“Welcome to Istanbul!”

There were even fireworks. Seriously! At the end of the evening, as we rode back in a taksi, the sky lit up. (Alright, it was actually a “special” football (soccer) match but the timing seemed beyond coincidental.)
Gizem didn’t waste a minute getting me out into the city &emdash; well, not once she finally found me. 🙂 (Taksim is a large area with several places for busses to stop.) After settling me in to the Riva Hotel, we started walking. Right away we got a snack, I had simit (yum). Then we started walking in earnest. And walking. And walking. I held up for about an hour, until jet lag attacked. Nothing like Turkish Coffee to Perk me Right Back up! Gizem’s a good tour guide, btw (thanks for hooking us up, Zeynep!) We admired several views from the Bosphorus, identified many museums and other sites of historical interest, compared notes from the “vast” (!) knowledge I acquired from a book of fiction devoured on the plane, and Gizem’s knowledge of the real scene. The weather was perfectly temperate for a casual stroll from Taksim to the Ostokoy.
I now have a list of six or more “must have” meals, as well as several places I “have to see.” 😉 Last night’s dinner was light: pacanga boregi, (semi-dried beef rubbed in delicious spices then fried in filo dough), and sunflower seed wheat bread smeared variously with ezme (ecili) &emdash; a spicy tomoto, onion and garlic spread, hayolan (yogurt with spices), and soslu pattican (eggplant in a special tomato sauce).
As my itinerary for today was planned (!), I asked about getting a map of the bus routes. Gizem just laughed. Oh well! 🙂 She had already warned me several times about the traffic and a certain disregard for traffic signals and (therefore) pedestrians. “This isn’t Amherst!” Later, however, she told me I’d do fine negotiating my way among the vehicles: “You’re worse than a Turk!” (I am not sure this was intended as a compliment…?)!
Gizem’s a biophysicist. Her work on metal ions is pretty cool. I tried to conjure a direct link to consciousness but the connections weren’t happening (not for me, not tonight). I did learn that the physics part is in the technology; her focus is more on the biology end of things. My biology directed me to SLEEP.

6 thoughts on ““Welcome to Istanbul!””

  1. I’m thrilled the trip to Turkey has gone so well so far – and that your list of things to do is growing the more you experience the area. Maybe it will grow so long, that there won’t be time for Iran, even if the visa comes through (or is it too late? Are doors closing?). And, what’s up with Bombay? A new stop on the itinerary? I traveled with you in thought on Monday; I continue to stay with you in spirit. Have fun; be safe (they really can go together).

  2. Hey Chris. No news on Iran yet. I’m not sure if there is an Embassy here in Istanbul; it might be in Ankara. So am pondering a day trip there. My “local” itinerary is growing: Gizem has TONS of suggestions. 🙂 And some friends from UMass (Puru and Tejal, who are also snooping around in here!) invited me to India if Iran doesn’t work out . . . so . . . who knows? 🙂
    Thanks for the “in spiritness.” It does my heart good to know folks are “with” me. Have bumped into one colleague from UMass here, already, and also a woman who was at the discourse conference I went to in Belgium last summer. THAT’s neat – it didn’t occur to me that might happen.

  3. I don’t know, Amanda, how long I’ll be here. Was only going to stay a week or so before heading to Iran but since that part of the plan doesn’t seem to be happening . . . I’m playing it by eye. I’ve received many suggestions on where to visit – go south! See the seashore! Am not worrying about it too much yet. I’ve a friend who’ll let me crash on her floor for a few days after this conference ends; then I’ll figure out what’s next.
    I’ve never been THIS far out on the edge of the unknown and uncertain. It’s wild. I like it. And . . . I’m not sure how long I can sustain it! Hopefully I won’t discover the breaking point. %-/

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