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Obsessively photographing graffiti offers lead...

USA | Thursday, 12 June 2008 | Views [546] | Comments [1]

Dear all,


I wish I smelled of wood smoke instead of simply smoke. But this reek is definitively worth the experience of being in the bar when Turkey scored that second goal in the last minutes of the second half to bring the score against Switzerland to 2-1. Everyone leaped to their feet as though their ass were on fire cheering and chanting – clapping until a song emerged from the clamor. What the words were I do not know but I feel as though our whole group attempted to sing along or at least continued clapping enthusiastically. Then we rushed out to the streets to a stunningly quiet scene. At least it was calm until we were overrun by a crowd of fist waving and chanting Turks on Istiklal. Most of our group turned around and followed the rush to Taksim – where much “bunny-hop” action ensued as well as dancing in a circle kicking alternating feet. Some of the group stayed out, while I opted to return to the flat after one of the men, pink shirt (called so because introductions were quite lacking) told me I was beautiful… Besides I had some intriguing research to catch up on.

Actually, photographing all the graffiti around town finally paid off today. I had a photograph of a wall that said “Festus Okey Rest in Peace” underneath the image of a man from a solidly done stencil. Curiosity wrapped itself around me and I Googled the name and found that the man was a Nigerian soccer player who had been shot and killed by the Turkish police while under arrest at the Beyoğlu police department in 2007. He did have cocaine on him (though as I am reading through many variations of the account this police station has apparently been known to threaten to plant drugs…and plant drugs on people)  and purportedly Festus was shot when he attempted to grab the officer’s gun. There is no footage of this scene… Police cameras are not useful in interrogation rooms? Nah... Protests ensued from various parties and the officer in question was prosecuted… haven’t been able to find out whether or not he was sentenced as yet. I intend to follow up on this lead, as well as to see what other choice tidbits I can scrounge up about the Turkish police force, prison, and human rights issues relating to this aspect of Turkish life…  Though it is not my final project (I don’t believe) I am still very intrigued.

Meanwhile I visited my Boot man today- and typically I was welcomed back into his shop and courtyard, ushered to a seat and offered tea. People here always seem to create time for conversation. He let me look at a lot of fabrics. I am seriously in adoration of all of the materials; in my head I spin designs for dresses and wall hangings and boot designs different from the ones he shows. I love being in the shop – I kept asking questions about the boots and he joked that I want to learn his job – I earnestly replied that I do… He creates something beautiful and gives it to the world and lives this way. It seems a pretty magnificent life really – he travels for business all over to surrounding countries. Unfortunately I had a 3:30 meeting with the Prof, and had to cut the conversation off.

I left Beyazit around 3:30… as I was supposed to be at Profs then, twas not good. But I did bring cookies as a gift for Prof – I like the Turkish way of giving whatever you have to others – no expectations. Seriously, in kindergarten all Turks mastered sharing… Really though, there is a mentality of taking care of people here as though they were one’s own family or friends even when one has just met.  It’s like intense Southern Hospitality, and hey look – we have tea, they have tea. So basically I just came home to the other side of the world. The question becomes now, where exactly did this kind of cultural generosity originate? And the Turkish concept of time, gloriously slow and late – what more could anyone ask for? Things don’t open till 9 or ten in the morning and they stay open till 10-12 at night. They leave room for sitting and talking here. 

A quick overview of the rest of the day...

Turkish lesson - dinner - watching the game at a bar - flat

where I realized it was time for more food and had...

Burned toast… Its really just dark brown… Crispy adds flavor?


And now this... sorry I will attempt an intense catch up blog shortly -hope you are well!




monday they predict the storm
tuesday they predict the bad
wednesday they cover the crash
and I can see it's all about cash
and they have the nerve to run down my ass
and treat me like a criminal.

Okey reminded me of that particular song.

  james Jun 16, 2008 10:12 AM

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