The day started in a slightly surreal tone… having a theoretical discussion over breakfast with an American historian on the political economy and culture of organisations. How random. He was tedious and narcissistic but it was great to have an intellectual conversation… I often feel under siege (or get apathy, which is worse?) as a sociologist in Australia and it’s delightful how I can connect with scholars in any surrounding disciplines in any other part of the world. Gives you back some hope and respect that Australia regularly takes away (I love my home country but in this regards it really sucks!! Sociologists are regarded somewhere between complex yet useless gits and garbage collectors I think).
Spent the whole day running around in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul… the city is really noisy and chaotic for my taste and I’m enjoying the onslaught… then take time out for a cup of sage tea
Caught the bus and trams and managed to only go into one mosque, which is an achievement as Sultanahmet has the highest concentration of mosques! They are imposing, truly magnificent in architectural beauty and disconcerting when considered in the current local political climate that is being pushed to the religious right. I was taken back by Volkan and Ibcen’s comments on how the secular achievements of Turkey are being eroded and taken away. That makes me very sad.
The underground cistern was beautiful and the grand bazaar was wonderfully colourful and disorienting. For a sociologist who is a tourist it poses a dilemma… do you get lost in the million delightful details as a shopper or do you observe all the details of the everyday life of sellers which is fascinating. Of course you do both! The bazaar is a shopper’s dream and an ethnographer’s playground.
What’s more I didn’t get lost at all! Volkan’s idea of watching the slant/lie of the land (the floor of most of the bazaar slightly slants) plus visually mapping the types of roads in my head helped… but it’s a challenge as the distractions are formidable! Yumm
Been getting so many offers from men, it’s becoming rather entertaining… some are nasty and aggressive but some are quite funny and creative… you gotta give points for that! I’ve been offered sex, drugs and rock’n'roll in various combinations. Some even offered to deliver my choice of drugs to me before no doubt moving onto the other activities. Being bisexual is met with either complete lack of comprehension or curiosity… and you know I just have to enjoy those funny moments of revelation… both parties get some hilarity and novelty value out of these interactions I’m sure.
I’m still very ill… my bronchitis/lung infection is so bad I’d never heard another human being produce such awful sounds before… nose, ears, fever, all happening around the clock. I feel so proud of being able to get out and enjoy the city… but it’s probably bad for my health… so I’m having a short massage tomorrow… and lots of adacai or sage tea which is everwhere. Of course the most important bit is massive doses of antibiotics.
Craig sent me details of our Barcelona apartment for Thu… Craig’s in Barcelona now with Tiff… can’t wait to be re-united with them both!! Should be great fun, the 3 of us discovering the city
PS: my legs are getting a bit worse again from lack of rest… gotta be very careful and rest if I can… bit scary to think it could all get worse again.
PS2: photos…. first is in Sultanahmet mosque, second at a cafe, third in the underground cistern… crappy camera and no tripod, just some simple tricks!