I have been here three days and am very disoriented

Today I took a ferry over to Kadikoy and hung out with Anna and drank chay and it was nice. Yesterday that there was a wedding party and I played the song for the engagement. Yahya got on a chair and was making a speech, and then drew out the lovebirds from the crowd, and then this Canadian guy Liam and I played this song as the undersong, and then they danced and kissed and we all cheered. Been meeting a LOT of people (from france, america, syria, lebanon, the uk, etc) and learning how to use buses and metro stations and ferries. It’s three turkish lira to cross from Europe to Asia or vice versa. I like the way the boat churns up Bosphorus water. The first night I got here, I had balik ekmek, which is a fried fish sandwich, and looked at the setting sun over a bunch of mosques on the banks of the B. straight with Yahya and his couchsufers. I haven’t slept much. The aforementioned wedding party had everyone staying up til about three or four, and then the first call to prayer goes off at about five am. The mosque right next to Yahya’s place has a really good singer, and though he wakes me up every time with his songs, I still appreciate his very loud and very weird Allaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahu akbars.

I haven’t yet purchased any of the grilled corn or chestnuts which dot the streets. Also avoiding the street mussels. Seriously, guys stand out on the streets with large round metal plates full of mussels and a lemon, and it’s a lira for two. Lahmacun, though, is a hit–basically turkish pizza. Cilantro and onions and ground meat on a pita, served with ayran, a weird salty watery yogurt drink. In a plastic cup, with a peel-off tinfoil lid. Doner kebab is of course delicious. Breakfast is fruit and bread and coffee and tea, and whatever delicious thing the couchsurfers cook up.

Zoe asked me to elaborate on everything being the same font: you know how in rural america, you can find the same signs on every bar or bowling alley? They all have a coca-cola logo on one side of the banner, and then some words in the middle. “Official” Turkish (and most commercial Turkish)  is written in all-caps and monospaced, so that every character, diacritical marks included, is the same height as every other. I dunno, in America, you see a lot of restaurants or stores using particular fonts, trying to define a brand or whatever. Turks are a little less concerned about that. So every sign looks like the same person thought of it.

The language is really silly. It’s less tricky than georgian–very regular, very vowely. I think I am burying myself in language study to hold off processing the sheer amount of people here. It’s a very stimulating city.

Lots of street cats and street kopeks. Tomorrow I meet the director of my school and learn what the hell I’m doing this year.

Güle güle,




  1. Debra Dawn Chasteen said:

    Ernie we miss you! Great Blog by the way. I completely hear you in my mind saying these thing to me. Keep it coming,
    and where can I send a “Care Package” of some sort of orage juice product to you?

    • oh man, I think I’m getting my place today, I’ll let you know!


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