Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kalmak ya da kalmamak

Do I stay or do I go now? So sang that little British band all those many moons ago. At present, I'm posing myself the same question as the gleam and glitter of this marvellous metropolis fades to something resembling a burnished walnut commode and I begin to wonder whether it's time for me to move on.

And so we arrive yet again at that point in my life where the promise of stability and career development is outweighed yet again by the possibility that countries unseen and lands in far flung places hold untold pleasures and discoveries that could excite me more that my once-beloved Istanbul.

The last few months have been an emotional nightmare and I need a change. After ten days on a sumptuous African safari in Uganda I quickly recognised that what had once pulled me to Istanbul was now the reason I wanted to get out. Uganda was lush, green, supplier of abundant fresh fruit and air and I wore nothing but sandals for the entire trip. Istanbul feels filthy, unhygienic and decrepit. Will this god-damn wind ever cease?

Winter in Istanbul, and this is my third, hangs oppressively. There is nothing but grey tones to the sky, the buildings, and the faces around me. The air reeks of petrol fumes and something else unpleasant, the apartment water supply stinks of turpentine, and my bedroom door handle has fallen off. The top button on my brown cotton work trousers has disappeared. Everyone talks of the coming water shortage in summer but I see nothing but a slightly altered form of it hanging over my head. Tell me, aside from Manchester is there a city in the world that had more cloud cover?

La grisaille. Last week I bought a 5-disc Edith Piaf box set which tells you a lot about the person I am and indeed the fact that I listened to Mon Dieu on loop for at least half an hour means that it's both time to extend my musical appreciation skills and get myself some sun.

Me happier, where the grass is apparently greener.

I love Istanbul but need to get myself out of this rut. Suggestions please.

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