Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

London to Istanbul: the in-flight movie is some flick with Tim Allen and John Travolta (called “Wild Hogs” -?) with crude jokes and homosexual innuendo. I think: “Great. This is what we’re exporting to Turkey? No wonder relations are strained*.”

(*Sidenote: A Pew Global Attitudes Report finds the U.S. has only a 12% approval rating in Turkey)

I considered removing the “Couch-hopping” tag from these posts and putting them simply under “Travel” (as I’m not technically staying with anyone I know in Turkey) but then on the plane my mom and I befriend a woman (“Hi Barbara!”) who’s husband is stationed on the Asian side of Istanbul. And, she’s invited us to stay with her on the tail end of our trip if we decide we’d like a “few more days to explore Istanbul” (I was complaining because we only get two days.) So there the tag stays.

At first blush, the airport felt like LAX. With the modern highways, lights, and warm humid weather, Icould have been arriving in L.A. But then there’d be a… castle. Old crumbling wall from… the Ottoman Empire. Next to a plastic jungle gym with flood lights.

I wanted to listen to traditional Turkish tunes as I drove into the city (you know, to set the “mood,”) but the taxi driver turned on unrecognizable pop musak, and then came “Milkshake, its old Arabic flutes perversely mixing with modern American skank — it all felt somehow appropriate.

This is why I love visiting ancient cities — they are, of course, ancient no longer, but instead a titillating mix of Here and Then; anywhere is, really, but o! to feel the Now of these cities so much richer for the deepness of their Then.

§323 · June 6, 2007 · Couch-hop, Location-Location · · [Print]

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