Mom told me that raining season has started when I was away. So I have missed the beginning of the raining season. Surprisingly I didn’t feel any loss even though I had always been fond of “the beginning of the raining season.”
This morning I woke up to a wet morning in San Francisco. The dripping rain was soft as a velvety cloth. My mind is still not quite back yet. Not willing to settle into a working routine. My mind’s eyes look at everyday occurrence with a startled expression, like a young puppy fascinated by the newness of everything.
Not much has changed since we were away. The gas price has risen, the commute hour traffic is worse, tenant parking in our apartment building is more chaotic, and more people quitting at work and more new faces, too.
Life goes on. I remembered the time when I left for my Ecuador trip in the spring of 2002. I was very closely monitoring the development in Middle East; so not being able to know the daily development of the peace process was making me anxious. Then I met Caroline who had been traveling in South America for eight months. I asked her, did it bother you not being able to monitor the world news closely? She shrugged, not really because usually the news remained the same really. I didn’t believe her at first, but soon I realized she was right. Nothing really changed. Three weeks later after I got back from Ecuador, the Middle East situation remained surprisingly similar to what had been.
Nothing has changed much this time, either. People are still asking the same question they had asked when I was leaving, “Why Turkey?”
I still couldn’t really answer it.
Probably the reasoning for me was half romance, half curiosity –romantic because Istanbul sounds so exotic, curious because I had never been to a Muslim country.
I’m glad that I went. I’m also growing wary that as one travels to more and more places, one’s future travel choices grew smaller and smaller.
“The essence of travel is to slow the passage of time.” Robert Kaplan said.
Yet, everywhere I went, I felt the futility of traveler’s attempt. The old town of each glorious city was like the small grain of sand that was left in one’s palm. The rest flew out like sand in water.
The passage of time stops for no one. The entire world is hurrying off to catch up with the developed world, to become one big happy shopping mall…
That, was how I felt on my first day in Istanbul…