Archive for October, 2006

fool (in) the rain

now that it’s raining coke bottles and bananas -sorry uncle tom (i meant) cats and dogs, rain drops on my fingertips sometimes give me the blues- the best way to use the excess water is to pay visits to istanbul fountains. with little jolts to the system, pretending that the water is pouring out as it used to years ago is not so hard, pseudohallucinations rulaz!

quoting -never! mind the mistakes- from the website of the ministry of culture and tourism; endowing money for the construction of a fountain and a water supply line to it was an act of piety which played an important role in ottoman life. hardly a sultan, sultan’s mother, sultan’s daughter, grand vezir, or other august personage did not endow a fountain in expression of their economic, social and political standing, and fountains became an important part of the architectural tradition. fountains were decorative features of both outdoor public spaces like squares, and intimate indoor spaces in private dwellings, and they reflected the architectural taste and styles of their time.

as a guide book, fountains in ottoman istanbul is the best suggestion. warm footware, light clothes and a good quality umbrella could save the day.

29 Ekim…

“En büyük bayramdır, kutlu olsun” Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Cumhuriyet Bayramımız kutlu olsun…
Güzel bayramlara…

PS/ 29 October 1923: Foundation of Turkish Republic

Flash news – Earthquake in Balikesir 5.7 at 17.01

The earthquake was felt from Bolu to Istanbul and all around that area. This is the second earthquake felt in Istanbul since a couple of days awakening fears amongst the population. More information will be given as soon as we are provided with them.

Edit 17:27: The center of the earthquake was situated at the Gemlik bay in the Marmara sea and was of 5.2 intensity.


After 3 weeks in the Turkish outback it is nice to be home again. Arriving just in time for Seker Bayram it was…as my kids say, “Sa-Weeet!”
We rolled into Istanbul and cold weather, cold showers, and the boilers down in our site. After our time trekking around (not up or over) Ararat and south to Van following several families of shepherds moving their flocks to lower pastures…it was good to see the City again and was soothing to our battered bodies and senses.
To hear the horns, the screech of tires, the touts, the Azan coming for several directions, and the roar of the Iftar cannons was music to our ears.

IMG_4971.JPG Long Way From Home

I love the Turkish/Iranian border regions; Mt. Ararat, the beginning of the Central Asia Steppe, Dogubeyazit and Kars, the forgotten villages clinging to the sides of the mountains, and the people of Eastern Turkey… But this City of Istanbul, the “City of the World’s Desire” holds a special place on our hearts. It is home to our crew of four, and its nice to be back.

Hayirli Bayramlar

We would like to wish our muslim friends a happy Eid! Best wishes to you and your family.

Size ve ailenize hayirli bayramlar, saglik ve mutluluk dileriz.

Night Sights On İstiklal Street

Thanks to Filmekimi (“Filmoctober” and/or “Filmcultivation” – our lovely, little, one week film festival) I’m on İstiklal Street every night (after the last screening, of course!).

Heyyo! Kestaneciler (chestnut vendors who sell fresh made roasted chesnuts) are everywhere:) And so the smell of roasted chestnut…
(Yes, I know chestnut vendors and so the delicious smell of roasted chesnuts have been around for some time, but for some reason roasted chestnut suits İstiklal Street more than any street.)

Aksanat was converted into TeknoSa.
It’s quite mysterious: on the one hand they arrange Picasso, Rodin exhibitions, on the other they convert the precious Aksanat building into TeknoSa – as if we have enough art centers but not enough technology shops, as if it is mandatory to have technology shops at every 10 meters! I don’t know what you’ll do, but I’ll never step foot in any of TeknoSa shops again.

Apart from usual souvenirs of film festivals, various, interesting little things are also being sold as film festival souvenirs now. For people like myself who collect things like ants and attach emotional value to them and so get emotionally attached to them, that’s a good news…

Today is the last day of Filmekimi…
It was the first festival after İsmet Bey’s death…
His absence was conspicuous. I had looked for his polite face among the crowd in Emek Movie Theatre’s foyer; he was a perfect example of İstanbul beyefendisi (İstanbul gentleman). He had administered Emek Movie Theatre for 30 years. Without people like him we wouldn’t have movie theatres like Emek or film festivals.

It was past midnight…
Coffee shops were filled with people…
Though it was cold, rainy and past midnight people were strolling down the street merrily… (Why am I talking ridiculous? All those people were Cinderellas who had to be back at home before the final stroke of midnight? No!… So let them ejoy the street till morning…)

Where Was I?

Was I in İstanbul yesterday evening?
Sure, the streets I wandered were familiar, but still there was something strange about them:
Take Bebek for instance: I was standing in the middle of a side street to take photo of an elegant wooden house. Something I had tried so many times before, at different times of the day, but each time before I managed to put the house in the frame I heard a “dadaaaaat” – a car’s horn! But yesterday I managed to take photos-not a photo, but photos!

I assumed the traffic would be deadlocked and because the last thing I could stand was to stick in the middle of a traffic jam, I walked from Bebek to Ortaköy though I was so tired. My assumption was far from being groundless: it was Sunday, late afternoon; there was a nice autumn weather; one of the favorite course of Istanbulites is between Bebek and Ortaköy; the narrow Bebek street was blocked by ‘grand jeeps’ and so only one lane was left for flow of traffic, why wouldn’t some other dear jeep drivers park (please read as “block”) on the roads of neighborhoods?

So I walked…

cars were waiting
not in the middle of a traffic jam
just red lights to become green
and one green light round was enough all the cars to pass
for heaven’s sake it was Ortaköy (or was it?)
(isn’t that what you visualize when you think of Ortaköy?)
but not yesterday

Ortaköy-Beşiktaş road was clear also…
(This time I wasn’t surprised: since Ortaköy was not congested, why and how could that road?)

Beşiktaş – Üsküdar ferry waiting hall:
A few minutes to the departure of the ferry
A few people waiting

No one left the boarded ferry…

What was wrong with İstanbul yesterday evening?

Cleaning Up In Istanbul

Posted from Dogubeyazit….be back soon

I am a simple guy and it takes my meandering musings time to mesh. Since I need to work harder than most to ponder life, I need a place that allows me to do just that. My hangout is a little café on the corner here in Istanbul, called Cemre Kebap (frequent readers will remember this little eatery from earlier postings).
It seems that I spend a lot of my spare time in that little café because they now reserve a table for me and somehow it has become my official office…it has even found its way onto my business cards: Office Located In: Cemre Kebap, Corner Table, Istanbul.
I hold office hours on most Thursdays and the occasional Tuesday, the owners of the café seem to have some influence in our little village and often arrange, without my foreknowledge, appointments with those in the community they think I should meet. I never know how my day is going to turn out. Over the past few months I have met with decorated Generals, orphaned teens, Imams, crazies, and even a sitting member of the Turkish Parliament and a former Ambassador.
This day I had been given a reprieve from the usual parade of characters and notables, and had spent several delightful hours dwelling on pithy perceptions when Ann and the kids arrived, thus calling an end to an arduous day of contemplations.
Now that my office was officially closed, the two brothers that owned the café gathered around our table to chat. In the course of our conversation we mentioned that we were in the market for a washer and dryer. Fikret, the younger brother, walked across the street to a local appliance shop and brought back a catalog for us to peruse.

Not a magical potion… but a magical pot…

Those of you who have already missed sunny days, who feel boredom because of gray sky, rain, cold winds, who long for spring and summer, I have a magical recipe for you!
If you’re one of them, try to cultivate several pots of geranium at your balcony or on your window sill!
Why geranium, you may ask?
Because it has showy and colorful flowers.
Because it can withstand adverse conditions such as cold weather.
Because it blooms throughout the year no matter how cold it is (don’t you have such a mental picture: it was a cold winter day, everything, including Bosphorus, seemed so gray, you raised your head and saw a balcony full of red (purple, fuchsia, deep pink) geraniums and so felt non-gray???).


Even a pot of geranium will suffice to make you forget gray sky, rain, autumn…It will make you feel as if you’re in an Aegean town…It will remind you of long afternoons of summer…

(It had been tested on so many people from various groups and each of them responded positively! (And I’m not kidding!))

Dewdrops … Droplets of dew

I’ve always loved to wander around when the sun has half rised: the contrast between parts on which sun shines and which are still burried in the shadow is striking – parts of earth and so everything on it onto which the sun shines are lively, meeting the new day vigorously; yet the shaded parts are neither dead nor sleeping, yet not lively, as if they are still living the marvelous instant between sleep and wakefulness…

Lately grass, flowers, leaves are all covered with dewdrops early in the mornings.
And so wandering around early in the mornings-when the sun hasn’t rised fully yet- to enjoy dewdrops on greenness has become one of my morning rituals lately.


The droplets of dew glitter like brilliants…

I feel as fresh as those dewdrops…
I feel sparkling: as if the glitters of dewdrops penetrates me and so I reflect their glitters…
To be able to witness the duration when half of the earth is vivid and the other half is at the instant between sleep and wakefullness and to watch droplets at the same time makes me happy…

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