It’s getting warmer and lovelier and flowerier here in Istanbul, and so much less conducive to sitting with a laptop reading whole articles and so much more conducive to daydreaming about having a bright yellow scooter to match the forsythia. Which reminds me- did I ever tell you about my grandmother and the forsythia bush? We had a forsythia on the side lawn that she spent my whole childhood doing great and terrible battle with. Every other spring or so she’d start grumbling about it, and one day I’d come home from school to find she’d have spent all day hacking it down into a stump. Of course, you can’t kill forsythia so easily, and within a week there’d be a half dozen cheery yellow shoots sticking out, which I believe she took to be a great “Fuck You” from the bush. I don’t know why she didn’t just have the stump removed. I think she enjoyed hating it.
Speaking of nana, she sent me an e-mail this week, subject line, “Good Morning Istanbut!” Every morning when I go out onto the porch with my coffee and my bowl of yogurt I say, “Good morning, Istanbutt!” and giggle a little. I kind of want to change the name of my blog now. Thoughts?
Without further ado about nothing: Links!
I know some people don’t care for him, but I love Kurt Vonnegut, especially his essays. I love his brand of dry, common sense humanism. I love how he sees the world. I loved A Man Without a Country, and I love this collection of interviews with him.
Kurt gives good writing advice, and so does this guy. Thanks to Paul for sending this my way! It might be the best, funniest, truest piece of advice to writers I’ve read.
Apropos of nothing, this is a cool wind map of the US. Mesmerizing.
And these are pictures of the world’s largest mechanical elephant. So cool!
This article on how to eat in Istanbul on a student budget made me roll my eyes. Restaurants? On a backpackers budget? Seriously? The least you pay in a restaurant is, like, ten lira. STREET FOOD, Istanbul Eats. STREET FOOD. Not everyone has a trust fund. Cig Kofte durum and an ayran is healthy, filling, and clocks in at three lira at the joint up the street from my house. Tavuk doner, a huge grilled chicken sandwich, is two lira by the Iskelesi. Peynirli simit (simit and cheese) is a reasonably filling breakfast a/o lunch and it’s 1.50 at any simit vendor’s cart. Two if you throw in a bottle of water. Restaurants. Good lord.
This just made me sad. I love the crowded, unpassable streets in Beyoglu. On a Saturday evening it’s so lovely to park yourself outside one of the restaurants, and drink beer with your date, and just watch people flow by. Okay, so it’s a huge fire hazard and public safety issue but c’mon, Istanbul. Your whole city is kind of a death trap, between the sidewalks and the dolmuses and the traffic and all the ways around building codes and the general lack of safety precautions and the impending earthquake. Where’s the fun in being able to let firetrucks through? Bring back the illegal outdoor seating!
Here’s a sad article about proving you’re gay in the Turkish Army.
A long time ago at a different school I had a real shit of a student, pardon my french. Did’t want to learn English. Was constantly working to make sure I couldn’t possibly misunderstand how little she wanted to learn English. Super spoiled. She kept insisting she was Ottoman, and I kept insisting that the Ottomans are dead, sweetheart. Or, My, you look very well for your age. Turns out I was mistaken. The last Ottoman just died. My apologies.
And that’s that. Now get off the computer and go outside!