At the end of a pretty decent first full day in Istanbul...

...I just had a kind of terrifying experience.

I was walking back from the bazaar and this guy started walking next to me, talking just loud enough that I could hear him. "Hello. Where are you from? You are very beautiful. Where are you from? Okay. I'm sorry. Excuse me." And so on, repeating basically the same handful of phrases, for probably close to a minute while I ignored him entirely. Eventually, he said "I'm sorry" a few more times and then fell back. I paused to finish eating (side note: Turkish desserts are the best) and then went through the busy pedestrian underpass to the bridge.

Then, as I was walking across the bridge, he showed up again, asking me where I'm from in the same too-close voice. Then he drifted away, then came back, then away. This was starting to get really freaky and I didn't want him too follow me all the way home, so I did a u-turn and headed down the stairs to the lower level of the bridge. I crossed underneath and paused to breathe/take a picture. He didn't seem to have followed me.

I started going back up the stairs and suddenly he was right behind me again, trying to talk to me. I basically ran up the last steps so that I could yell at him in French where there were other people, but just as I got to the top he reached out and grabbed my ass and then ran back down the stairs before I could turn and smack him.

I speed-walked most of the way back to my hostel. It took probably fifteen minutes or more before I stopped looking over my shoulder for him. And by the time I got there, it was basically dark and I had stopped shaking but kind of wanted to throw up.

So that's been my fun today. I'm dealing by drinking tea and snuggling the kitties at my hostel. (Pictured at the top, because I don't understand Kinja's mobile editor.)