The Turkish Spirit
Today I touched down in Istanbul for ten days. Got a real sweet AirBnB in Cihangir right near Taksim Square. Staying with a Turkish girl named Zalel. She is a writer and seems like a really sweet person. Plus there is a second AirBnB guest from the States staying here as well. We only met briefly but she is here for a couple months studying I believe.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Istanbul, I was a little bit nervous…okay I’m never a “little bit” anything. I was very nervous. Those nerves faded away as soon as I was on the shuttle from the airport to Taksim Square, seeing the Mediterranean calmed me very quickly and I couldn’t help but smile and think of the path I am taking. I’m in Istanbul, by myself. Thousands of miles from home and only a rather vague set of directions to get to the place that I’m staying at. Then the bus passed under some Roman Aqueducts and that was it.
As the bus passed over the Bosphorus the bridge was covered with old Turkish men fishing over the side. This city, this fascinating place, it’s surrounded by two different oceans. The Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The city is situated on two separate continents, Asia and Europe. And the city is VERY indicative of this. From what I understand the Romans, the Ottomans, and the Byzantine Empires all laid claim to this piece of land. They all put their own special touch on the landscape of the city and it still holds true today.
Several times a day I could hear the Muezzin (the man appointed to sing and call to prayer to everyone around who are Islamic) it’s really beautiful and I’m excited to wake up to it.
I haven’t had the chance to really try the food out here yet, but needless to say, I am very excited to. Since being in Europe for the past couple of months, Falafel and Donor Kabob stands have been in the background of almost everything I’ve done so far.
The city in general seems like a place that has been mashed and compressed by a million different cultures that have all left their own mark from the Romans and Ottomans to todays travelers.
And the women…my god the women. Don’t even get me started. I’m having a hard time not staring. Elegant and Fierce are the first words that come to mind when I think of the Turkish women out here.
The street I’m staying on is a steep hike like much of the city. It’s a very hilly place Istanbul. The calves are getting a hell of a work out over here. Maybe I can shed a couple of these American cheeseburger pounds.
Turkish Tea got me feeling Istanbul
Lots of older Turkish men sit outside of cafe’s sipping coffee and playing domino’s. Everyone smokes obviously, but the most notic
eable thing about the people I’ve seen just from my first day is the kids. They are some straight hustlers. I sat in a park today for a while doing some writing and just watching the people coming and going and the coffee and tea vendors peddle their beverages and these kids would come up trying to sell you a bottle of water, and this one girl, she must’ve been like six years old, came up to me and was not taking no for an answer. I have no idea what she was saying, but whatever it was she felt strongly that I should buy a bottle of water from her. In the end she didn’t get the sale, but I gotta say I was impressed. She’d do well in the States. If she hadn’t kept interrupting me from working on my novel, I would’ve probably bought one off her.
A lot of hookah smoking going on all around me as well. You can smell the flavored tobacco and strong turkish coffee in the air. It’s a smell that just fits the place so perfectly.
I’m really eager to pick my roommates brains on Istanbul. My AirBnB host seems like she is really at home here and knows the place very well. The apartment itself is a very turkish flat. And my room is HUGE and full of books. She’s a writer so it makes sense, but I really feel comfortable in the place. Although its hot and A/C isn’t really a popular thing here, I gotta admit I’m not upset about it at all. It’s a clean type of heat. It isn’t like when it’s hot in Berlin. It’s near the ocean, so it has a crispness to it that reminds me of my parents home in Florida.
I’m contemplating cleansing my body of weed while I’m out here. First of all, it’s not taken lightly out here, and I’ve already seen Midnight Express and have no desire to end up in a Turkish prison only to have to escape after several years. Something about the place makes me want to kind of clean up my act a bit. Take in as much as I can an just focus on the words that I write.
Music is the key
By the way if anyone has suggestions for what to put on my Istanbul playlist I am open to suggestions. I feel like I need a really special playlist for this place, gonna work on that tonight.
So yeah it’s been a good and exhausting first day. Looks like a got a date with this Turkish girl sometime this week, she said she wants to get lost with me, so I told her,
that’s my spirit baby.
After less than twelve hours, the verdict is, go to Istanbul. Who knows maybe things will change, but I can’t see that being the case, walking around I can definitely tell that
I could spend a significant amount of time in this city. Ten days isn’t going to do it. Now just have to look for a couple good bars that play hip hop and we are set boys and girls.