogs chasing them, they don’t do very big movements at all.
On the far side of the square are the big Ottoman style government building and a very beautiful little Camii (mosque) covered with ornate tiles from Izmit.
Go past that and enter the Kameralit, Izmir’s big bizarre. This is a fun place to wander around and while you apparently won’t find good cotton travel pants, you can find just about everything else. Food, spices, nargile, pide, clothes of most sorts, plenty of shoes, lots of shops for the hip Islamic woman, and a couple of souvenir shops. Of course you will find carpet shops too. Apparently there are Jewish synagogues all along the way, but they blend in fairly seamlessly and you need a guide and advance permission to see them. It’s not that Jewish people are secretive, but well, it’s a secret. Ha ha.
Spend a few hours and a hundred bucks or so in the Kemeralti and you will get the experience. It’s not the Fez medina by any means, but it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon.