Istanbul

April always makes me a little nervous.  All that new green showing itself.  Flowers.  Plants.  Reveling in an ecstasy of self-indulgence.  For a Canadian, such excess seems suspect.  But California, northern California that is, doesn’t care.  It just keeps making these spring-like gestures.  Even the weather is getting into it, warming up a bit today and aiming for the high 70s/low 80s on Sunday.

Am I complaining?  No.  It’s a stunning place to live.  I have no complaints.

It was spring when I moved here in 1963—May.  My friend Barb and I took a train from Vancouver that landed us in Oakland.  A short bus ride planted us in ‘Frisco’ as we called it then, thinking we were sophisticated to call it that.

I’ve never left.

I love this city more than any other in the world, except for Istanbul.  It has a similar setting, surrounded by the Bosphorous and the Sea of Marmara, a body of water that connects the Mediterranean Ocean to the Black Sea.  The city seduced us with it minarets and multiple layers of history.  The haunting calls at 4:30 AM from the mosques.  Streets filled with Europeans, Muslims, Americans, Canadians, and more.  It was and still is the crossroads of the world, much like Venice.  (And has a similar effect on me as Venice did:  I feel transported when I’m in either place to another time.)

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