DSC_0040.jpgIstanbul’da means “in Istanbul” — I don’t know how to use that properly in a construction. I arrived to Gaziantep airport late this afternoon and snuck a portion of katmer (pictured) into my mouth at the gate.

Katmer is fried pistachio phyllo pastry. I like it with an espresso on the side. Many places in Gaziantep serve it for breakfast and sell out by noon.

The more I learn about the Turkish language, the more I like it. I wish I had invested in learning it at an earlier juncture. But of course we feel this way about all languages, at all times. My friend Mustafa, fluent in Turkish after four years away from Aleppo, always tells me Turkish is easy, pointing out that if you think otherwise you’ll only make it harder on yourself.

Taksim is empty despite perfect crisp temperatures. I grabbed a kofte sandwich from a street vendor and headed to Hafiz Mustafa, a dessert cafe here that is open 24 hours. Some patrons were irking me there. There are more beggars in the square today than tourists, all asking in Arabic. It is a poor location to gauge poverty, certain beggars being schemers, compared to the outskirts of Turkey’s cities, from Antalya to Gaziantep to Istanbul. And the state of construction never changes in Taksim, the government can’t seem to finish the same sidewalks after four years.

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