Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Farewell to Istanbul: Part 10

From Istanbul to Texas
I have gone from a city of close to twenty million to one that is less than 20 thousand. However, this is not the first time that I have made this trip. However, before I was a visitor and this time I am returning to seek employment back in my native country, at least for a while. The experience is similar to 'channel surfing.' This year, it has really been that way for me. In three months, I went from the Istanbul to London, London to Texas, back to Istanbul, then to Brazil , back to Istanbul and then back to Texas. In the process, I have switched from Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese and English, sometimes within minutes. (Don't presume that I am fluent in all these languages, except for English.)
My friends and colleagues are now spread between Australia, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, Greece, U.K., Brazil and various places in the U.S. In the past, communication was only through letters. Now with e-mail, Yahoo Messenger, Facebook, Skype, contacts can be easily maintained. Traveling to destinations is fairly easy and sometimes inexpensive via the world wide network of airlines.

Ships, Ferries and the Sea
One of the charms of Istanbul is the ships and other water transportation. It is part of every citizen's life in Istanbul, weather they use the ferries on a daily basis or see them in the course of a day. The ferries are loved by all those who have lived in Istanbul, plying the Bosporus daily or to the Prince's Island. One of the most wonderful experiences is to take the ferry to the Prince's Islands during the summer. The journey is part of the experience, being on the sea, feeling the air and watching the sea gulls as they follow the ferry. The catamarans that go between the European and Asia side are a high tech thrill. The ride is always so smooth and the gentle rocking that I usually have a nap on these short trips.

From my apartment window or at the beach, I could see the ships that are either coming into local ports or going to the Bosporus. I aways wanted to have a villa that was on the sea so that I could just stare out the window and watch the passing ships. My favorite cafe was one that over looked the Bosporus near Topkapi. Even in cold weather, it was a wonderful place. From there, you could see the large tankers, small Black Sea ships and the constant furious activities of the ferries. In the distance one could view the first bridge. I often took visitors and my students to this location. To me, it was the best way for them to understand Istanbul. It was also an excuse to come back and for awhile be like a child and marvel at this wonderful place.

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