Saturday, October 3, 2015

Not Constantinople

If you like contrasts, do what I've done today: start out in Dubai, and end up in Istanbul. I like Dubai - it's so clean and neat and orderly, and the fantastic architecture is balanced by its arid location, and there is an energy there. But Istanbul, messy and untidy and old and crumbling and confusing, beats Dubai into a cocked hat, energy-wise. From the chaos at the airport, through the beeping streets to the maze of Sultanahmet's narrow lanes, you (I) really feel that this is a place where life is full on and has been for centuries.

Traffic, cats, gulls, muezzin, voices, horns, all echo up from the streets to our little fourth-floor room in this old hotel where the terrace bar has a killer view of the nearby Blue Mosque (scaffolding and all). I'm looking forward to renewing my acquaintance with the city tomorrow.

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