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 Fragments of a Hologram Tulip - Miscellaneous Debris – Archive

Fragments of a Hologram Tulip

בקטגוריות: Uncategorized

18 Apr 2008

In William Gibson’s Neuromancer, the protagonists take a detour through Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. I can see why. It meshes it wonderfully with Gibson’s claustrophobic oldnew dystopia. Narrow streets, winding, rising, falling, interlocking. Old shops selling leather goods, silversmiths, hookahs. Children’s clothing, leather goods, Turkish delight. Spices, doner-kebabs, leather goods. Vendors outside storefronts playing backgammon tossing cigarettes out on the cobbled streets. Above them, hanging from the domed ceiling, LCD screens air commercials while earnest young men in ties hawk cellular accessories and foreign exchange booths flash updated exchange rates.

The place has potential to be breathtaking, but instead it’s just tiring.

***

Istanbul has street food figured out. Doner-kebab booths will sell you a decent bite for 2 Turkish liras, with a cup of cold Ayran on the side. Children pull carts of pistachios and sunflower seeds while others offer boiled corncobs and roasted chestnuts. I had a chicken shishlik on a corner with Said from Morocco last night, and a kid with a large kettle offered tea. Up near the Bosphorus they’ll sell you a mussel, cooked in its own shell with rice inside, for only half a lira – less than 2 shekels.

Istanbul smells of kebab during the day, chestnuts at night. It’s lovely.

**

Got to hand it to the tourist cafes. The coffee is crap and the beer is overpriced, but they have free wifi.

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