Istanbul For a Day


My flights from Georgia and Doha gave me 12 hours in the city. I hadn’t been for six years and its improved since. Last time was part of a rock n’roll period where incidently I met Linden in the Bauhaus hostel. It seems a long time ago now since she borrowed my hat, a classic girl trick or I piggybacked her to the nightclub. I’ve always been a charmer!

The Turkish economy continues to improve and this is reflected in its main city. It’s been gentrified. It’s still a claustraphobic experience but the streets are cleaner, the hawkers are less pursued no doubt by the policeman on segways and the army of ‘Ask Me’ helpers. Public transport finally made sense despite twice seeing black men ejected from the trams for no apparent reason. The term I thought I won’t use here but the city and the people felt more European (all this is fairly ironic given the accusations of Erdogan’s challenge to the secular state), less intent on chasing the buck by organising themselves so the buck came to them. There were still plenty of hawkers and beggars but less than before.


The Bosphorous twinkled in the sun. I sat down and watched it for a long time before going to Gezi Park to read and people watch at the scene of ‘the scene’ in Istanbul which quickly descended into a stand-off between Erdogan, the democratically-elected Prime Minister and the middle class who sense their rights being slowly eroded by his government. Erodgan won this battle though the protestors may have saved the park. Istanbul needs parks like this. But even Gezi Park is no real getaway. Central Istanbul just doesn’t have the room. This is a massively, crowded city.


So while there, I visited the Sultanahmet area, the Grand Bazaar and tried for the Modern Art Museum but it is closed on Mondays. Despite enjoying it more this time (the weather helps of course), I still don’t know if I want to give it a try. Time won’t tell. I’ll leave that to circumstance and the heart.     


>How’s Dan doing? Well…

Hey guys and girls,

Just thought I’d give a heads up. All well here and I am back at home. Just looking for jobs and getting everything back in a routine of exercising, planning, studying and eating better and drinking less. I am hoping to do the DELTA this summer in Poland, as well as the Japanese exams in December. Before that, I am heading to Amsterdam for a few days to hook up with Jeroen and Daphne after a few years of missed meetings. It’s the Queens Birthday in the Netherlands so it’ll be a huge party on a boat on the canals.

But before all that I have to earn some cash to get me back in the black. I’ll be at mate’s gigs and the cinema for the rest of the month, observing life rather than drinking through it. I am keeping my weekends quiet right now (that is until an old mate calls up and offers a beer). There are a few stories that need to be written this year too before they become a relic of a lost need. Reading some great books too right now. Lolita, Waiting for Godot, Dante Inferno, and Gravity’s Rainbow. Should be enough to inspire me.

I will also post about my recent trip. I have started the post. It’s entitled Me and my Boys. During my days memories burst over me, leaving me looking an escaped mental patient as I smile through the Spring days. I will be looking to hook up with various people soon who I met on this most friendly of jaunts. I enjoyed it immensely.

PS – Good to see that the folks, LP and Sarina had a cool time together. I think LP worked the charm on my old dear as I did on his!!