Expatria · Istanbul · Movies · Travel

the illusionist in istanbul

we went to see ‘the illusionist’ today. wow. just, wow. go see it!

i love watching movies in their original language. there was just not enough of this in spain and here it is more common than not that films in the theatre are in their original version. blessed be the Cinema Gods.

after many days of being in the apartment or the close vicinity, i got out of the house and we went to a trendy area of town, Taksim, where there are lots of cafes, bars and cinemas. it is known to be the party area of town and there is a strip where people just walk up and down, up and down. like the main street drag in the 50’s where everyone would pile into their cars and just drive up and down the strip. this is one of the things they do, but walking. while we were walking the prayers were called and people hardly even flinch. in pakistan, where i lived from age 9-13, there was absolutely no one muslim on the streets at prayer times.

transportation is interesting here. they have these shared taxi’s that seat 9 people that go to the main areas of town. they do not leave until they are full and cost a little more than a euro to ride. since this city is enormous, they are quite economical and can be much faster than the buses and are way cheaper than a normal taxi. each Dolmos driver has his own route and today’s took a road that ran along the Bosphorus Strait. there is most definitely something magical about that body of water. in the distance you can see islands and there are so many boats that in my mind’s eye become pirate ships sailing about. i can just imagine how it must have been a few hundred years ago. certainly, though, the place has moved on and there are moments while riding on the motorways (highways) that you almost think you are in california or other parts of europe.

i found out some more interesting cultural tidbits about turkey from steve, who heard it from his boss during one of their boozing schmoozing ‘business’ dinners. apparently, turkey has the highest rate of gonnorhea in all of europe and partly this is from the high rates of prostitution in this country. in spain, for example, prostitutes are not so much used for intercourse and in fact intercourse is the least common sex act performed by spanish prostitutes. but here in turkey, intercourse is the staple act of the prostitutes and their clients. sadly, the rates of STDs are so high is because, like in many other asian and african countries, men have unprotected sex with prostitutes and then come home and give it to their wives or girlfriends. i guess safe sex practices are not yet part of what was described as a sexually liberated culture and country.

we also had our first blackout today, Welcome to Asia!

it seems this is a place of contradictions. modern and archaic seem to coexist to a degree i have not experienced anywhere else and in such close quarters. in fact, it is very similar to andalusia which also has roots in the islamic culture that built istanbul. istanbul is beginning to feel a little bit smaller now that we are learning our way around it. when we first got here, i was so overwhelmed at the sheer size of it and the incomprehensibility of the language. but that is changing bit by bit.

plus, after watching ‘the lord of the rings’ dubbed in turkish a couple days ago, turkish is beginning to sound more and more elvish to me. the film didn’t look or feel strange in the least, in fact it sounded perfect. like it was not people who dubbed the movie, but that the elves and fairies put it back into its original language. this makes some kind of magic when i hear people speaking turkish now and i am looking forward to learning more.

signing off before the power signs off for me…


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