Saturday, December 31, 2011


Of the temperate seas. Of the wide open beaches. Where sand grouse congregate under open windows. Sonbesies, molshope, Bokmakierie en Bokmakierie se vrou. Under a bright starry sky, we sang for our supper: spaghetti like handwriting on my plate. Grilled yellowtail fresh from the boat.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Life Vest Under Seat.

A final glimpse of the Bosphorus. I cried all the way to the airport. The taxi driver tried to teach me some last minute Turkish. In the plane to Abu Dhabi the sweet mother and daughter next to me offered light touches with henna-dipped fingers. They offered cologne for my temples, pistachios, chocolate... and finally the mother just looked at me and put her hand over her heart.

At home nothing has changed. The milk in the refrigerator has not yet turned. But I feel different.
I'm not ready to be back and I'm packing my car. I need sand between my toes.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

How can you not love this city -
where even the sugar cubes are hearts?

Good Bye Istanbul.
You're in my blood now.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A gentle way to travel.

We hopped on a ferry to Kadıköy this morning. Salep with cinnamon - the powdered roots of an orchid made into a custardlike drink. Tea, always tea. The rain has arrived and the Turks say the snow is near.

 Gazed at the Blue Mosque's domes, shoes in hand. Wandered the caverns of the underground cistern, where the ladies stand on their heads, their tears falling up into the sky.

A balcony made of lace.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

“Who has not sat before his own heart’s curtain? It lifts: and the scenery is falling apart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eating Istanbul.

That's what I was planning to do - bit by delicious bit. I forgot about my sensory overload problem. Place me in a foreign country and my appetite promptly disappears. Like being in love... and there's that too. So I walk my walks and here and there I take a small bite. (Knowing that next week maybe, I will suffer huge regret.)

In a back alley off Istiklal this morning I spotted a tray of medlars, some of them perfectly bletted. The man watched me as I looked for the most shriveled and aromatic one - oozing a little sticky juice, and nodded his approval. I nipped it - like a vampire - and sucked the pulp from it. Heavenly apple sauce! He blew me a kiss as I walked off into the rain.

Lunch was half an aubergine roasted in a smoky wood oven. Lamb and pine nuts. To such bedlam! Some people have no manners...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lazy Sunday.

I left the hotel this morning feeling as if I had won the lottery. Could it have been the breakfast of stewed sour cherries, with yoghurt and warm roasted pistachios? Took the tram over the bridge and went in search of the Mosaic Museum. 

Alas, it is closed for renovation. Did some relaxed shopping at Arasta Bazaar. Many glasses of tea later I left with a huge cloth bag full of treasures. Easy friends with Şenol at the Hamam shop. He sells beautiful hand loomed towels from Antakya in the South. For the first time I felt really understood by someone from here. He said to me: "Walk down the hill past Aya Sofya and turn right beneath the big stone arches. It's a park leading to the water. A good place for meditation."

Avenues of ancient trees guarded by an army of marble lions. Silence.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hanging with my honey.

It was nice to walk around with the tallest man in Istanbul. He took me to see some of the places where they've been shooting. At one of the buildings near the Grand Bazaar, the caretaker unlocked the door of the stairwell and we went up to the roof. In the sixties, when the fabric trade moved to India and China, Istanbul suffered a big commercial blow. In a room up there is an abandoned Italian loom, probably around 150 years old, the last piece of fabric rotting away gently...

and then he brought us some tea.

In a courtyard not far away, there is a silver smelting business. A very jovial smith showed us around, explaining the process with laughter and huffs and puffs.

 I don't want to go home.