Monthly Archives: January 2014

January 26th, 2014

My School in Istanbul – Day 8

If you stay somewhere for almost two weeks, you’re not always going to enjoy weather like this.


So today Istanbul woke up to cold, foggy, windy weather. It was almost a chore walking to school.

The school itself is only 10 feet wide, but 8 stories tall. Like something out of a Dickens novel, each floor has one classroom. If you’re a beginner, you have your course on the first floor. Second level, second floor, and so on.


Even without adjusting my phone camera, I was able to get the whole room in this picture. 

My course today (Sunday) and yesterday was a private lesson. I’m really enjoying the group lessons Monday through Friday, but what a difference!

Even if I have trouble stringing sentences together, in the private lessons the whole focus is on yours truly. I get to speak, speak, and then speak some more. Yesterday and today, in addition to telling my own life story, I summarized the plots of my first three books for the teacher, Doing Max Vinyl, Zombie Candy, and Collateral Damage. Next week I am supposed to summarize my latest book, Saving Raine. Have to look up a few words to prepare for that one …


My teacher thought everything sounded interesting, but asked how a man could ever write from a woman’s point of view? What do you think, dear readers – does Annie Ogden seem like a realistic female figure?

January 25th, 2014

Beautiful Bosporus – Day 7

Today my course started in the morning at 10 and finished at 2, so I spent the rest of the afternoon walking along the Bosporus. Here’s where I started:


Rain dampened the mood of the 13 million residents of the city, as I was walking to school, but by afternoon, the sun had come out. Lots of little boats moored along the shore.

Everyone knows, I’m sure, that the Bosporus, pictured here, links the Mediterranean Sea and points beyond (Suez Canal, Atlantic Ocean etc.) with the Black Sea. 


Note how low in the water the ship is riding. I’m guessing it’s loaded with gold, silver and bronze medals for the Olympics.


No complaints please about my appearance after two hours of hard walking, all the way to the picturesque neighborhood of Bebek, along the Bosporus. I’m guessing I put four miles on my poor shoes.

Entering the town, you see views like this. On both sides of the street you will find one fish restaurant after another, boutique hotels, and shops.

Now my legs had had just about enough, so I took the bus back as far as Kabatash, and changed to a tram which I took a few more stops, leaving me 10 minutes’ walk from my hotel. Which is where I am now, recovering!


January 24th, 2014

The Uncounted Citizens of Istanbul – Day 6

Kedi is the Turkish word for cat. There are thousands of stray cats wandering around, and I thought I’d share a few of their portraits.


A sight like this is enough to break your heart, but they seem to get along.

Now I’m starting to miss my own kittens. What a protected life they lead, fed twice a day, never exiting my apartment to confront the dangers outside …


Nothing compared to life on the street for this little calico …


Usually they have to fend for themselves, but some shopkeepers put food out for the local felines.


Not this one … she wandered around for quite a while, tail drooping, looking for something to munch on.


So in their honor I had a modest lunch today – this is a takeout cheese börek, a puff pastry with cheese filling, cut up into bite-sized pieces. I’m not sure how appetizing it looks, but believe me, it was delicious. Cost: $2.50.

January 23rd, 2014

Cooler by the Bosporus – Day 5

Never mind the wind and rain, this town can stand the punishment. My hotel is located in the shadow of the Galata Tower, built in the 1400s.

If you want to get a decent picture of yourself with the tower in the background, the photographer has to practically get down on the ground.

Constructed of stone and brick, the tower has a spire on top made of solid gold. The Galata Tower is one of the landmark sights of Istanbul.

Hidden from view because of the narrow streets, you can only take pictures like this, from the street with the electrical shops.

The fishermen on the Galata Bridge, a 20-minute walk down the hill from the Galata Tower, weren’t catching much last night.


Something from today’s class to end this entry (I took a picture of the board, below). As a group, we wrote a fairy tale about a prince who had everything, everything he wanted … except no princess. One day a maiden entered the kingdom, and she couldn’t speak. A bad witch had put a spell on her. One kiss from the prince was enough to break the spell. Ah, fairy tales …


January 22nd, 2014

Istanbul – Day 4

So, for those of you joining the program late, I am in Istanbul for 12 days and offering you some stories of my time here, together with pictures.

At dinner last night (see above), I found a Bufe, which is a kind of cafeteria where you can tell them what to put on your plate. The baked macaroni and cheese casserole is flanked by spinach cooked with olive oil and pine nuts, and broccoli and cauliflower. Together with my Coke and a cup of tea, I paid a total of $9. Not much atmosphere in that restaurant, but I just wanted to tank up.

My morning was more adventurous. I’ve known for two days I needed an adaptor. My laptop had reached 20% charge, and this blog would have ground to a halt without an adaptor. The hotel receptionist pointed me down the street. In one direction, you find one electrical supply shop after another. The whole street is lined with identical-looking shops. But which one has my kind of adaptor?

My lucky day, I thought, seeing adaptors in the window of this shop. You see them, there on the left? But the salesman shook his head when he looked at my Mac cable and gave me directions, about 1/10 of which I understood. Go left, then right, then left again. Or maybe it was right. Luckily he said the name of the place, Ender.

Ender, it says on the sign, and I went in. Using my rudimentary Turkish, I explained my need and showed him my cord. He reached in a bin and pulled out an adaptor. The price: $2.50.


Now my laptop is on 84%, and I’m happy. Back to my Turkish homework!