Sunday, September 24, 2006

ISTANBUL

FAVORITE PLACES - ISTANBUL!




ISTANBUL
I realize I said I was going to put my favorite places on a different site - but it is not working out... the blog prep page does not let me see my pictures - just gives me a bunch of computer jumble so I have to keep going to preview and on and on. So......... until I get a better site for that stuff or figure out how to change things, I will continue on here. I seem to be having the same problem on this site - so I guess that will limit my blog drastically. I am too visual to do it this way! I cannot move or rearrange the computer jumble around like i could the pictures. I will put on what I can manage - maybe more later... Inshallah!


As part of my Favorite Places series I think I will head over to my favorite country, Turkey. I lived in Turkey as a teenager, was graduated from high school in Ankara (’62) and was able to go back “home” for the summer after I came back state-side to go to college.


I went to Turkey to live with my father when it became apparent my step-father was not going to allow me to finish high school after he lost his job in Maine and moved back to NY State. We were living in the boondocks outside Elmira and, so he said, had to pay to ride the school bus into town to attend school. He decided I should stay home instead and take care of his children and get a job at night in the local mom and pop grocery store a mile away. I wrote to my father for bus fare to take me back to Portland, I would live at the YWCA, get my part time jobs back, graduate with my class, and probably join the air force to get a college education. I had it all figured out. Instead, dad sent me a passport, visa, and a one way plane ticket to Istanbul. That was just a few miles away from Portland, Maine, right?!?

Being a teenager, I was not scared of anything, not even of getting on a big old jet (Pan Am) and roaring off into the night skies. I watched the sunrise over Shannon, Ireland. We landed first in London, flew over the Alps, then a few minutes later it seemed we were in Rome. Then it seemed to take days to get to Istanbul.



Immediately, I was fascinated with the architecture, the people, the language, the differences in everything, it seemed. Our driver drove using his horn and his voice screaming out the window of our station wagon at everyone else on the road. They didn’t prepare us for that in Driver’s Ed back in Portland! By the time I got from the airport to the hotel, I was able to swear rather fluently in Turkish! I knew how to say, “Left! Right! Straight ahead! You son of a jackass! (And my favorite) – If you are in such a big hurry, how is it you stayed in your mother’s womb for 9 months?!?” such a picturesque language! I was in love!

We stayed in Istanbul for about a week. I had not lived with my father since I was a baby ( he had spent his life in the Foreign Service traveling around the world, and my mother divorced him when he was in the Philippines and I was less than 2 years old.) Dad had already been in Turkey (which actually means turquoise, by the way) for about 10 years, so he knew his way around. Istanbul was one of his favorite places, too.
If you remember from a previous post, I said I hate cities. Well, Istanbul is the exception, but then, I do not see Istanbul as a city – I see Istanbul as a history book come alive, an art book of unbelievable treasures, a study of cultures, architecture, religion, an enormous museum of many cultures and people that can be found no where else on earth. I swear, a week in Istanbul is worth a year at University. I would love to have a year to spend there slowly savoring every minute, every inch of the city, getting to know its people as best as I could, letting my eyes make love to every building and artifact from the magnificent to the humble, filling my ears with the music that still haunts my dreams and the language that I have all but forgotten. Can you hear that big sigh at the end of that sentence?



Most of our personal pictures are at the house in the mountains or at my father’s in Florida. In those days, we took mostly slides anyway, and I have no way to convert them into digital images this computer can use. I have only my postcard collection and a few shots I found in an old album. But the postcards show some of the unbelievable magnificence, especially inside the mosques – which words simply cannot describe. The awesomeness of it all!!!!! Here are a few of my favorites. I will start with the Blue Mosque... probably my favorite -

Now to St Sophia -

This is St Sophia's - once a church, then a mosque, now a museum - always awesome! Its like going into a world of gold!

The Covered Bazaar - the world's first mall. If I remember right - I think there are about 4,000 shops in the Grand Bazaar, streets and streets of them, some of them tiny - no bigger than my living room - all of them PACKED with stuff. So amazing!!!!!!

Somehow I have lost part of the text and several of the pictures - so I quit. I have run out of time and patience. Maybe more later..................

1 comment:

Takin'pictures said...

Ah. You didn't know about the rule that jets have to fly slower between Rome and Istanbul. It actually does take days. We will be waiting for the rest of this story and pictures. Take your time. We don't want anything premature.

Thanks again for this interesting peek into your past.