Lesson 1. Don’t.
After the snow a few days ago the weather stayed overcast and cold, around 0°C. In Cihangir’s peaks and valleys, all manner of wheeled vehicles are spinning out, usually when they don’t have enough of a running start to get up the hill. The sound of spinning tires on icy asphalt is painful. You know the driver is desperate, and his tires are suffering. Last night, trekking from Bolahenk Sokak to Taksim Square, we had to duck and cover as fish-tailing wheel-spinning cars tried to crest the hill and negotiate a right turn as we entered that intersection.
Yesterday morning for our sunny walk, Lucy and I chose a steep street guaranteed to offer views of the Bosphorus, and gave witness to gnashing of teeth and smoking tires of the long line of cars and drivers trying to scale the terrain.
The previous peak, which leads to a valley, out of which these folks were trying to climb, has big construction projects which this morning were coating the cobble-stoned streets with wet clay, clogging the driver’s treads. The narrow street has a foot-wide sidewalk, so Lucy and I sought protection in a large driveway and noticed that the more skillful drivers maneuvered to the seam between the street pavers and the gutter. This morning, with an ebbing of traffic a panel truck driver painstakingly, but strategically, backed himself into a spot from which to get a running start, at which point a long line of vehicles impatiently queued behind him. I felt sorry for him as he pulled out of their way– imagining him entering into a behavioral loop of some duration.
This being our first winter here, we don’t know if a long swath of cold wet gray days is the norm, but the sunshine, this Christmas Eve is really welcome!
We are hosting Turkish friends this evening. Our intention was to cook our traditional Christmas turkey and trimmings. In my typical impetuous enthusiasm, I invited them, and have agonized over it ever since. We don’t know where to find the ingredients. We’ve looked, but can’t find. Also, we have not cooked in our well-stocked-for-tourists, but not for real cooking, kitchen. So, days ago I decided we’d bring in paket (take out) for our guests. Company on Christmas Eve also requires a level of Christmas décor. We bought two wreaths, one with red metal jingle bells and fake greens, which we hung on the big old front doorknob, and another gold pine cone wreath that we replaced a picture with. That and the red and green candles on the table, still don’t cut it, so we are taking our 15% off coupons to Tepe Home (where yesterday we bought most of the furniture we will need for our place in Moda) to buy the green glitter raffia trees I’ve been eyeing. Next year we will have a properly appointed Christmas, Inshallah.
Merry Christmas to All.