We are here with three big rollers and one small rolling suitcase each. Turkish Airlines offers more options, but is as inflexible as other airlines on baggage weight. As I packed, I weighed each on a bathroom scale trying to balance it all, but in the flurry to get away, we stuffed things in pockets, disturbing my careful distribution, and incurred excess charges.
We left Rita’s toys, which is too bad, because animal toys are uninspired and limited here. When our visiting friends ask what they can bring, we’ll probably tell them cat toys…unless by that time there is something we miss much more. Jim and Lucy would already probably say it was peanut butter. Something called that, made in Holland, is sold here, but it is gritty and dry and 20% hydrogenated vegetable oil. Say “bacon” and Western expats crack up.
Thinking that the real cold weather would come after January, and our shipment of 45 pieces of stuff would have arrived by then, we both packed our heavier and bulkier clothing to go by sea. Our load is delayed due to required signatures and inefficient communications, which feels like a run-around and means that we have no idea when our warmer clothes and general household goods will arrive.
Friends and others have predicted snow for over a week, but AccuWeather missed it. Yesterday it forecast 11°C for today, and obviously snow comes closer to zero. We woke up to flurries this morning, and it has snowed all day. Public buses have stopped, many shops closed, the city is sort of halted, as has running water in our flat. After about four hours the water flowed again…we are grateful for the gift of getting it back! The old city of Istanbul delights in many ways!
Here in Cihangir, where we climb everywhere we go, just walking around is treacherous. Adding two or four wheels and a lot of weight to the mix is a recipe for disaster. We watched a truck stuck in a “valley” between two steep streets, unable to crest either of them. Since this district is also an ongoing construction zone – gentrification, which will totally change the character of the neighborhood in a few years – the slush quickly turns to mire. Locals say it does not freeze here, so we’ll probably have a mud season until spring.
I remember a board game I played as a kid called Chutes and Ladders. Walking in Cihangir is like playing an interactive version, especially in the snow. Landing on a ladder moves you forward, hitting a chute sends you back. We keep discovering new “ladders”, new stair steps that shorten our trip, or keep us off narrow and crowded roads. My morning walks with Lucy uncover these treasures. Each new one excites her – she races to discover new smells, and add her commentary. Depending on how one enters it, the stair is a ladder or a chute. On the descents, I need to keep reminding Lucy “no pulling”.