Thursday, 26 June 2008

Parties last night in little Istanbul following the win-win game between Turkey and Germany kept us entertained for hours. After the initial disappointment, those Turks who are nationalised Germans but Turkish in heart and culture joined the scenes of jubilation. We watched the game at Prisma Pavilion, a small outside bar right on the canal that so neatly divides sprawling Kreuzberg and Neukolln.

After the game finished we made our way into a more central area, joining the crowds pushing towards Oranienstra╬▓e, hungry for revels. Groups of people gathered outside Turkish backereis and bars, sound systems were dragged out into the streets and the police – who operate with a real sense of distance and menace – closed off streets. Traffic still tried to push its way through the throng, easing and nudging into impromptu games of football and dancing girls draped in the red flags of Turkey, many with delicate paintings on their cheeks, one flag on each, Turkey and Germany together. Much had been made beforehand of the conflict between the two, the segregation experienced from both parties. Unemployment is high in young Turkish men (some reports put it at forty percent) and there can be little or no contact between them and the other citizens of the city who live beyond their borders. And yet, filled with a faint sadness as we move into our new apartment, living in little Istanbul posed us no problems and we saw no sign of division. However, moving over to the East is a different experience in ways I cannot yet write of.

The new place will not take us long to settle into and affords us more space than before. Both Cara and I are beginning to miss working, miss the routine and purpose of that exercise, mundane as it is. This apartment, not only for its beautiful courtyard and chestnut trees complete with resident blackbird, will allow us to focus on the tasks in hand. Here I sit writing in the kitchen, always my place of preference, while Cara is in the other room sorting papers on the expanse of the glass table she has taken as her own. Holiday is officially now over, and from here on in we are both set to make something of our time and ourselves.