12/01  Istanbul Turkey

01 Dec 1985, Posted by Scott An Chora in Travelogue, No Comments.

12/01 Istanbul Turkey


We arrive early into Istanbul but were without coinage and to compound our dilemma that day was the Sabbath.  All the exchanges in the station were closed.  We walked across town and ended up being directed to a major hotel in the area, but they would only exchange money if we weren’t guests of the hotel.  “Get a room and we’ll exchange money for you” the receptionist repeated to us twice.  The only other option we had was to charter a taxi to the airport, but the taxi wanted to double charge for having two occupants.  So Jenni went to the airport while I stayed behind and watched the bags in front of the hotel lobby.  Then the exchange at the airport placed some type of Sabbath tax on top of the rate, so we started off on the wrong foot.  We wandered back across town into the Sultanahmet district and found a place in view of the Blue Mosque.  Once we got things settled we grabbed some tea in a local rug shop and then headed out to see the sights.  We started the day barefoot and entered the Blue Mosque.  What struck me as odd was that they allowed individuals to establish their own boundaries.  Worshipers would lay down prayer rugs on the floor of the mosque and then go about their day and return to the same spot to continue prayer.  It was obvious that they had grouped themselves in small social orders where the less privileged were moved to the perimeter.  I don’t know but too me it all seemed so staged, like a parade of one’s religion.

Voices cry out, like passion in the wind, searching ears, having not pierced the veil,
cries and the tears fall, endlessly on

They only appear, toward the end of the gallery, where the cruelest lies, are often told in silence,
and the tears fall, endlessly on

And we shall never know, what autumn leaves are stripped away, only the soul, thrown wide open to the sun
cries and, the tears fall, endlessly on

We relaxed among the gardens that separated the mosque from the Ava Sofya where we met a peddler who was selling flutes.  He could really play this instrument.  I picked up some nuts and shredded coconut and we headed off to see the church of divine wisdom, Aya Sofya, glowing from the light of thirty million gold tiles.  “What stories they could tell”.  I was told that where I was standing was once believed to be the center of the universe.

They paint images in humans form, for their idols show disdain
for they will entice you, all the beautiful and sweet things, corruptible and vain
may you display firm faith, undoubting hope and unfeigned and never failing love
not in the flesh but rather in your heart, the true message from above

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    Usually behind a cup of coffee waiting for the world around me to wake up I entered today’s thoughts about yesterday’s activities into my travel journal. I’m not a writer, so I’ll apologize in advance if I jump around or seem confused. These are just the thoughts of a young man who left his possessions behind and who believes that getting lost is how one finds oneself.

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