Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday, May 04, 2012 - No comments

The Other Side

(written March 28th, on the Kadıköy - Karaköy ferry)

I'm FINALLY feeling up to gezzing (loosely translated, roaming or exploring) after being cooped up in the house for a week following my surgery.  Got out of the house a little later than planned, but was glad for the extra time with my "little sister."  It's a properly gray Istanbul day, with either the threat of rain or the promise of sunshine - it's hard to say.  

I've been lying on the couch all week, dreaming up places to go see once I felt alive enough. Much as I love to roam around the neighbourhoods of Fatih (the heart of the old city) amongst the immigrants and the gypsies and the crumbling city walls, I don't think I'm quite up to it just yet.  I'm more in the mood for something a little nicer, but still unfamiliar, and the area around Taksim/Beyoğlu won out.

It's not my favourite area, in that it's crowded and full of tourists, "Bohemian Turks" and rich people.  I prefer the quieter, less affected districts on the Asian shore better myself.  But if I am going to profess to love Istanbul, I really should explore all of it, even the bits that don't fit my cherished but lopsided image of the city.

The truth is, when I think about strolling around in places like Cihangir, Teşvikiye or Nişantaşı, I don't feel classy enough or hip enough to fit in.  I feel like I'll be an underdressed American who is sorely out of place in the uppity parts of Paris.  Granted, looking like a tourist probably buys me some grace.  But when I think of myself as a Turk, I don't feel "worthy" of those neighbourhoods.  

(There's got to be some "royalty in disguise" heart lesson to be uncovered here somewhere....)

As a photographer, though, and even moreso as a writer, I really need to get over this fear of places I don't fit in and people who are "higher class" than me.  It's easy for me to feel confident in Fatih, where I am a wealthy foreign novelty, but Istanbul's trendier districts are a whole different ballpark.  

And so I head to the other side.  Here's to a day of overcoming fear....