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Loco for Lokum: on assignment inTurkey The lowdown on winning the 2011 World Nomads/Rough Guides Scholarship...

Back to Istanbul

TURKEY | Wednesday, 22 June 2011 | Views [1378]

Returning to Istanbul, I feel that odd sense of transition as if it is the end of a long trip. In reality I’ve been away from the city little more than 10 days, but it feels like so long since I have left that I felt sure life must have moved on without me, but somehow everything remains just as I left it. The carpet sellers are still engaging sales tactics worthy of medals; the traffic continues to speed around shell-shocked pedestrians with reckless abandon; the potholed streets still seem to rise out of the ground and grasp you by the foot as you hobble by. At the roadside the young boys in their red and gold waistcoats are still twirling and tossing strips of gluey ice cream around their heads; the scent of slow-cooked meat still seeps out into the streets and over-enthusiastic waiters are predictably pouncing on each hungry-looking passerby.

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This is my last day of enjoying the city without a purpose, of wandering aimlessly and discarding time. Tomorrow my assignment begins, a week of updating the new Rough Guide to Istanbul, first under the guidance of the author Terry Richardson, and then alone. I’m a little nervous but mainly excited. Part of me is too exhausted from the tour to panic over any last minute details and I’m thankful for this.

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I can’t wait to figure out the nuts and bolts of compiling a guidebook and to trundle exhausted through unknown streets in search of the kind of place that will make travelers remember why they came here in the first place. I’m even looking forward to mashing together my few words of Turkish, pigeon English and desperate mime in an effort to source information. Or agonizing over descriptions in the hope of de-mystifying a little of the chaos that is Istanbul. But most of all, I can’t stop the thought in the back of my head, that maybe, just maybe, this might not be the last time I get to do this. Because for me – a lunatic note-taker and indiscriminate lover of travel with a childlike fascination for anything out of the ordinary - there surely couldn’t be a more perfect job.

Tags: bazaar, istanbul, travel writing, travel writing scholarship, turkey

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