...just FYI, apparently those 85 lira 3-day museum passes can sell out. As in, like, everywhere. And that sucks...
...but by the time we'd entered the second court and started to look around rain was coming down. This was such a bummer I hardly had words for it, because the last time I visited Topkapi Palace, it was a gorgeous autumn day, and the lovely grounds really deserve to be strolled through at a leisurely pace, rather than quickly as you shiver from building to building. Still, a palace is a palace, and I think everyone enjoyed seeing the fantastic architecture...just not as much as they would have on a sunny day.
Now, this is where I kinda lost it a little. We'd already "lost" kids a couple of times - once because they forgot to check in before wandering off, once because "Can I goof around?" means something different to me than it does to one of my students. And I had not yelled at anyone, even though at one point I promised to murder one of them, because we were on vacation and I didn't want anyone - myself included - to have a shitty time. As we were getting ready to leave the first building of the museum, a few of the girls were straggling, and when they and Time Lady caught up to the main body of the group, we came up one girl short. And I cracked. It's a big enough museum that you aren't going to be able to find someone just by looking, so I waited out in the cold rain while Time Lady went on in with the rest, and I started feeling sorry for myself and got pissed off for a couple of reasons, so that 10 minutes later, when I made a lucky guess and went in looking for our girl, I couldn't actually talk to her, and had to go off by myself for a few minutes once she was with the rest to cry a little. It didn't ruin the rest of the trip for me, but it made me ready to go home, and even though when we did get home it was disappointing to be back and I was all about planning a trip for next year, I also needed to be left the hell alone for a while.
Hale Sultan, a fantastic Turkish dancer who agreed to do a workshop for us for a great price, and was super flexible with our schedule and the weather. We ended up going to her studio in Taksim, and I had to listen to both grumbles and giggles along the way, because a lot of my students didn't exactly know what to make of the fact that they were going to learn belly dance. Once we got started, though, almost everyone enjoyed themselves. In our two hours Hale talked about some of the history and culture of belly dance as well as teaching us most of the basic isolations. She was a great teacher - she kept it fun and fast paced, and at least a couple of the girls told me they'd like to learn more. Afterwards we went out to Istiklal Caddesi (known as "the street" by all my students, most of whom were keen to go back) to grab a bite to eat before heading to Sultanahmet.