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Published: September 10th 2010
the Brand New Heavies in İstinye
Aging, but still funky... well-seasoned might be the term for it. A great show.
please pardon the delay.
The weather in İstanbul today is as close as it could be to my definition of perfect. I just returned from a long sunny walk around Moda. Shorts, sandals. The wind today is in more of a hurry than any of the people on the street; it managed to be refreshing and cool without coming close to being cold. Yesterday was Şeker Bayramı (Sugar Holiday), an appropriately named end to the long Ramadan month of fasting observed by some of the city's Muslim population. Many people are enjoying a 4 or 5 day weekend away from work - my girlfriend, unfortunately, is not one of them. So, I set out alone.
Around 3:00, I paused in Moda's seaside park to sit and read under a tree. After a while, I moved to the rocks by the water, to soak up a little sun. It won't be long before those rays become scarce and the gray of winter takes over. The park was overflowing with humanity and a generally festive mood. I gazed out across the water, taking in the dramatic sights before returning my attention to all the life surrounding me. To my right, the
old city was looking as grand as ever. To me though, that part of town has perhaps grown to be what Times Square is to those who adore life in Brooklyn. Ahead of me, a hazy parking lot of massive ocean liners sat waiting where it always is, an impressive sight that I assume is probably only duplicated in a handful of other places on the planet. One by one, they'll be granted passage through the mighty Bosphorus. To my left, the Prince Islands looked green, inviting, and far less touched by human hands than is actually the case. The secret getaway from the chaos of the city that everyone else knows about.
I took a deep breath of sea air and glanced around at all the activity in the park. The rocks were infested with people, who for once outnumbered the cats, most of who were probably hiding in the cracks. To my right two teenage boys appeared slightly angsty, with their faux-hawks quivering in the strong wind. One was flipping the beads of his tesbi in one hand, while devoting the rest of his attention to his cell phone in the other. Beyond them and a bit
closer to the water, a middle-aged man was enjoying an afternoon Efes beer.
Not quite out of earshot, I saw a larger group of teenagers dancing around a boy with a guitar. Most of them were singing and clapping along enthusiastically in 7/8 time, a rhythm that still strikes me as an odd one for the general public to embrace as normal for a sing along.
To my left, a young couple was giggling and appearing to be very much in love. Countless other young couples had also found similar little patches on the rocks or in the grass on the hill.
Bicycles whizzed by behind me.
Fishermen fought the wind as they casted off.
Plastic bags blew into the water. The whole park was filled with garbage, which is sadly typical.
The playgrounds were teeming. Screaming, running children, thrilled to be alive.
Gypsy women armed with roses and hard luck stories descended upon the men in the crowd - particularly those with wives or girlfriends in tow - hoping to earn a few lira with their aggressive sales tactics.
Young men on bicycles cruised by yelling out "Sunflower seeds! Does anybody want to drink tea?"
Mom in Petra
more on this trip later...
Some people appeared to be completely asleep on the grass - still digesting from the excessive feasting that they've likely been partaking in nonstop since sundown Wednesday.
I should have brought my camera with me (hence the old pictures out of context with this entry - you'll have to just guess). Next time. It does feel good to return to this blog after a long absence.
If I've kept you in the dark for nearly a year, at least I've updated you on one afternoon.
I'll try to play a bit of catch up if and when time allows. It's been quite a summer, filled with intense highs and lows. Autumn is starting out bright and optimistic.
All the best.
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