2010-01-16 41 28
Inside a small college campus in the middle of the city.
- Don't like words words words? There's a summary at the end.
Well, much to my regret I couldn't find the time and opportunity to go on any more expeditions after June last year. That's so sad face! =( Oh well, my finals are *almost* done (just one more on Monday) and I decided to check the hash for tomorrow just now, and what do I see? It's right by my house! Well, not really, but it's super close and not out of city for once. AWESOME! I'll even make it there on time, and it's a Saturday and stuff, so it'll be like a real proper Saturday meetup thing! Well, except I don't think there's a chance of anyone else showing up, so it's not really a meetup, but whatever. I'm gonna make it to a hash! Yay me.
The spot is at a park next to a college campus, in fact I may have even been there before. It should be a short bus ride or even a quick walk away (depending on how lazy I'll feel) and I'll definitely make it there between 3-4 pm.
A short bus ride later I find myself here. I'd gotten impatient waiting for just the right one, so I hopped on a bus figuring that hey, the difference between the routes is one passes left of the park and the other right! Isn't the point in the park anyway? Eh, close enough. Oh boy, was I wrong.
Turns out, first, I completely confused the local area in my head, including the hash point. I assumed it was in this park. I also assumed the park lay in a roughly north-south orientation and comprised the eastern edge of a rectangle with the hash at the center and Taksim being the north west vertex. I also completely disregarded the "contents" of that rectangle: lots of hotel style buildings with weird parking lots around them which are a pain to navigate since you never know where to enter/exit the damned place.
By the way, you may notice that my description is topologically impossible, since we have the center of a rectangle apparently on the edge. All I can say is, I wish I had that insight when my hippocampus was like, spacing out, duuude.
Anyway, I wandered around the park for a while and snapped a picture or two, but was very puzzled by how my intuition, magnetic compass and GPS compass all pointed to perfectly opposite directions for the hash point. Plus the awful sensitivity (for some reason) and I said screw it, I need more Internet.
I was fortunately able to find my way to the street, and hurray for ubiquitous coffee shops! Though not hurray for coffee shops which secure their WAN. Anyway, an awful espresso and some Googling later, my mental state is now a very comfortable "Aaah!". I mean, I have the directions and everything too, sure it's almost 4 but I'll just take the first right and walk down for 5 minutes, then that's it, right?
So I start walking. Just a little after the coffee shop is another one. I'm not sure about the logic but for some reason like a half the coffee shops in this city are right next to each other. Anyway, I see there behind a table in a corner, what appears to be as far as I could surmise, a man drinking coffee with his dog. No, I don't mean he was having coffee and his dog was milling around close by, it was actually sitting in the chair opposite him and looking back at him in a meaningful manner. It didn't look as a seeing eye dog, not that I've seen many of those. I tried getting a picture but it came out all messed up, unfortunately.
Then, as I move south, soon enough there's the İTÜ campus! Ok, I keep walking since Google tells me to. There's maybe two points left, the road I'm following will curve left and then a short while later I'll turn left and that short dead-end one-way street will take me to the hash. "Oh boy!", I say to myself, so hopelessly naive, "that must go to a parking lot! I'll just snap a picture away from the cars and be done; piece of cake! Hmm, I wonder if-"
Then I see the hill. "Oh, hehe, I sure hope I don't have to climb that hill! Nah, that's nonsense, why would the hash be there?" I say to myself with a self-satisfied smirk, flaunting confidence in my inevitable success with defiant jokes.
A few paces later, another fascinating feature! Some sort of bridge; there's a road passing under the road I'm walking on, leading into some new tunnel. For a second, I wonder if it's to do with the subway system or something, but then my attention changes focus as I recognize another opportunity to be horribly smug. "Oh, hehe, gee. I'm not supposed to go into that tunnel am I? Man, that would've been HILARIOUS if I had to. Speaking of which, am I close to that left I'm supposed to take yet?"
 Are we there yet?
I check my map -and by this time I've walked past the tunnel-thing and turned right, following the sidewalk- and see to my surprise that I've walked past the turn! "Oh dear. Well, I guess I'll have to climb that hill after all. No matter, I'm sure there's some picnic tables and stuff just a hundred meters ahead on top of it! What's a geohash without walking on grass? I'm only 15 minutes late, too. Not bad."
So I walk back, stopping to get some better photos of the tunnel for later. And since I've got my phone out anyway, I decide to double check the directions, just to make sure I climb the hill in the right direction, right by the- And then it hits me. The directions ARE going into the tunnel. It's listed as a one-lane street.
So I stand there with my jaw on the floor for a second. "Very funny, Google! Hmph. Well, really, this is hardly of consequence. I'm almost there anyway, I'll just climb over the hill and-" Wow. Turns out, there's no tables on top of the hill. There's no top of the hill. It's not even really a hill! Just a slope with a fence some 30 meters up, painted green and blending wonderfully with the bushes and trees around it. Well, at least there's a parking lot.
 Lost and at a loss
Obviously horrified, my spirits were still high at this point. It was a series of annoying setbacks, but hey, it's so close now! Not like I'm gonna get this far and then give up, right? I decide I'll just follow the fence, it should lead me to a path at some point! I mean, there's supposed to be a marriage hall just next to the hash, how are people supposed to marry if there's a fence cutting off the place, right?
So I walk north, wander right down some street not on the "map", gazing all around with a confused expression like some dazed tourist. Pretty soon, though, I decide to ask where the hall is, and the man points to the building behind him. So I'm finally there! Now I just walk around to the other side of the hall and there I am.
Well, guess what? Turns out there's a fence parallel to the wall of the hall which is facing the hash! Oh joy. "Well, it must be in the campus then, this shouldn't be so hard." I should really learn not to think that, but yeah. So I walk back to the intersection I first passed, and make a right, towards the entrance of the campus.
Surprise! The door to campus has turnstiles. The guard informs me I need to swipe my İTÜ ID to enter. I don't have an İTÜ ID, I don't go to İTÜ! Well, I can't enter then. "Hmph. Well, let's see how close I can get through the park then, at least." (It shows up grey on the map but the north half of that area is a public park and the south half is the İTÜ campus.) By the way, what sucks about this is like half of my friends go to İTÜ, and I'm sure one or two would have had the time today if I called them and I could get that one achievement for getting to a restricted area hash with authorization, but oh well.
I continue east, bump into a cable car (the kind that hangs from a cable in the air), briefly reminisce about riding on it before, turn right and descend into the park, staying near the campus fence, as my blip gets closer and closer to the hash and then... Wow. Good wow and bad wow. Good wow because I'm pretty close, bad wow because I'm at the marriage hall again. Looks like I made a circle. Well, on the bright side, that means the hash is definitely in the circle.
"But that's inside the campus! They won't let me inside the campus. Oh well, I'll just get as close to the fence as I can." So I climb the grassy slope to the fence, and turns out the ground is really uneven and damp and there's dry tree branches lying all over the place and even in the middle of a concrete ocean, I've still somehow managed to end up crawling and fighting my way through foliage.
Finally I get to the fence. Predictably it's at the level of the marriage hall's roof, the hash looks very close, maybe 20 or 30 meters north-northeast. Ok, I figure since I've gotten this far, I might as well follow the fence east and get to the part of the fence closest to the hash. (See, this was supposed to be super easy, and I was supposed to get exactly to the hash at exactly the right time, and by now it's driving me mad that I'm not gonna make it again and I just can't believe it)
Then as I walk along the fence, surprise! A tree has fallen over the fence, bent it pretty low, and I think if I'm careful I can climb over. I decide to back up a few steps to take a better photo, and then see something even better: A hole in the fence that I overlooked! Excellent.
 Desperate measures
Now, I know I'm not supposed to do this. It's technically a restricted area, and security told me I can't go in, so I should just stop, take a picture, and turn back. But I was really psyched up to get there this time, and it's just a college campus, and they let people in without IDs all the time anyway, and I'm no one can see me and I'm sure I won't get caught, and I make the stupid decision.
I easily slip through the hole, there's another slope, even steeper and more crowded. I barely squeeze past the branches, and just as I emerge on top, suddenly there's dogs barking all over the place. I guess they heard me or something, I don't know, but they weren't at all thrilled to find me here and soon enough one came running over.
Well, to be fair, they probably were quite thrilled. But you get my point.
So anyway, I half slide back down through the dead tree maze, to the hole, and out again (let me tell you that very quickly climbing through a hole in a thoroughly rusted fence is about as pleasant as it sounds, I should definitely bring gloves next time). Look around, no dogs following, no guard running over to see what's going on, OK, I'm good. I decide to try to walk around the campus boundary to check if I can get closer to the hash from the other side. (And the bus stop is in that direction anyway so...)
I hug the fence a bit closer this time but essentially backtrack the along way I came, only this time since I'm right next to the fence, I'm able to spot something I'd missed. Another stroke of "luck"!
 Second chance
There's a gap in the fence, again! "Hah. You nosy mutt, let's see you catch me coming in through here. Bet you'll never know I got in!" I climb past, and I've just started walking when the damned animal comes running and barking here as well! And it's the same damn dog! I jump back over the fence very, very quickly.
Now I'm very, very frustrated, but at the same time convinced that it's gonna be very, very difficult to get to the hash, so I should just go home.
And then I notice the entrance of the campus parking lot! I hadn't tried getting in through there before, figuring the guy there would also ask for ID, and the park seemed easier anyhow. But this time I was really desperate, and hell, why not?
So I walk inside, he just gives me a glance and goes back to watching TV. Well, that was easy. Now I'm inside. So behind the main building which doubles as the gate of the campus, on the wall opposite the one facing the street, there's a small paved area for faculty cars. I cross that. So now, I'm at the corner of the pavement, and along it on the right is some horrid mess of tree-ish stuff, corroded fence and half-underground building. It's a horrible tangle I don't want to get into. On the left are the grassy open areas, with a basketball court in the middle (which seems to be the center of the territory of that dog that kept chasing me). And in front of me, on the corner, is some sort of wooden terrace, apparently on the roof of a cafe, surrounded by another fence, sort of (there's a gap obviously left for people to get in), I guess it was close for repairs, or repainting, or the summer or whatever. Anyway, I tiptoe around the fence (this one is solid steel so you can't see behind it) and to the southernmost edge of the terrace/roof I'm on. Now I'm *really* nervous, because if I make any noise I bet the basketball beagle will come over barking like crazy, but on the other hand if somebody notices me sneaking about it would be pretty complicated to explain. Plus, the espresso I drank on an empty stomach must have been peaking here.
At the same time, there's a path passing in front of the cafe I'm on top of, and the hash is maybe 15 meters ahead/south, and I'm 99% positive if I just get onto that path I'll be on top of the hash. In the end, I decide that hey, what the hell, and jump down *very quietly*, and stalk over the grass, and reach the path. Great. I keep looking around me like crazy all the time, and apparently the dog isn't here yet. So I check the map, the hash must be really close now and... Woo! I wish I knew how to take screenshots, I had stopped right on top of it! I snapped some photos, and then very quickly left. Unfortunately, I later remembered that I forgot to leave a sign, but oh well. It was getting dark and I really had no intention of pushing my luck one more time. =D
The exif tag of my last photo has these coordinates: 41,04196667, 28,99136389. The hash point was at 41.0419401, 28.9914098. Distance is roughly 5 meters. I recall the accuracy of GPS being about 5 m as well.
I think I can call this a success? *smug, beaming pose*
The short of it: Easy hash, close by, area I know very well, looks like public etc. I set out expecting a cakewalk, wandered around and got lost for stupid reasons. Then I went to Google for help, who tried to lure me into a dark tunnel that was still under construction. I ran away and tried another way in, but the hash was on a university campus and they asked for a school ID, and all around there was a fence, but I found a hole in it and climbed inside, but a dog chased me away. I found another hole in same fence somewhere else, but same dog chased me away again. I tried to enter through the gate again, this time the parking lot entry, and they let me in (well, more like didn't stop) this time. So I sneaked in, tiptoed over the roof of a closed cafe, stalked across the campus (hoping not to get chased away a third time, by same dog), and made it to the hash, 1 hour late.
| Superbest earned the Land geohash achievement