Let’s Walk Home From Work pt. 1

You know what? It’s a nice day. Sort of. I mean, it’s overcast and kind of dreary, yeah, but at least it’s almost sort of warm. And I’m wearing sensible shoes for once. So why don’t we just walk home? Are you up for it? It’s kind of a long way- two hours, probably. But if you’re not doing anything…

Awesome! Let’s go!

Do you see that wooden house back there? Next to the car dealership?

Spooky, right? There are lots of those old buildings falling down all over Istanbul. Someone told me once that they were abandoned by the Greeks who left during the troubles in the ’50’s. There are kind of a lot of them in this neighborhood- here’s another-

which makes me wonder if- oh. Nope. I was wrong. Here’s an old Armenian church with a graveyard.

So, probably an Armenian neighborhood at one point.

Here’s a fancy headscarf ad.

I’m amazed at how many flowers are blooming in this city in mid-December.

Do need a five liter jar of pickled things?

Look! There’s a knife sharpener.

Oooh, lookie. There’s a lady-bug cake. Looks a little melted. I think it had a bad day. Those are a big thing in Istanbul. Apparently they’re really hard to find in other cities, but here they’re in every cake shop.

Parking is really bad in Istanbul. For some reason, even though public transportation is great, and traffic is really horrible, and parking is god-awful, and gas is unbelievably expensive, people really like to own cars here. I once read somewhere that if all the cars in Istanbul were on the road at the same time they would exceed the amount of road in Istanbul.

Anyway, elegant solution to the parking problem, someone’s just decided to park cars on the sidewalk.

Do you need crappy art?

Or a sad little Pinnochio?

Driers are pretty rare here, so almost every kuafor has a rack of towels drying out front. I worked in salons for almost ten years. I think that’s kind of funny.

Oh, here’s another graveyard.

This one is really old- you can tell by the tombstones. Turkey adopted a Latin alphabet in the ’20’s so these, with the Arabic writing, are from before that. Some of them are really gorgeously carved.

You know, I think when I get back from Christmas, I’m going to get a little kumquat plant. Do you think it would be all right on the regular porch? Or should I put it in the enclosed porch? You’re right. It’ll get more light in the enclosed porch, too.

File this under “Would Never Happen In America:” City employee prunes trees, doesn’t put up a safety barrier so branches don’t hit old men who are watching him. No one will clean this up for days, but that  would happen in America.

Even brand new Mosques look like they could have been built 400 years ago, so I think this one is pretty cool. Epcott Center Mosque.

Oh- here. We need to cross the street by the big red star. See what I mean about flowers? I wonder how many people Istanbul employs just to keep up with the turnover in the public flower beds.

Oh this is kind of cool. See on the left, that huge cemetary?

On the right are all the gravestone shops.

I think it’s really neat that people still hammer out the names with a chisel and mallet. I bet in the states it’s all lasers or whatever.

Oh, interesting. This might be the third time I’ve seen conclusive proof of Jewish life here.

And another graveyard.

This building is basically a shed. I think it holds electrical equipment and maybe guards can hang out there when they’re on break. I’ve just been noticing recently the trend to take nothing-little-structures like this and trompe-l’oeil them into rustic cottages. Cute.

Oh Lord, where are we? I swear I could get lost trying to find my way out of a paper bag. I have NO idea where we are right now. We’re somewhere between Altunizade and Kadikoy. Keep following the signs, I guess. We’ll get somewhere eventually.

Ohmygod LOOK! You can see the sky!!! It’s clearing up!

And there’s the Bosporus. Man, looking at the Bosporus never gets old.

Mad chillin.

See what I mean about the trompe l’oeil sheds? I think this one’s a pump house.

Oh my gosh. Perfect day for a walk after all. I’m so glad we did this.

Oh, here. We’re going to pass over the train yard at Haydarpasa. We’re almost in Kadikoy.

You know, I really love my apartment. And my roommate. And Goztepe. But there’s a lot I miss about Kadikoy. Like living near the water. If we had more time before dark, and if it weren’t another 45 minutes to home, I’d say let’s walk down to the iskelesi and see what’s going on. But we’ll save it for another day. Why don’t I own more practical walking shoes, again?

I love all the messed up scooters everywhere. How old is this thing? How many times do you think it’s been dropped? And it still looks awesome. Garbage bag seat and all.

Oh how lovely! Did you need hot pink or bright yellow support hose?

Are those old timey polio braces?!?!?!!!! Ortopedik shops are creepy.

And so are their mannequins.

Do you need a fish tank, or three?

Okay, see that?

See how the sidewalk just ends without warning on this incredibly crowded, dangerous road, a road that doesn’t even have a shoulder or a pedestrian crossing? Yeah. That’s been like that since I came to Istanbul.

I’m a big fan of how shops spill out onto sidewalks here.

I’m also a big fan of how there’s Big Old Stuff just randomly sprinkled in amongst a bunch of modern stuff.

Oh my god. I’ve always wanted a Craftmatic Adjustable Bed. And here’s one that looks like it has… pretensions of coolness. Or at least pretensions of not being entirely geriatric. SANTA!

Oh my goodness. That must just be the ugliest display of, um, dead hydrangea I think I’ve ever seen.

Another thing I like about here is the single-concept store. Instead of going to Target or the Giant when you need a new mop-head you can go to the store that only sells cleaning stuff.

Oh the light’s getting all nice now.

There’s a butcher shop.

And a lonely fruit cart.

Oh, here. This is interesting. Here’s a rubbish man.

They go all throughout the city, crying for rubbish, and people bring their old junk out. Looks like he has a haul of office furniture.

I’m amazed at how many jobs exist in Turkey. Like, four separate groups of people are involved in taking out my trash, not including me. I set the garbage outside the apartment door, and the Kapaci, or apartment super, takes it to the dumpster, 30 yards away, for me. Then the rubbish men might glean it for anything that can be repaired or sold, and then the gypsies come to sort out the recylables and anything of value, and then the actual garbage men come to take what’s left.

Oh, Christmas decorations! Christmas is kind of a big deal here, but the country’s less than 2% christian. and no one quite knows what it is. But they embrace it. When Lou was here in the summer we heard a man who’s cell phone ring was “Santa Claus is coming to Town.” This was in August. And on December 31st, everyone will exchange gifts and call it Christmas. Doesn’t that littlest tree look like the tree from the Charlie Brown Christmas special?

Do I still know where we are? Hmm. Follow the signs, I guess.

Lord, this is an unpleasant road to walk on.

Yick. A filthy little canal.

Oh look! Chickens! In a parking lot! That’s another thing I love about this city. You come across livestock in the most unexpected places.

See? Someone’s ready for Christmas.



Filed under Photos, Seeing Sights

3 responses to “Let’s Walk Home From Work pt. 1

  1. We should definitely do this more often.

  2. What a great selection of photographs of a casual walk through Istanbul. I visited the city for the first time last year, on my way to Bodrum, and spent 5 glorious days exploring. I can’t wait to return. You’ve captured some great random shots of the city – thanks.

    Looking forward to some more of these posts. I’m going to start following your blog through Networked Blogs on Facebook – I saw you weren’t registered on there, so added your blog. You can claim it as yours on their site. thanks, Jay

  3. Thanks, Roving Jay! I admit I’m hopeless at marketing, so thanks also for the add on Networked Blogs.

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