Sights and Sounds: Turkey Redux

Roughly 30 hours after waking up and hopping onto the shuttle to Istanbul’s Ataturk airport,

we pulled into Duluth.

A delay (we sat on the plane in Paris for 2 1/2 hours before it ever left the ground) caused us to miss our connection in Detroit and ultimately added about 6 hours onto our final travel time.

Fortunately, the plane from Paris to Detroit was a newish one and–Holy Things Unheard Of–actually agreeable. Kirsten had booked us “comfort” seats, which means we had a lovely bit of leg room. For once, Byron’s patellas weren’t rubbed raw, and I was able to cross my legs and occasionally scootch my aching cootch. Just as gratifying were the personal screens (something low-rent Delta doesn’t regularly offer); anyone who remembers that one of the highlights of my year in Turkey was watching the 1980 version of the film Fame on our flight over will understand that I’m a complete kid on Christmas morning when it comes to a personal screen.

What I learned from this most-recent trip to Turkey, thus, is that I like Girls because Lena Dunham looks like a real human being; I like New Girl because Zooey Deschanel is properly charming; and I adore Veep because Julia Louis-Dreyfus has managed to land on yet another show that gains power from the geling of its larger cast. Such is the wisdom of this world traveler. Oh, and also: the Seljuks surely knew how to decorate the hell out of a doorway. I know that, too.

Wait. There’s a third thing, too. I found out that the Turkish phrase for “so-so” is “söyle böyle” (which is pronounced kind of like shooley-booley, and how fun is that? Once I learned that phrase, I was compelled to wend my way through the Spice Market in Istanbul and tell every single vendor in every single stall that his merchandise was söyle böyle. In a dramatic lesson of cause-effect, I fled the Spice Market that day at a speedy clip, chased by a hoard of angry men wielding plastic scimitars and bars of rose oil soap).

In sum, then, what I learned from this trip to Turkey is:

–American television actresses are doing some good work

–a thousand years ago, Seljuks were comfortable enough in their lives that they could spare the time and energy to rock an entrance

–this man may look innocuous, but he’s more than söyle böyle when it comes to waving a plastic scimitar in a threatening manner


Now, the trip is over, but the memories, the sounds, the smells, the textures, the photos, the things learned–all are still churning through my jet-lagged head. Sitting here in my quiet house, listening to the dishwasher churn, rocking gently in my chair, I also remain incredibly glad that I thought to turn on the video camera a few times. Here are a few examples, a few cross-sections, if you will, of the delights visited upon us:

Our last meal in-country was purchased from a rice pilaf (aka “pilav”) cart on the Galata Bridge. After loading a little plastic tray with pilav, the vendor tops it with shredded chicken. Although there isn’t much talk in this video, my heart gets very happy when the overlapping Calls to Prayer start issuing from all corners of the city:


In addition to buying pilav that last night, Byron and I went on a long after-dark walk around a few of Istanbul’s hills. We planned to walk by the famed Suleymaniye mosque, which we’d not yet seen. When we got there, we realized the doors were open, and people were still visiting, so we wandered in:


And finally, from the Friendship Files, our pal Elaine (who, in a previously-posed video, explained the items on her breakfast table) here analogizes Turkish tea to a family:


The thing is,

my passport’s still out on the dining room table. My underwear has been laundered. I’m a day away from complete jet-lag recovery. I could sell some plasma to earn extra income.

One could make the case


I’m ready to go back.




8 responses to “Sights and Sounds: Turkey Redux”

  1. lime Avatar

    yay for personal screens and legroom…anything that makes you feelless like cattle in a stall, i say!

    love the tea analogy. such fun. the mosque is a gorgeous bit of architecture.

  2. lime Avatar

    oh, and next time you go to turkey can i go too?

  3. Bob Avatar

    We got the comfort coach seats on the way overseas our last trip – ti DOES make a difference!

    Each time we go on a trip I’m always ready to go back – which is why we did Paris twice (and probably will again). Turkey looks fascinating, but I think Spain is next. Or maybe Ireland/Scotland/Wales…….

    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      I’d say you can’t go wrong, no matter where you go–especially with comfort seating!

  4. chlost Avatar

    I am like Byron…very tall. I believe that the lack of legroom in any public seating is a direct threat not only to my comfort but to my health-both emotional and physical. It is torture to sit for 8 hours with your knees alongside your ears. Yay for your friend to get the seats with space.
    I am so intrigued by Turkey. I also want to go with you on the next trip. I have a great idea…you should lead a little bloggers group trip to Turkey so that we will all be able to see these things with you. We should be able to get group rates. Perhaps you could lead a study abroad trip through the school and we could audit the course. I am serious about this idea. My daughter works in a study abroad office and there are groups who go to many different places for many less serious courses that “Blogging Around the World.” I would be willing to be a co-leader with you!
    Thank you so, so much for taking us along with you on this trip. I loved every day’s adventure and looked forward to every entry.
    Oh, and btw, Bob, I’d also go back to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Paris, and would also love to see Spain.

    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      How tall are you? I shall have to adjust my mental picture!

      What you say about seating and comfort is SO true. I was thinking, during my rare comfortable flight, about how I felt like a valid human being, simply from the seat and having enough room–and how I feel like a nearly-unhinged diminished thing in “normal” airplane seating.

  5. Secret Agent Woman Avatar

    I am always ready to travel and whoever thought of the personal screens on long floghts is a genius.

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