Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dogs and Flats


Concerning Istanbul’s notorious roaming hounds…These aren’t the pathetic cretins that I have encountered in Mexico and Thailand with their bodies ravaged by parasites and, consequently, left to scavenge through life with grapefruit-sized testicles, ill tempers, and patchwork fur. Like all creatures that are left to their own devices in the urban jungles of the world, the dogs are indeed affected by mange and melancholy. Their expressions may speak of lifelong hardship, but the locals treat them with a profound respect. The dogs are well fed and often even given a quick pat by neighborhood shopkeepers. I have undoubtedly seen a fashionista or two scamper quickly away when approached by an overzealous hound; however, I have been pleasantly surprised with the courtesy provided to these critters. Our friend and future landlord Ahmet explained that Istanbullas truly love animals and see the dogs as an intricate part of the city. Due to a very successful sterilization and release program (at least here in the inner city) it appears that this is the final generation of the street dogs. We have yet to see more than one or two puppies that are sans collar and autonomous - free from the tyranny/security of domestication. The extinction of these proud leaders of the streetscape will invariably move the roving bands of felines into the upper echelon of the alleyway hierarchy and who really is ready for leadership by cat?

On an unrelated (and more relevant) note – we found a great apartment in Kadikoy and will officially move to Asia on December 15th! The place is enormous – three bedroom, two balconies, storage closet, living room, dining room, kitchen – and is furnished a bit gaudy (complete with a crystal chandelier and strange, Baroque-esque furniture), but was a great deal, is a ten minute walk to work, and is centrally located in the neighborhood. After our rent allowance given by the school is taken into consideration, we are both paying about 200 lira a month for the place. I think there’s a word in the real estate business for that – Cleveland crackhouse cheap.  The owner Ahmet hooked up the place for his ex-fiancé, but after an unfortunate break-up he was left with a lonely flat that stirred memories better left unfettered. Hopefully, the place isn’t cursed…Anyways, the invitation is now officially open and the exodus shall begin – come to Istanbul all ye faithful, we’ve got the space if you’ve got the time. Steamships leave New York daily and a compartment in steerage shouldn’t run too steep…

2 comments:

Melanie said...

Hi Kids! Am I to believe that I raised you to think dogs are better than cats! we are all equal in the eyes of the creator! See Ya! Mel

Carol said...

I love your commentary on dogs. Maybe you should be working on a story and call it "tails of a city".