Forgive me, Blogger, it’s been four weeks since my last post. I’ve been out in the world!
We were visiting our son Eli, who teaches in Turkey. He has adapted remarkably well.
Eli lives off the path beaten by tourists, but flew to meet us for a visit in Cappadocia.
He came bearing gifts, including Turkish cotton candy, pistachios, dried apricots, baklava, and my favorite–a savory snack with a cheesy crust baked over a peanut.
We brought him a taste of home–Triscuits, Good ‘n’ Plenty, Junior Mints, Reese’s Pieces, dried seaweed, and Girl Scout Cookies.
I’ll tell you more about Cappadocia another time. But trust me: it was golden.
Eli met us again in Istanbul, a huge city with masses of people, dogs and cats everywhere.
The streets and bazaars were a crunch of unrelenting perpetual motion. I had to snap pics on the fly to avoid losing my companions in the sea of people.
The Spice Bazaar was stimulating to the senses; we were hard pressed to take it all in!
It was fragrant.
It was all Turkishly delightful.
I sensed invisible walls, like those on subways in New York, Rome, or anywhere multitudes converge and people are reluctant to meet each other’s eyes. But I caught glimpses, reminders that each person in the throng was someone’s parent…
Friend, spouse, or lover.
On the walk back to our hotel, traffic was barely moving. Street vendors bravely plied their trade among the backup of vehicles.
Across the street someone emerged from walls raised by Emperor Constantine more than 1500 years ago. I zoomed in with my camera, waiting for traffic to abate. It was a long wait, but finally it happened. I looked up to meet the eye of the driver who’d stopped his rig in the midst of rush hour to give me a clear shot. He motioned to me to snap the pic. I clicked and smiled, he waved, shifted gears, and drove on.
As I watched him go, I saw a Titanic moment played out by a couple of kids from a car’s sunroof. I snapped it, knowing it wouldn’t be a great shot, but I wanted to record the joy of that moment, theirs and mine, which was heightened by a stranger’s act of kindness.
Then someone was speaking to me in Turkish from a car by the curb. Was he scolding me for taking photos? Or holding up traffic? But he held up his own camera, and in one eloquent motion, he instantly established understanding and common ground between one lover of life and another. He smiled so warmly I had to laugh and take his picture! For his open heart, his good humor, his generosity to a stranger and a foreigner, I believe at that moment I truly loved him. In fact, I still do.
All images and words copyright 2015 Naomi Baltuck