But then I go walking and it is like a beautiful painted canvas drops down behind me and I am in another world again.
Yesterday was one of those days.
All I did was go to the Grand Bazaar but there is something about the smell of summer, naphthalene, rose water, lemon soap, nuts, dried fruits and cardamon that seems to settle my soul immediately. If I am honest, the smell actually takes me back to Damascus ( of old) rather than Istanbul. But even here it gives me that wonderful sense of being truly alive and I will miss my glorious, wretched city when I leave her.
I went to have lunch with a woman I know from the American Embassy and a carpet seller called Omer. He was a sleek, grey fox with immaculate clothes and a nose to be admired. She also took me to a jewellery shop where she knows the owner and said he could offer me a really good price on rubies and emeralds. Ah, the only precious jewels I can afford in my life are furry and claw-y but it was nice to think she thought I might be able to afford them. Better than always being regarded upon as a peasant which is the way most English teachers are ( rightfully) seen. After I left her I took my usual stroll down the backstreets towards the water's edge. I crossed the Galata Bridge, wincing as the fishermen wielded their hooks around like lassos, and then took the meandering shop-ridden hill back up to Istiklal. There were lots of tourists about and I envied their fresh-faced gawping and excitement when they see a Turkish ice-cream seller ring his bell. But I also liked my own feeling of being more settled. Of knowing my way about and where to go and still be able to flip a beat when I gaze at the magnificent Bosporus or Suleiman's Mosque.