Small scenes from Istanbul

A little overwhelmed with jetlag and the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, so while I work on processing everything I’m seeing/hearing/smelling, here are some brief images of this amazing city:

A young girl, who can’t be more than thirteen judging by her size (but it’s hard to say without seeing her face), tugs at her chador. It is hotter than 90 degrees, and she waves the black fabric around her legs to create wind. Nearby, a woman’s bleach blonde hair peeks out from her neon pink headscarf.

Walking down Istiklal Caddesi, I saw several tiny girls – perhaps five or six years old – sitting on the ground, playing instruments or banging cardboard boxes against the ground. Later that night, in the Fındıkzade neighborhood, I see two Muslim women bend over to give money to a tiny girl selling Kleenex next to a bus station. Are these children refugees from Syria? Are the people who linger next to these girls her family, or people with more pernicious intentions? Will she be safe at night?

Sipping Efes at a table outside, fidgeting with the coasters. Two tom cats fight loudly in the Rasputin-themed bar across the street and pick on a smaller kitty who runs away.

On the way to the metro at Emniyet, a poster that must be five or six stories tall bears President Erdoğan’s face and an inspirational slogan. In anticipation of Victory Day on August 30, streamers with hundreds of tiny Turkish flags hang in the street.

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