>Outside, looking in

August 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

Turkish people don’t drink coffee.

This week felt like I was in a non-consentual detox program where I kept breaking off the rehab grounds in order to get my fix, which was never quite enough.

Occasionally they indulge in Turkish coffee, but for the most part, this is a tea drinking society with a little Nescafé thrown in here and there.

There are a few attempts at an American coffee shop, but the incredibly passive and enigmatic slogan, “A taste nearby” fits their approach to my addiction.

Today the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art came through with our first cup. Lesson: it is very hard to be a tourist without an adequate amount of caffeine.

Post-latte, Joe and I are ready to see some modern art.

Then we searched all over town for our second cup, which we found at Coffee Me before we tried to find the Book Market section of the Grand Bazaar. I should say that I am thrilled to be surrounded by an adamantly literary society. Everywhere we go, we find independent bookstores stocked from the floor to the ceiling with books that are not just New York Times Bestsellers. Pera, the part of town where we are staying is known for having the most independent bookstores in one neighborhood. Joe and I are never the only browsers in the shops. In fact, these bookstores seem to be thriving.

Other activities today:
Grand Bazaar souvenir shopping
Turkish Bathhouse

And a very touristy dinner for Joe’s last meal before he flies home tomorrow morning.


Not to be missed: the photography exhibit at the French Institute, about the national sport, Turkish oil wrestling, another seemingly sexual (and extremely homoerotic activity), which is hard to contextualize without access to insiders’ perspectives. There are so many more questions I have about sexuality, gender, and identity from my trip to Turkey than were ever raised from my semester in Amsterdam. I wish we had spent part of that trip, studying in Turkey.

Joe is to corn as I am to bagel.

The beautiful poster of Turkey, which perpetually–and somehow appropriately– hangs at a slant in our “hotel” room.


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