So. Robert has been gone about five years, now. It seemed a good time to come back to Istanbul.
I was thinking about this post while I was in Paris. The idea was that it was time to wrap up these memorial posts. There are only so many memories that you want to post to a blog, after all. It was during a trip to Turkey — to Istanbul, Izmir, and along the Mediterranean — that Robert and I made the shift from not serious to probably permanent. It seemed that this was a fitting place to put the dedicated blog posts to rest. My plan was to visit some favorite old places and find some favorite new ones. Time to transition.
Well, too true. I have just arrived. If my attention span holds, I’ll do a second post about what I see during my week here. I can tell already that this is not the Istanbul that I saw all those years ago. The city has grown exponentially. It is winter, so pollution is not an issue, but it is dirty. The crowding is much worse. The tourists are staying away. Those who are here are not spending much money. So far I am seeing many fewer shops that sell the metalwork, carpets and all that were such a magnet for me, and more sweets shops, of all things. Even the old standbys, like Mehmet Cetinkaya, are salting their exquisite offerings with scarves and the like.
The world has moved on, no question. So far I have no way to relate my planned farewell tour of Memory Lane to what I actually find. To get through a week in what used to be a beautiful, cosmopolitan city, I intend to affix the rose-colored glasses. I’ll talk to my friend Jennifer. She’ll know who is still doing good work. I’ll check Cornucopia to see what’s on at the galleries. And really, dervishes doing a turn at the cafes? I guess even Sufis have to eat.