'Not From Here,' stories by Nathan Deuel

In Istanbul, getting to Ikea and back

It’s not exactly a matter of life and death — procuring a high chair for my daughter from Ikea, in Istanbul — but that was the mission I found myself on last night.

I loaded up a leather satchel — keys, wallet, phone, a letter from a dear old friend in Riyadh — and headed down the hill. We live above “music street,” the winding cobble stone parade of shops selling drums, guitars, cymbals, horns, pianos, and the dreaded vuvuzela. A hilarious cacophony during the day, Galip Dede glows faintly and echoes with mewling cats at night.

Stepping around garbage, I found the alley of rough-cut stairs that leads to the water. Traffic was thin, and I dashed across slick streets to the Karakoy stop on one of the city’s main tram lines.

On the platform, affectionate couples nuzzled in the humidity and a ferry drew a long horn as it motored off into the Bosphorus chop. My wife was in Baghdad; encountering Joe Biden yesterday, she said the vice president’s teeth were blindingly white.

The tram trundled down the steel rails and I found a seat by a mute woman poking lazily into her smart phone. I took out the letter from my friend: Six hand-written sheets, sending sympathy for my dad, who died a few months ago. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Death, Istanbul, Turkey