Friday, November 6, 2009
FISH & FISHERMEN
Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Islands, Dardanelles, Mediterranean Sea, Bosphorus, Sea of Marmara, Feribot, deniz otobus, fish and fishermen. What wonderful memories I carry around from living in such close proximity to all that water.
Our apartment building in the Goztepe section of Istanbul was two blocks off the Sea of Marmara. At any time of the day we could look out the front windows of our apartment and see the Marmara, the islands right off the coast, and if the day was clear enough we could see over to the part of the old city on the “nose” of the coast as it rounds into the Golden Horn.
To get anywhere, it most often entailed a taxi ride to a dock and then a ride on either a Feribot or a deniz otobus (a smaller catamaran “feribot”). It all depended on where you were going and where you were coming from.
In the summer many people moved to one of the Princes Islands off the coast. The air was always “fresh” – a bit cooler than in the city and far less crowded. Any time you felt the need for a change, hopping on a ferryboat to Heybeliada or Buyukada was called for. One of the most delightful days of my life was spent at the island home of Walt and Vivian Leitner. They invited three couples to their house for a meal and a visit. We slightly knew the other couples, and it turned out to be one of those rare occasions where everything was perfect – the companionship, the locale, the hosts – and here almost 20 years later I still remember it as one of life’s serendipitous days. We might have talked all night but the feribot wouldn’t wait for us, so reluctantly we made our goodbyes and left.
Jerry loves fish, and one of his favorite fish restaurants was on the Bosphorus. We considered our driver, young Ahmet, as a good friend and asked him to have dinner with us whenever we went out. We did not want him sitting over in a corner eating by himself. I needed him for another reason: at this restaurant a big tank of fish sat just inside the restaurant door. Patrons were to pick out the fish they wanted to eat for dinner. I could not do that. I always asked Ahmet to do it for me. He did, and while I admit to enjoying the freshness of the fish, I couldn’t let myself think about how it got on my plate. I am still an old softie.
I found lots of things to photograph as we nosed around the various waterfronts. I can’t say as they were always “scenic” pictures to help me remember what a particular place looked like, but again, looking at these photos instantly brings back the images and the smells of those places where I took the photograph, a place and a time I'll never forget.