Christians in the world are celebrating Easter today, (except Greek Orthodox which is 5th of May), but those are not the sounds in my neighborhood this morning. All of our windows are open; the temperature is 68F/20C now at 11:15 daylight savings time. Since we just changed the clocks, and Istanbul is a late city anyway…it is calm outside…not yet kalabalık (crowded), which it will soon become in Moda as people flock to the shore and the outdoor restaurants for kahvaltı (breakfast).
In the still quiet I hear the Moda Tramvay creaking on its rails. It stops 2 blocks away, and in the right conditions, like now, I can hear its bell clang and doors screech as they grind open. On the street below is the occasional motorbike, and seagulls guffaw hysterically and crows comment in their raspy caw.
A Roma walks along playing a heartrending lyrical tune on his accordion, with his son along to collect alms. I wonder if people throw coins out their windows.
We hear a loudspeaker and a flatbed truck turns down the street loaded with flat white cloth bags. It looks like they are selling potting soil, but my six weeks of Turkish lessons fail me, so it’s just a guess.
In the ferry lane, the IDO between Kadıköy and Bostancı growls by. It is a fast, powerful catamaran with a booming horn sounding a deep throated warning. Louder though, are little fishing boats and skiffs, bobbing like bathtub toys in the wake of the ferry. We hear them long before they come into view close to shore, the sounds of their staccato pistons piercing the smooth bass rumble of the ferry’s motors.
Off, a couple of blocks away are street dogs vocally defining their turf – Lucy heeds their warnings when we are out walking. A junkman pushes his cart calling Eskiiiiiiciiiii for the things we might want to pitch out – Spring cleaning made convenient.
Walking Lucy this morning, I stopped at the grocer and the bakery. It is so peaceful early in the morning, with just enough people out to feel like a town. What a luxury it is to have no breakfast food in the house, and gather those things simply by changing our daily walking route. I was wearing a heavy cotton shirt and cords, with a wool shawl, and I was too warm. It is T-shirt weather now, the warmest it has been since we arrived in December. Spring, a time of rebirth, is here. Getting out of heavy winter garb feels like its own rebirth.
A sound inside is big flies buzzing, and Lucy snapping at them…we need to buy screens for the windows, and have inquired at a small neighborhood shop…but our lack of Turkish makes it a challenge to get these things done efficiently. The shopkeeper took Jim’s number, but Jim was unclear what he would do with it. We hope he calls and comes to take measurements, and then makes us screens. We can’t let our fingers do the walking and arrange things by phone because we can’t have comprehensible conversations. We do not yet have a house cleaner, because we have to find one who will tolerate Lucy – who fears the vacuum cleaner and voices her anxiety–and we don’t know where to start on that, without Turkish. Our Türk friends live on the European side, so they don’t have references for us. Plus all of our Turkish classes and homework cuts into our time to track these essential local services down.
I love this İstanbul spring morning!