Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in Istanbul

A Turkish breakfast -- boiled eggs, olives, honey and cream, village cheese, and copious amounts of tea and bread -- before perusing an exhibit of Saudi contemporary art. Then home to start cooking an English-style roast. A ham, of course, was pretty much out of the question in this mostly Muslim country. The weather was mild, the streets busy with Saturday strollers and shoppers. I watched birds circle over my apartment building and thought about my loved ones still asleep in the United States, presents resting under a six-foot tree, and those blanketed with snow in Europe.

A union group started a protest march in front of the neighborhood hospital, chanting loudly and blocking traffic. Just a couple of streets away, bereaved families gathered underneath the municipality-strung New Year’s lights on İstiklal Caddesi to demand justice, for the 300th time, for relatives who had disappeared while in police or military custody or been the victims of unsolved murders, a story we’d report the next day at the newspaper where I work.

As I walked home after leaving the office on Dec. 26, I noticed colorfully frosted cookies in the shape of snowmen and fir trees had appeared in the window of a local bakery – just in time for New Year’s.

This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had a very nice day. I hope your new year's is just a pleasant.

The Turkish Life said...

Thanks, Reverai. I was a bit melancholy, but it all turned out pretty nice in the end. Happy New Year to you too.

laradunston said...

Lovely post!

It sounds like we were staying quite close to where you worked when we were in Istanbul recently for Grantourismo - what a shame I hadn't discovered your blog while we were in town and we could have met up. Next time.

Thanks so much for entering our competition and best of luck!

The Turkish Life said...

Thanks, Lara! I sure hope you weren't actually staying near where I work -- it's a hopelessly awful part of the city, full of nothing but freeways and office buildings. More likely you were near where I get on and off the bus from home ;)

I'm sorry I didn't discover you guys until you had finished up the Istanbul portion of your trip as well! İyi yolcuklar ve görüşmek uzere inşallah! (Safe travels and hope to meet someday.)

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