Istiklal Caddesi

I sit down on the balcony of my new home and gaze upon the view of this powerful city I now am a part of.
The sound of frightened barking dogs who never knew domestication, the constant echo of ringing police sirens shouting in unfamiliar tones, literally thousands of buildings right next to, and even on top of each other. The tight proximity of these structures reminds me of a failed game of Tetris, yet it is far from a failure. They just remain still. Circulating on top of this immense view are hundreds of flapping seagulls seemingly looking for something. My guess would be food. The sound of traffic is distinguishable and every once in a while the loud sound of an engine, probably a truck, has me guessing if it is not actually driving through the living room. A man is shouting something in Turkish through a megaphone, I can not make out the words but I can tell he is passionate about his message. Boats in all sizes, ferries, trawlers, sight-seeing boats and even smaller ones keep going back and forth from Europe to Asia and straight out into the Marmara Sea.

Today I managed to get my SIM card running, meaning I can now be reached on a Turkish phone number, 0090 536 524 8605. I walked down Itiklal Caddesi and talked to a salesman in one of the Turkcell stores. He helped me and told me he worked 12 hours a day making 400 dollars a month. I was not going to say anything but as he prompted to ask me what his Swedish equivalences are making I replied around 1400 Euros a month. He laughed, told his colleague and shook his head. He was helpful so I promised to go back there every time I need a refill. I went on making a pretty huge cash withdrawal in order to pay the landlord, this made me nervous at first but i managed to blend in to the crowd and kept on walking down Istiklal Caddesi. On my way I decided to walk down the entire boulevard and did so until it got split into two smaller roads. On my way back two things caught my eye. The first was the Swedish consulate, a large enclosed area with the characteristic three crones symbol marked the spot. The second took more investigation. From the street perspective I just noticed that there was a gate and above it the virgin Mary sat in her traditional pose, innocent eyes and a tilted head. I went in and was amazed by the large church that could be found inside. It was the St. Antonio di Padova church, originally an Italian church built 1725 but later on demolished and replace with the current building. The latter was built in the beginning of the 20th century. I approached it with caution and respect, a posture I always try to keep when visiting place of worship, regardless of what religion it might belong to. From the look of the people going in and out I could quickly tell that it was open for the public. The signs in Turkish prohibiting food, taking pictures, talking or even praying while walking (?!) also indicated that it was an open church. To my disappointment people did not seem to respect this when entering it. I saw flashes, heard a constant mumble while some actually tried to pray. Regardlessly it was a pleasant experience. When I went out on the yard I realized that I did not know the name of the church. I looked around and saw an old woman sitting down by a pillar, holding prayer beeds and wearing a peculiar head covering. I decided to ask her, and I did it in Turkish.

- ”Excuse me, would you by any chance know the name of this church?”
- ”Yes indeed I do. It’s the Catholic church of St.Antonio Padova. Where are you from?” the woman replied with newly found enthusiasm and looked upon me kindly.
- ”Sweden.” I said, smiling at her.
She looked a bit puzzled and went on asking;
- ”Are you catholic?”
I shook my head, still smiling and she asked again;
- ”Muslim?”
- ”Yes, I guess I am.” I replied and shrugged my shoulders in an attempt to convey the complexity of that question. It did not seem to take so I continued;
- ”In my eyes, God is God and the rest is peripheral.”
Her face lit up with joy and I could see that we shared that moment in a peaceful understanding. After telling me that she loved all the prophets I politely thanked her, wished her a good day and went back to Cihangir.

After eating a sandwich at home I felt exhausted and surrendered to a couple of hours of sleep. After waking up I remembered doing so when being in Alanya (SE Turkey) as well. Is it the heat? I do not know but now I feel better than ever, ready to go out and pick up a döner kebab. Until next time!

Postat av: Damla

Ya roman okumak gibi Benjamin...cok güzel yaziyorsun devam et...kimbilir belki bu seyahatinde bi kitap olur bigün ne dersin? ;) Kendine iyi bak!

2009-05-19 @ 20:44:44
Postat av: Anonym

Det känns som att jag sitter i ditt bibliotek och läser dina böcker...jag lovar att städa undan efter mig :) ser framemot nästa inlägg. man hör verkligen din röst när man läser....Puss hjärtat. Älskar dig!

2009-05-19 @ 21:11:00

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