I’m heading back to Istanbul, twenty four years after our first encounter. How will I find it this time? Will it be as exciting as in the spring of 1990? Will I be as willing to embrace its charm?Now, as then, I am in a hurry, temporary visitor in a city that undoubtedly deserves more patience. The memories are fragmentary but vivid. The early morning arrival and the crescendo of activity fueled by a bright sunrise. The resigned mix of pedestrian and vehicular traffic that filled the narrow streets of the city center. The unquestioned hospitality of the shop keeps who regaled us with baklava and apple tea. The turkish currency, peacocking in extravagant colors. The Bosphorus, perpetually agitated silver, casting a light haze onto the gates of Asia. The housewives lined up along the waterfront deftly throwing plastic bags ballasted with coins into the fishermen’s bobbing boats. The fishermen unloading the coins, filling the bags with fish and throwing them back on shore, at the feet of the women.The elaborately decorated mosques. The imagery goes on and on. I am looking forward to being in its midst again. I am prepared to experience it more fully this time. And I’d like to have that lobster lunch that I could not afford back in 1990, in a small restaurant under the Galata bridge.
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