Paper Planes in Istanbul

by | Aug 31, 2017

One afternoon in Istanbul, I was sitting with a couple of Australian guys at a rooftop bar by the Galata Tower. We were exhausted from our big day of exploring and I was rather unwell – but not quite unwell enough to waste the day in bed. So we sat for a few hours at this lovely rooftop terrace, enjoying the views of the city.

Our table faced the tower, so we were often looking up to the people at the top. We waved, we blew them kisses, we giggled when they looked awkward and tried to avoid eye contact. 

But…one guy waved back! Then he started making a paper airplane and we realised he wanted to send it to us. We waited patiently as he assessed the wind eventually sent it off. Unfortunately, it landed on a roof very close by, but well out of reach. We gave him a thumbs up to show that we appreciated his effort.

Before we knew it, he was making another one. This time, much more time and effort was put into the direction that he should throw it, with us also guiding him from below. He came even closer on his second attempt but again narrowly missed. However, it went down to the ground just beside our building. One of the boys quickly jumped up and went down the elevator to fetch it.

Bringing it back up, he read the very smudged note on the paper plane to us:

‘Hello friends. My name is Emir. Add me on Instagram @emir… #ComeToBESIKTAS’

We were stoked. What a cool experience – getting a paper plane note from a stranger while we chilled out at a rooftop bar!

As we tried to search for him on Instagram, someone suddenly appeared in front of us. Emir! He’d come to find us! He introduced himself and we learned that he was Turkish; originally from Izmir but currently a student in Istanbul. We asked if he’d like to stay for a drink but he said he had to get back to his family. He was a friendly, sincere, humble guy, having a bit of fun with paper planes.

When I returned to Istanbul at the end of my trip and put some stories on Instagram, Emir was quick to comment and assist with tips for my last few days exploring the city. He even offered to host me if I ever returned. 

It’s little experiences like these that make me so glad I travel. Thank you Emir for making our day!