Tuesday, June 05, 2007

from Istanbul: water

We leave our magnificent little rooftop dining place, the Doga Balik (see previous post) – the one with painted blue chairs, and fresh fish on ice (point to your preference and it will be grilled for you) and groups of Turkish diners who stay far longer than we do. Tired, we zip in a cab back to our perfect, small hotel with the lovely modern bathroom.

It is amazing how many functions a hotel ceases to perform well if, one evening, the city fails to deliver to it water.

When will it be here?
Maybe in fifteen minutes…

We laugh. No big deal.

In the middle of the night we wake. They call it jet lag, I call it a first night of travel thing: you want sleep and you want wakefulness. Badly. At various points in the night, one or the other takes control and you just have to run with it.

Even though there is no water.

Thirsty, we raid the mini bar. Evian. Yum.

When?
We’ll let you know soon.

Silence.

At three in the morning, we ask again.

When?
Anxious to please they give an answer.
By five maybe.

By five, when there is no water, we give in to sleep.

Seven-thirty.

When?
An admission: We do not know. The manager will be here soon.
When?

At eight.

The water comes before the manager.
Wake-up, there’s water!
Sputter, sputter. False hope.

When?
Sorry, we are waiting for the government. It is their problem. They have to send us water.

We go for a walk. It may be a city-wide (neighborhood?) problem, but the city seems to managing well without it. Children are walking to school, men are selling pretzels, shopkeepers are washing the sidewalk by the store, caf├ęs are open.

Interesting.

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We find a terrific little spot and have a breakfast of noodle-like pastry with cheese.


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We’ll be returning next week. For now, a flight to catch. To Oslo, via Amsterdam. Hoping for governments to feel kindly toward the tourist who, well, likes water.