Sunday, February 19, 2012

Izmir to Istanbul

On Saturday, I also visited some old synagogues which had been left to crumble along the curvy alleys. A more recent synagogue was open and quite beautiful. I was surprised to see it wasn't in a Sephardic style. While in the synagogue, a friend of a friend of my mother's, a middle aged Jewish man, was talking about the history and current situation of the Jews in Izmir with me. The two Muslim women we were with kept shushing us. The man wispered to me, "They don't realize, we're Jews; we talk!"

Sunday featured a visit to the ancient city of Ephesus. Some people leave part of their hearts there. I left part of my tooth. It broke off on a hardened chocolate bar. Walking through the ancient ruins of Ephesus was surreal. There was thousands of years of history cast to the side. It really amazing how advanced they were so long ago. We can't lose our link with those who came before.

The car ride back was pleasant and peaceful. As the sun set. the shadows rested on the brown moutains. When we got to the outskirts of Izmir, I was told that the Gypsies have been moved from their homes to luxury apartments, but some, particulalry the older ones, don't want to go. Change can be difficult. Many houses are built up illegally. The goverment gave these people deeds right before the election to ensure their votes.

As soft romantic mood filled the car on the drive back, once we got into Izmir, that music wouldn't do amid the chaos of traffic in the city. Later, I had dinner with my mom's friend's mother and talked with mom's friend's son about his upcoming trip to America.

To get to Istanbul, I took a car, shuttle bus, bus, metro, walked, took the tram, and walked some more. When the shuttle reached the ottogar (bus station) in Izmir, I tried to lift my huge heavy bag over the seats and out. There was one problem. There was an inexplicable step in the middle fo the aisle. I tripped and banged my knee pretty badly. Assessing the injury, I nearly vomitted. But once I realized it was minor, I was fine.

On the bus, the man sitting next to me was too tall and sleeping all over me. I spent much of the ride tried to shove him back to his side through clenched teeth. The walk from the metro to the tram is not entirely obvious. So, I decided to follow a pretty girl in the hopes she was going to the tram. My stalkerish move worked! Now, I'm going to rest for a couple hours before trekking out (likely) into European Istanbul unless I have a change of heart.

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