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Ferries and Fake Names

After our first date I could have never guessed how the rest of the week would go.

Loni James
Loni James
7 min read
Ferries and Fake Names
Inside the stunning Hagia Sophia. 

A Date in Every Country: A Series
Date #9 part 2
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Nationality: Sri Lankan
Activity: dinner/drinks
Time: more than a few hours
Will see again? That remains to be seen….
Connected via: Tinder

After our first date I could have never guessed how the rest of the week would go. So after our great first date, he immediately started making plans for multiple nights that week. He was anxious to show me some fun places in Istanbul and even tried to convince me to roadtrip to another city. His enthusiasm was endearing and I was flattered by his efforts. He texted me the next morning to check in then called a bit later to let me know he had chatted with the owner of the vineyard but they were closed due to a big rainstorm the night before. He was already working on plan B so I took the ferry to meet him.

He wanted to take me to a spot in Beyoglu, a neighborhood that I had been wanting to explore. In the car on the way over we realized our need for cover stories if we did indeed crash a wedding the coming weekend. We threw around ridiculous identities and cover stories for the wedding. We needed new names, obviously. We needed exciting jobs but not too exciting that people don’t believe us. What could I bullshit about convincingly while a few glasses deep and dressed to the nines? I told him he had to pick for me. His first idea - I’m a guest lecturer for some archeological seminars regarding some recent findings. Ummm while I might start off strong with this one, add a few glasses of champagne and I’m going to fail miserably. While I was a history major, that identity requires far too many specifics such as ancient empires and dates. NEXT! I pitched him the idea of being a tech person, running beta testing for internal software systems and consulting on the internal functionality and user experience. He laughed at this but the best part was that this was something I’ve actually done years ago! Apparently my lingo wasn’t convincing enough lol. Please note that if I could keep a straight face, i think I would have made a fabulous spy. I'm great at talking my way in and out of situations. Meanwhile, I was working on coming up with ideas for him from investment banker (boringgg) to an international arms dealer. We were literally turning into a bad movie plot at this point.

After tossing hilarious ideas back and forth, we arrived at this beautiful wine bar and headed up to the roof for sunset. We enjoyed wine and charcuterie as we learned more about each other. We discussed my writing a bit and he trusted me enough to share some of his personal writings. I asked about Sri Lanka as I didn’t know much but am super excited to be traveling there at some point in my journey. He assured me that I now had a place to stay and shared with me different parts of the history there. He opened up about his family and some of the more recent struggles plaguing his homeland.

Surprisingly, we both are headed to the Alps in the coming weeks and he was trying to figure out if our trips overlapped. He seems set on seeing me again which has me flattered. I hold onto these things loosely as I know that life happens and far too often there’s talk of meeting up but it simply doesn’t happen. That being said, he’s excitedly training for his event while I’m just over here planning to fall off an Alp lol. We even discovered he may be in South Africa when I am. Random, I know. At one point, he looks over at me to announce, “I’m going to be your longest chapter.” in reference to my proposed book. Well the wine kicked in as did the chemistry and I took a Ferry of Fame the next morning. (Still working hard to undo the negative language around women and intimacy so we are owning this!)

My view from the Ferry of Fame

While he tried to make plans for the next day, he realized he was already booked so we planned to see each other later in the week. Operation Wedding Crashing was still on the table for the upcoming weekend but he was working with his contact to pick which wedding. We texted daily. If this was really happening then I needed to pull a Cinderella - shoes and dress and all. He texted everyday, sending me updates regarding the weekend and we tried to make plans to meet again. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a concrete plan for the wedding so I hadn’t gone shopping yet. I’m traveling on a budget and can’t buy a dress unless this was for sure happening. On Friday morning, he sent me his flights to Switzerland so we could try and arrange another meet up there.


He texted to say he would likely be in my neighborhood that night, I replied and NOTHING. I’m sure many of you have experienced this and it’s beyond frustrating. Literally hours before he disappeared he’s insistent on taking me to the airport on Monday. The words and actions  simply do not align.

It bothered me more than a little bit because I really didn’t think he was that type of guy. It caused me to question my gut instincts which is quite uncomfortable if I’m honest. I was all gungho about crashing the wedding and he just disappeared after getting the ball rolling!? We had cover stories goddamnit! Saturday rolled past with no communication although he did look at my Insta story - why is this a thing?!

Few things are more frustrating than knowing for a fact that someone can communicate but they are simply choosing not to.

I contemplated saying something and had to process through what my goal was and if this was a good idea. What did I have to gain from reaching out or would I be left more frustrated than I already was? Did I want an apology? An excuse? What would be a satisfactory exchange? I held off until Sunday night. It was still bugging me and I came to the conclusion that I really thought he was better than this. While I had just met him and based this off of our 2 interactions, my gut instinct was that this did not align with what I knew of him and to be honest I wanted him to know that this behavior is not ok. I wanted to call him out and even if I heard nothing back I was going to feel good about having spoken up. So I texted him….

Me: “I wish you would have chosen communication instead of disappearing. Sending your flight details for your upcoming trip only to ghost me was an unfortunate conclusion to the week. I wish you all the best.”

He replied within the hour.

Him: “Been isolating and sleeping.”

Attached was a positive Covid test.

Witnessed this fascinating moment while reading at a cafe. 

And there you have it. I’m glad I wasn’t more aggressive in my text as there seemed to be a legitimate reason for his disappearance. I am also glad I said something. I still think he should have and could have texted me somewhere over the 2 days but I can find grace as I know Covid can kick your butt. I feel a mix of empathy for him being ill and a mix of pride in myself for not accepting the shitty communication without speaking up. A quick texting conversation followed as I then had concerns of exposure but I was in the clear thank goodness. He has since texted and apologized. I do wonder if he would have even reached out again, or if he would have bothered to apologize if I had not reached out. The man was on social media but couldn't be bothered to communicate. My time is valuable and his behavior was beyond disrespectful. It appears he might still intend to try and meet up in Switzerland. My guard is up a bit so we shall see. The week didn’t go to plan and I confess I’m disappointed at the lack of wedding crashing (as I’m sure you all are too!) I still enjoyed our time together and who knows if our paths will cross again.

Teaser: When one man disappears, we simply find another. A Hail Mary message turned into one last date before I left Türkiye…

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Loni James

As I collect and record these stories, I hope they make you laugh, curse and dream of far off places. May they inspire you to cross oceans and meet plenty of interesting people along the way.