• People,  Places

    what’s next, turkey?

    Yesterday people of all sorts gathered to continue the celebration of a victory in Taksim Square and Gezi Park. Left-wing, right-wing, liberal, conservative, nationalist, socialist … you name them. There was a constant flow of Turkish citizens of every age, ethnicity and subculture. There are banners with socialist slogans, nationalist slogans flying next to the rainbow GLBT flags everywhere. People pose to have their pictures taken on burned-out police cars and buses, while some diligent protestors sweep up the rubble and debris nearby. Some of it is theirs, some of it the police’s. However, this feels like a major victory for peaceful protestors who were violently abused by their police force and government (see previous post). It’s a strange victory, though, because it’s not being acknowledged as a defeat by the man and he government they took on. What started as a minor protest for a small park has rolled…

  • Places


    There are better pictures. There are more insightful commentaries. The reason I’m posting this is that, today, I witnessed firsthand brutality against people who did nothing more than hurl insults at their government. The following is from my small perspective — but, I saw perfectly clearly before the tear gas canisters fired down over my head — there were no Molotov cocktails, no rocks, there was no looting, danger to the general public or private property, or even to the police who were ordered to the street. Shopkeepers were mostly supportive of the protestors. The only immediate danger was to a small group of people and innocent bystanders, for sticking their necks out against a narrow-minded, secluded group of individuals who seem to think that 57% approval justifies a violent crackdown on any kind of dissent. This is not about Islam versus secularism. This is not about ideology. This is…

  • Places

    so long, çıralı

    Last day at the seaside. Last day of plucking mulberries from the trees. Last day of squawking back at the peacocks, of you asking, “What’s that?” To which I answer, “Dinosaurs.” It might take a couple of days, but I guess we all have to return to reality sooner or later.  Some of us have school to finish, including an end of year show. Others have jobs to return to. Paradise doesn’t come free. At least not yet. Here are a few glimpses that I hope will stir happy memories in the years to come.

  • Places

    morning light

    We’re taking a few days to go back to the source of much happiness. The Mediterranean Sea, stone and sunlight called to us in the early days before you were born, Sof. In fact it was the site of our first vacation. There are few spots more dreamlike, and now you too have fallen under its spell. The primeval call of peacocks rings in the trees. Orange trees shade us from the midday Sun. Salads so rich in flavour you can see that vegetables do more than add colour to the plate. But best of all mornings so suffused in light you feel you’re awakening to the true promise of the universe. I hope you’ll bring your children to paradise too, Sof.

  • Places

    çukurcuma colour

    The cat’s expression at the top of this post says it all. It’s been a while, so I’m trying to get back in the swing of things by tramping around Çukurcuma, peering up, down, backwards and sideways as well as into windows to reignite my creative spark. Not much luck, today, I’m afraid. I’ve retreated to Holy Coffee to see if some java can reignite my curiosity. Some days you just have to trust that Istanbul is keeping her real treasures curtained for a purpose that is beyond your ken. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. That, and the day’s, not over, right?

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    garden of earthly delights: asma yaprağı

    Down a village alley, pumpkins stacked in a barrow. With bowed heads the wayfarers pass through the gate. They raise their faces to the shelter of a fig tree swelling with fruit which filters the last hot light of a dying day. The crunch of white gravel underfoot, the skitter of stones. A cat watches, superior, slanty-eyed from its vantage up on the surrounding stone walls. Blue chairs, baby tubs bursting with pink flowers. Candles being lit. They are greeted by a woman in black, her face as warm as the late day sun. Platters crowd the long table. Gleaming white counters. Pots hanging from hooks. A village woman works the stove. Another stands just back waiting to plate the wayfarer’s food. The day’s menu is displayed, artichokes with lentils, nettle salad, marinated beets, minced meat in vine leaves, stuffed courgette flowers … everything crisp, and vibrant as if the…

  • Places

    the fish auction

    Saturday morning. The sun burns white above, bleaches the earth below white. A man with a resplendent white moustache and an immaculately pressed shirt weighs and sorts piles of fresh catch under a covered structure. On the long glistening marble table hundreds of fish of numerous shapes and hues, lobsters, prawns, shimmer in numbered lots. Craggy faced men, and sunglass-wearing women crowd around the table and ready themselves for the first bid. Mustafa Kemal’s steely blue eyes overlook the gathering from a large wall hanging. It’s 11:00 AM. The man in the striped shirt, the auctioneer, now holds a metre stick with which taps the table immediately below his nose. The first bid is for over 100 TL for a pile of fish. It being the weekend, a woman who runs one of the local restaurants or hotels motions and no one challenges. The fish are immediately bagged and the sale…

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    the right wake up call

    I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who looks forward to breakfast before I’ve started my supper. And for me the acid test of any hotel is its breakfast. Now I’ve had some pretty fine breakfasts in Alaçatı, but the last two mornings have been so good that I’m not sure I’m ever going to want to stay anywhere else. That’s if I can still get a reservation. Top marks to Morro. Think farm fresh eggs. An array of homemade jams. Tapenade and spicy pastes. Like cheese? Let’s just say, wow for now. Nutty good gevrek — what we less well fed Istanbullu call simit — all washed down with some black coffee. I’m seriously considering migration.

  • Places

    out of the city and into the blue

    White washed walls bright as heaven. Air clean enough to drink in gulps. Slow midday streets. Olives glistening like jewels. The sky a deep kind of blue that the winter made you forget … I’m seriously busy escaping an Istanbul kind of mood for an Aegean kind of feelin’. More later on life with a different kind of texture.

  • Places

    where the hell am I?

    It’s Friday but unfortunately not in a TGIF kind of way. This is one of those posts where I want to say that I have more to say but haven’t yet found the way to say it … understand? I knew you would. There’s too much to do and I feel like I haven’t done enough lately. I’m itching to get back to some serious blogging with more stories, opinions and photos headed your way soon. The sun is out and today’s a great day to scour the streets. Promise I won’t be sitting down much … if at all until this evening. Feel free to send me suggestions drop me a line in the comments below or on the Facebook page. And if you just want photos without my rambling, check out the page on Tumblr: myphilosofia.tumblr.com — okay? You might even be able to guess which shots are…