Monday, April 27, 2009

It Takes Three Weeks

After the cold movie set and lunch, I went home for a nice nap and dinner and then it was out again to meet Jennet and her sister, Malynda. Well, I was really just going out to meet Malynda and watch Jennet in concert. We went to a club called Babylon near the ever-popular Istiklal Cadessi. Jennet was nice enough to put Malynda and I on the guest list. There was a multi-media show with an artist who was drawing the whole time with her work projected on one of the walls. She would draw one thing and then erase some of it and change the rest into something else. There were also extensive light and laser shows. There was a singer with an electric tanbur (like a Turkish guitar with a long, narrow, neck; I think that’s what it was) and a somewhat punk rock voice. Accompanying this star of the show were a couple of drummers. dancers, singers, and spoken word artists. There were two Japanese guest belly dancers. Jennet and another woman sang and danced. The place was incredibly crowded, but as it got a bit later (Thursday night) the crowd eased up a bit. I left just in time to grab one of the last Metro rides home.


The next day, I went to work. Though a little groggy, I made it through. The day before, I made contact with my old friend from music camp and San Francisco living, Lars. I gave him a call at the end of my workday and he invited me to come over to his house for a barbecue with him and some of his friends.

I found his place in Harbiye and was proud of myself for finding it without having to call him on the way. (No drastic getting lost.) I met his friends, a bunch of really great folks who are all here teaching English, and we got to eating and drinking. After the meal, and when the night got too cold, we all moved inside and were serenaded by some of Lars’s violin playing. Always impressive!

The Fiddler

But the night was just beginning.

We found a taxi and went to some restaurant near Istiklal (I think) where there was supposed to be a really great clarinet player. When we made it to the top floor where the restaurant was, the band was taking a break and we found a great VIP table in the middle of the room. Soon, the band was back in business and toes were tapping. I even got up and danced, and at one point we all did some line dancing. It was a lot of fun.

Yay for clarinet!


When the band finally finished, we were soon off to a dance club somewhere to drink more beer and dance to more tunes. Though it was way on top of some five-story building, all the windows were covered over with thick plastic curtains and everyone was smoking as usual. Like a nice disco smokehouse. I’m just learning to shrug my shoulders to the fact that all of my clothes will reek of cigarettes and my throat will feel like I am catching a cold for the first half of the next day. It didn’t matter too much though because we were all having so much fun dancing late into the night.

The rest of the weekend was spent quite quietly, and my little house saw a lot of me, with just a few little outings here and there. It’s not too fun to go sightseeing by oneself and everyone I knew seemed busy for the most part. The highlight of the weekend was when I attempted to watch a Turkish burned DVD on my computer and halfway through, the video froze up but the audio kept going and from that point on the video was approximately thirty seconds behind the audio. Bummer. I had to stop it before I went crazy from the off audio. I hope I can finish that move some day. It is called “The Riddle” and the first half is pretty good.

I think it takes about three weeks to get used to a place, meet some cool people, learn a bit of the language, figure out some basics of how to walk and dress, find some foods you like, and feel comfortable, get your shoulders out of your ears and lose the “somebody’s going to steal my wallet” look that most tourists have. Find a way to care less about fitting in and more about appreciating the fact that YOU ARE the foreigner. You are the fricken weirdo. This is funny, because the American vacation is approximately two weeks and I think most people split that up into two one week vacations anyhow. Most Americans don’t even travel out of the United States… ever. (Check out this page). Soooo, most of us U.S.ers aren’t exactly practiced at it. Thus, the terrible stereotype that Americans have as tourists, I think. I question whether anyone really learns anything about a place they visit for a quick “ooh aah”. Sure, they can see a lot of cool stuff, but I think travel exists in more than just seeing stuff. If all of our travels are spent in the “wow, everything is so weird and foreign” stage, then we may lose the experience of being the foreigner, the stranger, in a regular land.

So, I am now at the stage of weirdo acceptance and to be quite honest, it fits me just fine.

Back to work.

1 comment:

Robin said...

hey weirdo there's something on your head when you're dancin