And just like that it’s Thursday again. Sorry it’s been so long since we talked. I don’t have a good excuse, I just fell into a fun hole on my birthday that I’m just now pulling myself out of in the harsh fluorescent light of the teachers lounge. Did that make any sense? Probably not. I’m very tired.
Anyhoo, today’s TWiL is brought to you by yesterday’s bit of fun. In the late afternoon I hopped on a boat to Taksim where I tramped up and down Istiklal Cd looking desperately for a street that I had put on the entirely wrong side on my hand-drawn map. (When friends come to visit they inevitably, within hours of arrival, take charge of navigating our way through a city I’ve now lived in for over a year and a half. This is why.) Along the way I felt a hand brush my bottom, but Istiklal is always, always very crowded, (a million people walk down it every day!) and it’s impossible to get very far without getting jostled, so I paid it no attention until I felt a hand brush not my bottom but really my butt crack, which struck me as odd. I turned around and glared at a tall fella wearing a blue Lacoste shirt. He looked mildly apologetic, so I kept tramping down the street, getting crankier and crankier with my hand drawn map and having to pee more and more urgently and I felt a hand on my bottom again and there was sweat dripping down my back it was so hot, and I turned around and flipped my sunglasses up on my forehead so Mr. Lacoste could really see how very angry I was at him and I said “get the fuck away from me. Now.” He looked apologetic again and held his hands out helplessly. I turned on my heel and stalked down the road, wondering if the name of the road had been changed? I mean, that would be a very Turkish municipal trick, really, to just up and change the street names without warning and THERE was the HAND on my ASS, AGAIN. I whirled around and slapped him and hissed “if I see your face again I will call the Polis? You understand? POLIS.” He retreated a few feet and waited for me to walk on. I folded my arms and stared him down. He shrugged, like, “What am I to do?” I tapped my foot. He showed no sign of moving on so I pulled out my book in a gesture of, “I can stand here all day, buddy.” He got the message and walked in the opposite direction. I waited til he was well and truly gone and then asked the helpful nearby roasted chestnut vendor where the effing eff this street was, and he set me straight. I’d walked by it three times.
A girl I met later got frottaged on a bus at roughly the same time, so I think summer has officially arrived in Istanbul.
Anyway, once on the proper street, I found the coffee shop easily and went in and introduced myself to some really truly lovely folks. Everyone gave a three-fold introduction- name, twitter i.d., and blog name and we chit-chatted about everything from Turkish culture to childcare to the Happy Mondays and it was one of the pleasanter afternoons I’ve spent. Thanks, all of you, for including me and for being awesome and interesting. And readers, sorry you couldn’t join us but below please find a taste of what you missed.
Meg has lots of thoughts about being knocked up abroad, and travelling with kids. She also has a very very charming kid.
The couple behind Turkey’s For Life are just as warm and lovely as they come across in their blog, and also really, really funny. (No, you cannot trim a cat as you would a bonsai.)
Joy was a delight to talk to. And Baltimore cred alert, she used to work with Cindy Wolf, so read her awesome cooking blog.
Norbert, who does not, for the record, know Jennifer Lopez, is a super smart architecture nerd/world traveller. I learned a bunch from him in half an hour, and I’m really looking forward to reading about his upcoming adventures. Very cool stuff.
Anil was the guy who brought the meetup together, so thanks, bud! I also feel a real kinship with him because I think his sense of direction is almost as good as mine. His blog has lots and lots of very practical solutions for world travellers, so if any of you are thinking about going walkabout, definitely check it out.
Unfortunately, I was never sitting very close to The Wandering Earl, which is a shame because I bet he has tons of good stories. Fortunately, he has a blog, so I get to at least read about some of them.
I also wish I’d gotten to talk more to Jen, who has a really great blog about living in Istanbul that you should check out right now.
If I missed anyone, I am terribly sorry, (or you’re welcome, maybe?) I’m operating on, like, one cylinder today. Holler at me and I’ll correct it. The rest of you, have a great week.