Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ain't no party like a Çukurcuma party

About an hour and a half ago, I heard an amplified voice broadcasting greetings from my living room. Or at least, that's what it sounded like. Turns out the neighbors are having a party. When I saw a few folks decked out in suits and cocktail-type dresses, I was hoping it would be a wedding or something else interesting to watch, but it seems to be just the standing-around-in-the-backyard kind of party. With very, very loud Turkish dance music.

Update: Now at least there's some dancing to go along with the dance music...

Friday, August 15, 2008

İstanbul'da kalmak istiyorum

While filling out my request for an absentee ballot (no way I'd miss any election, much less this one), I had to decide whether to classify myself as a U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S. "temporarily" or "indefinitely." Though it's just a damn form, it felt a little momentous choosing the later. With almost 7 months in Istanbul under my belt, even a year abroad is starting to seem like a very, very short time. I've met the major first goal I set for myself, completing a six-month series of language classes, and although my Turkish still needs a lot of improvement, I also need to move into phase two--seeing if I can find enough work to sustain myself here. Wouldn't want to have lied to the government, now would I?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Belly up

Sports bar, originally uploaded by mission75.

Lefty O'Doul's. The Bell in Hand. Pshaw. Youngsters. This is what a historic sports bar looks like. Part of the ruins of an inn on the outskirts of Ostia Antica, Rome's ancient port city, this room is decorated with mosaics of athletes on the floor. Since no self-respecting haven for weary travelers could be without a pub, and since buildings of the time were often decorated according to their function--the mosaics at the fishmongers' shop have a piscatorial theme, for example--I can only conclude that this was the spot to toss a few back and talk about last night's game. Or, er, gladiatorial match.

(Though it doesn't have the cachet of the Colosseum or the Vatican, I think Ostia Antica is an absolute can't-miss for any visitor to Rome. An easy metro ride out of the center, it's an extensive and well-preserved ancient city--some call it a "mini-Pompeii"--that you can explore in near solitude, really getting a sense of what life of the time might have been like.)

So, how 'bout them Centurions?