I arrived in Istanbul after a sleepless overnight flight, painfully busting out of my skin from PMS bloat. I feel like even my ears are turgidly maxed out and distended. As an undergrad I took an ethnographic film course with Karl Heider in which we once watched a film about (and my memory is hazy here) islanders on Papua New Guinea. In it there was a scene in which a loin-clothed man dug up a plump, firm, white stichitee grub from the dirt and then bit into it. When he did, it snapped like a hot dog. I feel like that grub right now.
My associate, Julie, met me at the airport! This is the first time I’ve ever been met by anyone at Ataturk International. As I exited the customs area into the waiting room I received massive applause! A crowd of hundreds whistling and hooting. Apparently, I had gotten mixed in with a flight that had arrived from Islamabad. And their greeters were really, really enthusiastic. I wasn’t disappointed when I realized they weren’t cheering for me because Julie had gone out of her way to welcome me. Towering over the crowd at 6 feet, she was even more noticable holding a stick on which she had hung two bags of a la Turka Doritos! My favorite flavor (sun-dried tomato and poppyseed) and a new offering (poppyseed and hot pepper.) Then we rode the Havas bus into Beyoglu, shatting, eating chips, and enjoying the perfect weather.
When we arrived home, I turned on my laptop. It was on for all of five minutes when I had to leave the room to make some tea. When I returned, my computer was no longer on. And I have not been able to turn it on since. Tonight at my friend, Korhan’s show in Kadikoy a visiting artist asked me, “Aren’t you so upset? You seem so calm about it all.” To which I replied with sincerity, “What good whould it do to get upset? I can’t do anything about it.” The time for doing something was before and I regret that I did it half-assed. I did back many things up, but I’m afraid that unless the hard drive can be recovered I have lost my photos, my videos and my music. In essence, all of my memories. Some of these lost memories will turn out to be a blessing I am sure, freeing me of pain and suffering which I could have voluntarily inflicted upon myself had I the inclination to do so.
Presently, though, the most painful loss has been the current draft of the Caravansarai business plan which for whatever reason was not backed up by my periodic online backup service. All of my charts and tables (3 days of work) were not saved. I would say that this visit is off to a rough start if I wasn’t having so much fun. You can read about our project on the new Caravansarai blog. Those who are only interested in my bodily functions, chip mania and travelogues will be content to stay here.