Istanbul is Ho Chi Minh city but teeming with swarthy bearded men instead of pale hairless orientals. It surges with humanity the Turks, the tourists and the refugees . I am unable to comprehend how the infrastructure copes. The stark changes in these exotic destinations compared to my visit 40 years ago can be attributed to people, plastic and cars. Gridlocked cars toot at startled pedestrians and each other, sounding like the Road Runner in the eponymous cartoon. Plastic polutes the environment as disposable shopping bags and PET bottles.
And there is something about cats and Turkey? Someone explained that they have religious qualities in Turkey or possibly the Muslim faith? Are they the equivalent of the cow in Hinduism? Cat food and water are left out for these mangy moggies. The tourists compound the plague by feeding them and I kid you not, I watched an American woman photograph a malnourished pussy lying in a doorway!! I have absolutely no idea why she did so as the cat appeared to be a common garden variety Ginger Tom with 4 legs and everything else intact.
Now some random comments. The weather is stultifying making an Adelaide heatwave almost liveable. The photogenic pink haze at dusk over the Bosporus is nothing but smog. Adolescent boys plunged into the Sea diving off the Galata Bridge and swimming back to the pier to the to the amusement of the tourists and the bored indifference of the local constabulary.
An ancient trolley tram runs along the main commercial boulevard, I hesitate to compare it to Rundle Mall, again the scallywags are jumping into the side board and the back bumpers hitching a ride- a much smaller variation of an Indian tram or train scenario.
Today I deduced that the ubiquitous shoe shine boys have a clever ploy to trap unsuspecting tourists. As I was walking to the conference a shoe shine boy walked past me carrying his tools of trade across his shoulder. One of his brushes fell out of his box and he appeared not to notice as he kept walking on. I yelled out picked up the brush and ran after him. He was surprised and grateful. I turned and walked back. Within a few seconds he came rushing after me, bowing and describing me as an honest gentleman. Who am I to disagree? He then indicated that as I had rescued his priceless show shine brush hence saving him from financial ruin, would I allow him to offer me a shoe shine? As it was I was late for the conference so I had to turn down his offer which was persistent to the point of becoming relentless. The very next day the exact same scenario unfolded but with a different shoe shine boy. I now deduced that either there is a syndrome of inbred clumsiness in all shoe shine boys or…. They are supreme magicians who contrive to ‘accidentally allow’ a brush to fall as a tourist walks by hence setting the scene for a quick shine and then ask for a small payment….as he is so poor. For a variation on the Tap and Tug massage perhaps we can call this a ‘Shine and Sob’ Brush Job. If my theory is correct it should happen again before I leave.
A few random pictures follow.