Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Istanbul Miniatures

- the fat cats of Istanbul, with their sleek and glossy bodies. No wonder they are fat, given the dishes of cat food everywhere. Some have signs of having been neutered. They can be quite aloof; one chubby tabby in the rather posh part of town called Nisantasi tolerated, with some disdain, being tickled on the head. Not a whisker moved; his chubby little bottom did not lift itself off his comfortable stone wall, the tail remained where it was. Maybe so would the human residents of that neighbourhood.

- the very stylish older woman with short cropped hair (unusual in Istanbul), and very bright and enterprising brown eyes, who sold pens sitting on a doorstep just down the road from my hotel. She would not have been out of place in a theatre or a bookshop. It was when she smiled that I noticed the lack of dental care; she also did not have the basic salesperson's skills of giving the price in English. A day later I spotted her twice, wandering around town with a very smart, lacquered shopping bag. There's obviously a story behind that.

- did not find Orhan Pamuk's apartment building, but spotted 3 sets of Pamuk Apartments (all the wrong size for the one he describes - or was he leading people astray?). In Istanbul apartment blocks seem to be named after the owner. Also often houses have two numbers; a red one and an older one. Which is the right one? Who knows....

- spotted a heavily veiled mother with two chubby boys in a cafe in Nisantasi (in Nisantasi all boys are chubby, to put it mildly); they reminded me of Pamuk and his older brother, who grew up there, and might still have lived there if it had not been for the thing with Hrant Dink, whereupon Pamuk left Istanbul . (Haven't yet finished his book 'Istanbul', when all can be revealed).

- the trouble of the smell in the hotel bathroom(s) is, I am told, due to the wind which blows the canalization smells back up. Right.....Maybe they saved on u-bends during the construction, which would have prevented that.

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Helene said...

As an ex-canalisation engineer or perhaps I should say I have designed a few u-bends in my time... I guess it wouldn't be impossible for the wind to blow out the seal even with the maximum 75mm. And that assumes they designed it properly so the seal actually exists most of the time. There you are: more than you ever wanted to know about u bends.