Itinerary of an accidental reporter: Day 1 of a revolution?

12:00 pm Wake up to sun shooting through blinds into living room where we are sleeping. Last night’s 3am bedtime music-making solidarity session set us back.

12:30 pm Check local news online. Check the NYT to see if they’re covering the story. Appears that transit has been shut down, bridges from old city to new are closed. Logistics now complicated for meeting friend who is in old city.

1:30 pm Grab a simit and coffee on the go; we’re late to meet the friend.

2:00 pm Day’s agenda: find a cafe(s) in a mellow neighborhood to avoid all crowds and protests. Friend, single mother of two, doesn’t want in on any of the action.

3:00 pm Walk up big hill in the hot sun to Cihangir neighborhood, a place with a boho vibe, lots of cafes, expats, and most likely no sign of a potential revolution.

3:30 pm Arrive to neighborhood and see massive crowds, folks with masks. Crap. We assess and see no police. BOOM. We were wrong. Tear gas. Time to run.

4:00 pm Walk down hill and look for alternative option. Find a calm cafe, have a late lunch. Strike up conversation with attractive young Turk sitting at table next to me. He’s a radio dj at a station up the street. Gives me the low-down on what’s happening.

5:30 pm Where to go? Settle in at another cafe, only to learn they close early tonight so staff can participate in the protests. We feel like eternal wanderers.

6:30 pm Find a spot to sit at the riverfront. Moments later, a group of spirited, outgoing teenagers practically sit on top of us. We become friends and we swap stories (photo). They listen to Jay-Z and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

7:30 pm Sun is falling. We head home. Cars rip down the street, horns sound. Flags wave red with Ataturk and people of all ages fill the streets. The air is heavy with anticipation, uncertainty, excitement. It’s all going down in Beşiktaş tonight. This is a revolt of the masses.

8:00 pm Buy some nuts and beer at the corner store and head to our rooftop to escape the scene. Pass by a handful of hardware stores-they already have a supply of googles and masks for sale. This is no joke.

8:15pm Stop outside the Neverland Hostel on our way home. Chat with some folks hanging outside. One guy has lightening in his eyes. Never before has the country come together like this, he says. People of all persuasions. Nobody asks where you are from, what you do, who you worship. We are all one in this. He is proud.

9:00 pm Night falls. I am exhilarated, exhausted. What is my part in this? Witness to a revolution*. Is it? I must share the story.

 

*More accurate to call this a revolt than a revolution.  Here’s a nice Op-ed about it.

Day 11 of 30; Postcards from Turkey

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~ by maureenmoore on July 19, 2013.

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