I am an idiot. A complete idiot.
After seven weeks of resisting pickpockets and being on the alert for anyone trying to take my money, I let my guard down in Istanbul. Big mistake.
I'm too embarrassed to describe what happened to me, but let's say that I had too much to drink and exercised extremely poor judgment. The account here is accurate:
My instinct of "pay and get the hell out of there" kept me out of harm's way, but I am now several hundred dollars lighter. I could have tried running, and definitely should have gotten out of there before I did. Oy, so embarrassing.
This all really took the air out of my balloon today. I went to the police station but of course there wasn't anything they could do. And on my walk home I saw a three-legged cat in the street. So sad.
At least nothing more came of it (and I have been triple checking my bank account and credit cards today to make sure). Still in excellent health and am not carrying anything home with me except a lesson learned the hard way.
Happy birthday America! Or what the Turks call "Sunday". I hope you all are safely enjoying the fireworks and barbecues. Two weeks to go on my trip, and I really miss home now.
Please be smarter than me. I know you are.