On Wednesday, a friend and I wandered through the modern part of Istanbul and came across what must have been a cultural dance show. We stayed for two groups until it was time to meet with Lale, a friend of my father's who was dropping off the latest copy of the Istanbul guidebook that she and her husband, Tan, and my dad wrote together. Once we met, she told me she had arranged a tour for us the following day that took us from the Blue Mosque to the Topkapi Palace, the underground reservoir, and through a number of other neighborhoods. She had to make sure my friend wasn't male, as the guide was female, a cultural taboo for two men to be with a lady I guess.
After dinner that night, a few friends went out to see the nightlife in the new part of town. There, I bought a small bottle of raki. I've noticed each European country has their own liquorice-flavored liquor with a unique name. In France it's pastis or anis, Italians drink Sambuca, it's ouzo in Greece and it happens to be raki here in Turkey. Definitely an old man drink.
On Saturday, I made my way over to the Modern Art Museum, which I could take or leave. I sought it out because of the “design” exhibit that really turned out to be nothing more than a sparse collection of furniture from the decades of the 20th century. At the end of the exhibit, however, there was a fun, interactive video camera that would put up a three-second clip of you on repeat until someone changed it. Regular, uncreative people would just wave into the camera, but I tried something different. Because it was on a loop, I turned 360 degrees in about as long as the clip was to make a perpetually spinning me. Next I walked into and out of the frame in the same time, making a never-ending line of Andys.
Visiting Turkey just made me want to go farther east. It showed me yet again that cultures are beautiful no matter where they happen to be in the world. It was a completely foreign land to me, but the kind and jovial people there made it a fun learning experience. I'll return someday I know, maybe en route to a place farther in the East.
Here's my photo album from my week in Istanbul
About This Entry
You are reading "Istanbul: Where Europe Meets Asia", an entry posted on 10 December 2008 by Andy Steves.