the 4th Monday

June 24, 2013

St Jean Baptiste in Quebec today… bonne fete…




I spent another late, late night. I can claim that I was in my room before 5 AM… Yes, the life of Istanbul has taken a hold of me. A city with endless days, endless nights…


I have taken to going into this Lavazza cafe right across from the Galata Tower. For Italian espresso, the best I found so far. I’ve been there almost every day. They know me, know what I drink… double espresso… and they are all smiles when I show up. I’ve become a regular. I wrote there for a while, then went back up on Istiklal and bought a 100 grams of lokums… (Turkish delight) I totally love them! I stopped at the local market, right across from the apartment building, farmers set up and sell vegetables, fruits on Sundays at a really good price. I still feel somewhat intimidated when dealing with the locals. Being the yabanci that I am (foreigner) They see me coming from a mile away. The tattoo is also quite a bit of a thing here. Everyone stares at it with more or less boldness, It does separate me from the rest. My poor Turkish too make me nervous as I just know enough not to really understand what is being said. I got figs, cherries, peaches, some greenery, and went back to the apartment, climbing the 5 high ceilinged stories of steps to our door.


I head back out again. I told Bartin that I’d have a surprise for him. I wanted to buy him one of those plug in mosquito killing devices… I solved my problem in my room by putting a screen in the window. He is eaten alive at the hostel and I had this idea of buying him the device so he could sleep better.


I went to the local Dia grocery store. I looke everywhere but do not find the device… I ask the cashier


“Ingilizce biliyor musun?”


She gestures at me and grimaces apologetically.




“Sivrisinek” (mosquito) … then I make the gesture of cutting my neck with my right hand…


She processes for a second and answers something containing sivrisinek and I answer




She takes me down the isle and shows me the bug killing gizmos shelves.


I see something that looks like what I am searching for, grab it and pay. I will be able to give my surprise!


I text Bartin writing : I have your suprise, do you have a minute?


He does.


He head out once again, up Omer Hayyam and make my way to the Chill Out. It feels good to be giving something. Make someone smile. He laughs when he sees what it is. A useful surprise that is.


We hang out for a while. And then to my delight a girl I had met a few weeks ago at the hostel but lost contact, showed up.


She is Iranian. A beautiful woman. She is on quite an adventure herself. She is a business woman but also a belly dancer. In her country it is not acceptable to dance. She says you are considered to be a prostitute… Here she can dance. She says she’s had some tough weeks, finding herself out of the accommodations she was occupying and out of a job. I realize that she is also on a spiritual journey. Come to think of it, aren’t we all? Behind the excuses of material life, it seems we are all searching for a Truth we know exist but cannot quite believe, find or access…


We go out to eat a bite. She has blond hair and is quite stunning. When we walk in the restaurant all men turn to look at her, smile a her, offer her free tea…


“They are all after something else… “ she says.


It’s almost comical to see how they are bent out of shape, how everyone else in the vicinity disappears as they gaze at her. We start to chat. Quickly, we are into spiritual realms. A fellow on a quest. I tell her a few things. She says:


“My friend told me the same thing today… it must be a sign… Thank you.. . Thank you…”


It feels good to talk to another woman. I have been amazed at how few women I see around or can exchange with… Where are they all? My 6 room mates are men, my new friends are all men… The female energy feels good.


We finish our sandwiches and head back to the Chill Out. There another Iranian girl who walks in. She is an actress in Paris and is a friend to my friend the dancer, her name is Mina. The dancer tells Mina about my singing. She had heard me sing one night at the hostel.


Mina turned her beautiful gaze to me and demanded:




This is the second time in two weeks that I am requested such a thing and I freeze up. At this very moment I don’t even know how to produce a sound. I give excuses of not having the guitar…


“I don’t care about the guitar! Sing!”


So I do. A bit quietly. The dancer says:


“this is not the voice you had… you were singing stronger…”


So I gathered my energies and entered the realm and sang. Mina’s eyes grew wide. She is beautiful. An outwardly shining star, … like all of us really… but actors do have a way to glow so to capture your soul.


I wish I had my guitar. I should walk around carrying that instead of the computer… I should take to write in notebooks…


The receptionist stops the radio, everyone stops what they are doing and they listen. It’s a special moment. It comes. It passes.


After that, the dancer showed us a video of her performing. We watched her, bold, powerful, magnificent. Woman. It is wondrous. Her power is astounding.



They talk about being women in Iran. Mina talks about her admiration for these women who look all cute and pretty and proper but have hearts of lions under the scarves and the long dark coverings. I weigh my upbringing, my chance, my luck… they are lionesses in this man’s world, one acting, the other dancing… When one thinks of that, it is pretty sobering. And it makes it even more of a duty for all free women to exist and act on their own free terms. We have this duty to be. We must have the faith to jump, plunge. The resolve to not be deterred by ghosts. Sooner or later life will bring the true obstacles… Why do we give up so easily, so quickly acting as if we accept the very concept of our feminine weakness and disadvantage.



Gradually everyone filed out of the Chill Out cafe but the three of us. Night advancing, the moon as bright as can be. We finally head out, each of us to our respective temporary homes. It is now so quiet on the streets. As I cross Tarlabasi, I look in the distance, the mosques shining in the night, the sky illuminated by this incredible moon, a breeze blows. The taxi drivers blow their horns at me, expectantly hoping for a fare. I keep walking. I look down and my little grocery store is still open! It’s 3 AM. A kid is placing tomatoes in the racks. Something you wouldn’t see in America, A kid working in the store at 3 AM. I get a loaf of bread, 75 kurus. Head home. The little restaurant is also still opened. People work hard, long hours for the money.


I feel like I am now recognized on the street not by having talked to anyone, but just by being recognized. It is just a feeling, first I felt the curiosity, now they know me. I am part of the neighborhood.


I climb up the stairs, Firat is still up. I eat some fruit and drink some tea. He shows me his website. It’s impressive, everything from drawings, to 3D animation, to video art.


Wow. Another beautiful day. I am happy. I should really get to sleep!


3 Responses to “the 4th Monday”

  1. Forrest Robinson Says:

    There you go, D! NOW, you are beginning to experience Istanbul as you’d hoped. And it only gets better from here. More new companions and beautiful experiences! Take care!


  2. Danielle Liard Says:

    Right on sister! 😉


  3. Heather Bejar Says:

    Ahhh….women…finally! Women! Thank you for writing. It is such a privilege to read your adventure and live vicariously if only for a moment.

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