After eight months of hibernation, pressure from adoring fans has become too much to handle and I've been forced to reopen my blog. Alert readers may notice that there have been some changes around here- really only two, actually, which I'll quickly explain by way of reintroduction and then forget about.
1: The picture at the top there. Nice, isn't it? I lifted it from someone's Flickr, a guy called Caner apparently, who (unlike me) both has a camera and knows something about photography. His caption says it's taken from Edirnekapı. I've never been there, but GoogleMaps places it just across the Golden Horn in Sultanahmet and I guess now I sort of have to go to justify having this as my header.
2: The title. Once again thieved, but this time from a much more reputable source- Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's best-selling author and first Nobel winner. I have a tendency to underline things in books, and I liked this line in Benim Adım Kırmızı:
Işıklar içinde yaşayıp giderdim, iki karanlık zamanın arasında.
Which means: I would go living in lights, between two dark times. It's on the first page of the first chapter, so I didn't yet have a chance to get tangled up in the plot and the Turkish and all of that; unlike some of the other lines I've marked, I'm actually quite sure of the context of this one. It's a dead guy talking- he just got murdered and dumped in a well, now he's reflecting on life.
[Have one more O.P. quote for good measure. I'm circling and starring things like mad in this book, and I sincerely hope it's all as poetic to native Turkish speakers as it is to me.
Ama aşk, o ara, İstanbul'a ilk girdiğimde, şehirdeki hatıralarım kadar uzak ve unutulmuş bir şeydi.
But love, in that time, on my first entrance to Istanbul, was as distant and forgotten a thing as my memories in the city.]
Oh, one more thing, I guess:
2.5: The title of this entry is, as every schoolboy knows, the name of a somewhat annoying song by They Might Be Giants, and is found in every single Turkey-related blog on the entire Internet. (I thought I should get my reference out of the way early). Surprisingly- or not?- the residents of Istanbul love this song, and on any given night you will hear it playing at full volume at least once, whether you're in a bar or walking down the street or just sitting in the office trying to get some work done for the love of god. Luxus does a good version of it, though. Also, it's stuck in my head now.
Anyway. Istanbul is a very big city, and I have a tendency to refer to parts of it offhand as though someone who doesn't live here has any reason to know where Üsküdar is any more than I have a reason to know where Dorchester is in Boston. Still, the unique geography of the city- that is, the fact that the central part is on both sides of the Bosphorus, one side European and the other Asian, and that the European part is further divided by the Golden Horn- means that it takes a lot of explaining to get across where anything actually is. Being a fan of concision and laziness, I'm going to supply you with a map for future reference.
Roughly speaking, the pink is Beyoğlu (where I work) and the red is Sultanahmet (where most of the historical monuments and things are), both on the European side, and the part colored in purple is the Golden Horn, a little armlet of the Bosphorus which separates them. On the other side are Üsküdar and Kadıköy, in green, Asian side, where a lot of people live to take advantage of the cheaper cost of living and the awesome ferry ride to work in Europe every morning.
That's a pretty typical view from the ferry at sunset, so you can hardly blame them. (Sadly no photo credit to me there either; that one's by Atilla1000).
Although this post is still content-free for the most part, it's the best I can do on a lazy Sunday afternoon with the temperature hovering around 95 degrees. Stories, facts, history, and all kinds of wonderful things (hopefully) to follow!