Thursday, July 31, 2008
A few thousand words
... is what I am supposed to produce within midnight today. I'm still short by about half.
Meantime, on Kaushik's suggestion, here's the equivalent of a few thousand -
Cafe by the Bosphorus in Ortakoy.
Lazy Sunday morning.
The Hagia Sophia dome. Built as a basilica in the 6th century, converted into a mosque by Sultan Mehmet 900 years later (nine HUNDRED years, and that's nearly 700 years ago!), now a museum.
Lese majeste. Peeping into the bathing chambers of the Queen in the seraglio of the Topkapi Palace. (If you've seen me you know I do not have blonde hair)
Oh, and the women - we were told it was actually like a prestigious finishing school for the daughters of the nobility. I'll wager there were SOME courses you wouldn't find at Vassar. And I'm not thinking just Belly Dancing 101 either.
Nargileh on sale in the Spice Bazaar by the Golden Horn. I wish I could have brought one back to set beside my rocking chair, but even if I can get omburi tamaak from Chitpur, who on earth is going to set it up and get it going for me every evening? Besides, while it goes very well with raqi (the local aniseed liquour), it may not gel with vodka & tonic.
Against the afternoon sun, a minaret of the Blue Mosque looks anything but blue. A moment of magic ... As we entered the mosque, the muezzin struck up his azaan. More melodious than anything I've heard in India. And from the Hagia Sophia across the road came an echo from the muezzin there. For a quarter of an hour, like our musical sawaal jawaab, they kept us entranced. (I should learn how to post a video clip)
A tray of mezze. According to my friend T*, only the tourists ask for the menu. The locals (and the coolios) ask to see the tray and pick up what they want. I did. And was happy. Pastermi for the main course. Very good, but can't post the picture of that one. If I showed you I'd have to kill you and all that sort of thing.
Most wonderful honey-sweet melons for dessert. (They kept that extra helping in reserve for me, I suspect.)
I already posted the view from my balcony? Did I mention that it's rather wonderful at night too?
Comments invited, I do so want to be a photographer when I grow up ...
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Get a fix ...
... on a theme for a 3500 word article on "India - the land and the people". Any ideas?
Please, folks. Comment, mail, call even. This is desperate. (How I hate deadlines.)
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Stamboul ramboul (last Monday)
You know, I HATE a lot of things about the Brits. Especially the Victorian Brits, the ones who were oh-so-cool and WE-run-the-world-dincherknow, the kind who went to
Two days. Two bloody days before they get around to telling me oh, we DO so have wi-fi, what WERE you thinking of ha ha ha (tinkling laughter that makes me want to suture their tonsils to their earlobes), of COURSE you can have it but we will charge you approximately as much as Donald Trump pays for each of his divorces. So here I am, typing away at the keyboard so that I can get-connected-log-on-and-upload-mail like Speedy Gonzales hitting a line of willing chicas.
The first full day here was rather nice. A café in Ortakoy beside the Bosphorus, under a bridge that links two continents. Sun glinting bright on blue water, sailboats, villas, gay umbrellas, a band tuning up. Great ships steaming under the bridge, wind whipping the wave-caps white and mad, woods on the far shore alternately green and dark.
Sunday coffee. In
Then on to the Hagia Sofia and then the
An upgrade at the Hilton, so not only do I have a room with a glass wall facing the Bosphorus, I also have a nice wide verandah where I can sip my sundowner and draw on my cigarillo as the sun descends.
A weather-worn tanker lets out a low moan, sedately easing down the tide from the
Not that I have cause for complaint. A flotilla of peach and grey cloudlets sweeps south across an egg-shell sky. The horizon hills dip and rise behind the white and red-tile sprawl of the Asian half of
Half past eight, and Stamboul slips towards the night.
Monday, July 14, 2008
It’s been so long. His feet seem far away, at the other end of a transcontinental phone line. He has to wait each time he tries to take a step, has to make sure he’s getting through, that he hasn’t been cut off, marooned here atop the mass of his body while his feet wait at the other end of a line gone dead. He tries again and with the sudden fear of falling, his hands fly out for balance.
The first step is not the hardest. It’s the ones that come after.
He wills himself to keep moving. Damn it all, it’s just too MUCH. Come one, FEET – do your thing. No, I’m not the one goofing off here, YOU are the ones who … what’s that? Yeah right, I know WHERE the buck stops. Now shut up and walk. Or I’ll … cut you off from your inheritance? Whatever. Just DO it.
The momentum picks up. Balance – still uncertain. Direction – erratic. Speed – uneven, but who the hell cares, dammit, we’re back in business again, we’re MOVING. Don’t cut the amp, boys, Elvis has NOT left the building.
He keeps walking. Staggers, recovers. Grins. Hits “Publish Post”.
Right, then, this show is back on the road.