And I’m getting near reentry

Probably the biggest surprise in Istanbul was how easy it was to feel like a ghost. People flowed by in tsunamis in that city of 17 million (by one estimate), but Bob and I might as well have been invisible. I wore sundresses and only got flak at the Blue Mosque, from the flesh police; otherwise I was unhassled except in restaurants (women eating alone are not quite the respected customers they are in Sydney or Rome or Paris). Hucksters outside the cafes in the alleys off our hotel and on the “fish street” would relentlessly do the “lady, lady” come-on, but otherwise I walked in peace. And I found my Canon G9 was a essential interpreter. One day I snapped a cat hiding under a couch on a staircase lined with cafes and a woman darted out, scooped him/her up and posed, then said: “E-me, E-me.” I had no idea what she wanted till she ran back inside and brought out a business card with her email address. The same thing happened a few nights later at Ismet Baba in Uskudar, on the Asian side of the city: The waiters posed perfectly, then brought over a card with the email address. Near the end of the trip I stopped to take a mocking photo of the sign on the window at Bambi Cafe off Taksim Square and a counterman inside grabbed a co-worker to pose, both with huge smiles. So I’ll resist any jokes about venison kebabs.