June 29th - 30th
as transcribed from my journal
We left Seattle on Tuesday morning wedged into Delta airlines. Sat beside a Turkish student who had been at UW and was now returning home. Plane circled JFK airport a while--thunderstorms. Late.
Ran for plane to Istanbul, then sat at the gate a long time then sat out on the runway a long time, rain periodically pouring down the window beside me. Finally took off--gorgeous clouds over the Atlantic, then it was just enduring the lack of ability to move. Watched A Civil Action as best I could with the lousy sound and the usual plane interruptions. Dozed. Read Michaela Roessner's The Stars Dispose.
Arrived an hour or so late, because of the delays at JFK. Got Jim's $45 visa sticker (Canadians don't need one--but the guy teased me when I asked him just to confirm, saying "$1,000 for you") then we went through passport control (a short lineup), then walked out through customs. Christina was there waiting. This is about the fifth airport I've come out of a plane to find her waiting there for me (Gatwick, Heathrow, Toronto, DC). Guy with machine gun outside the door. Christina had the taxi driver who had brought her to the airport waiting, but he'd had to move his taxi so we stood outside while he got it, then drove out to Christina's friend Marsha's apartment, in a lovely area of the city along the Bosphorus. Treed, tall narrow houses. Silly tiny fluffy marmalade cat name Molly Minouche. ("What did you see in Istanbul, Neile?" "Well, this pretty little cat named Molly.")
Sat and had cold drinks that Christina's husband Matt got for us across the street. I barely understood the importance of cold drinks on that first day, but was grateful even then. Istanbul seemed hot and muggy to us coming from Seattle.
I was very sleepy the rest of the day--not good for much, frequently closing my eyes and drifting a while.
When we were tired of sitting (or rather Christina and Matt were tired of us just sitting) we got a dolmus (bus) across the street and got out at Istinye to look for shoes for Jim--no go. Changed money. Got a taxi to Rumeli Hisar (not sure this spelling is right--it's one of the castles along the old city walls) but it was closed. Had teas and not such great food (unusual in Turkey), and Jim went to ogle the bathroom, which were the squatting kind and was charged 50 bin (50,000 lire) for looking, which the waiter paid. This incident was odd and confusing, especially in my jetlagged state. Stuffed myself with bread, butter, and honey--they tasted so fresh and delicious.
Walked a while, looking at the icy dark blue water and the many swimmers (all men and many kids) and how quickly the water seems to be running and all the interesting ships (and some huge) but as soon as I said I wanted to move over to walk in the shade, Christina and Matt insisted on getting another taxi to the ferry landing we were heading for at Bebek. At the landing, a old man volunteered to take us in the boat back to Yenikoy for 10,000 lire, but we went and hand more cold drinks, then caught the ferry up and across the Bosphorus--several stops (Anadalu, Kahlica). Lovely on the water, drifting into sleep occasionally. Landed on the Asian side, but on concrete--didn't touch Asian soil, though I idly thought about it as we trundled along--and piled into another taxi, heading north along the coastal road to the ferry at Bycoz, right opposite Yenikoy--and took that across.
| ||Riding on a small, open passenger ferry across the Bosphorus, with the towers of the old city wall and one of the new bridges visible.
|How I spent much of the lovely ferry trip, despite my best intentions. [Christina's caption: "Neile is excited to get her first glimpse of Asia."]
Stopped at Manab and got lots of fruit and came back to Marsha's where Christina warred with the cat and I longed to pet her. Managed to stay up till 10 to 8--it was a struggle. Slept through the night mostly--waking up occasionally. Christina was up at 2:00. Woke up to hear the muezzins calling the faithful to prayer at 5:30 am but dozed back off again.
Les Semaines Index § Turkey - 99.07.01
9637 people have travelled to Turkey with me