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Monday, June 12, 2006

A great week in Istanbul

I am awake again and while I am sitting in my room in London I can't stop thinking about all the wonderful things that happenend during the last week. I've been to Istanbul, where Lucy and I went for the 4th student Triennial. Students from all over the world came to exhibit work and exchange ideas.
We were lucky to being able to stay at Bugur's flat, she invited us to stay with her and her friends, which was a great opportunity to see and experience how students in Istanbul live.
In Istanbul many religions and cultures come together and it was amazing to see how they meet each other rather than clash together. To me, religion seemed to be much more evident in everyday life. On the last day for example, we've been to a dinner, organized by the triennial and they stopped the music for the prayer and continued it afterwards. It is those little things that shows you how respectful they must treat each other and it shows how deep-rooted religion is in Turkey.

Another thing that fascinated me even more was the social interaction. The city is full with little blue busses, you see them in the street, give them a sign, get on and pay one lira. If people get on the bus and find a seat at the back, they won't bother to get up again to pay the driver, instead they pass the coin on to the person in front of them and the money travels to the front, passing several hands before the driver takes it and, if necessary, passes the change back. I doubt this would work in England, it is much too spontanious and by far too personal.
In London you read a book in the tube, wear sunglasses in the street and rather face the wall than having to stare at a stranger. We do this in order to maintain that little bit of personal space that one needs to feel comfortable in a big city.
In Istanbul, you look at people you talk to them and smile. And you do this in order to maintain your bit of space as well but the tactic is to befriend the people that surround you, so that being close to them is more comfortable.

I really enjoyed Istanbul and I hope I will be able to go there again for a while, because there is so much left to see and do and I need much more than a week to grasp everything there is.
Finger's crossed.

more pictures from Istanbul, click.

europe asia
Originally uploaded by martina melitta.

Originally uploaded by martina melitta.


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