Thanks For All The Fish

As dusk descends, we make our way to Galata bridge. That famous connection between old Constantinople and modern Istanbul with it`s constant congestion to savour the freshest fish in the city. The tables precariously stand across the rocks going towards the shore. Deciding not to take the touristy view of The Blue Mosque in all its sunset splendor, we retreat to the cosy, checkered, covered tables huddled between other locals ready for their night out. Besides, the wind doesn`t whip up so strong there. As the city descends into darkness, I fall into a kind of ebony heaven. Tasting fish has always been a delight for me, ever since I spent a year in Japan in my early twenties. Finding something this fresh is a rare delight, especially living in Austria, and being with someone who knows all the bits to enjoy is an added thrill.
Light-bulbs hang from the trees in an ad hoc fashion as laughter begins to flow with wine and Efes beer. Voices overlap each other and bodies come closer together as the wind whips up off the Bosporus. We wait till spirit moves us then take a walk through the old town. The narrow streets are deserted only emptiness stretches out before us, in the distance the birds circle the mosque seemingly looking for something and never finding what it holds in it`s amber glow. Suddenly a car rushes round the corner, someone jumps hastely out startling us and shouts up to a heavily shuttered window upon high. Emptiness and silence pour back down on him. Just as quickly as before, he jumps back into the car again and it screeches off. We look startled on. The street is silent except the buzz from the neon street lamps. My heart is thumping, anticipating the next movement around the corner, but all I see is a lonely street stall . It`s open past hours with work clothes thrown to the floor next and to a crumpled beer can, the worker is nowhere in sight.
Where now? The performances have long finished. We`re miles away from tourist havens and have weaved our way into a locals path, with gangs of youths sprawled-out on brashly coloured bean seats, lining the Galata Bridge shore. The Huzun remains, I can feel it, even more so with a slick of bright paint and sheesha smoke. We step-up onto the bridge and as I dodge a fisherman tugging hard on their catches, I crash into another reaching down for his shot of maggots. Somehow I feel more a part of the city than I would attending one of it`s many cultural events, intrinsically wrapped within its network of historical and modern intricacies. Walking across a bridge first designed by Leonardo da Vinci and then finally by a Turkish construction company, all the paradoxs existing simultaneously. A beer can clinks to the floor bringing me back from my thoughts and I take a last glimpse across at the amber minaret.