Watching the afternoon slowly turn to evening. Sky’s blue slowly getting darker, lights coming on a yellow wash into the streets and reflecting bulbs off windows. Suns last brilliant show and that’s it. Night. So it is that I noticed my second day in Istanbul that something seemed to be up. Now it could be a couple different things. My friends have theorized. One: I am a country born and bred kinda girl. And out in the flatness of the countryside, hilly but without mountains, no real tall building to speak of. It is easy to imagine that the sunsets took more time, lazed around a bit at the horizons lip before dipping into night. Two: It’s about latitude. I am from a northern area and Istanbul is nearer the equator. Hence the sudden drastic change in daylight.
Whatever the reason, imaginary or factual. I was out with a friend all day enjoying my first full day in this new city. Slightly buzzed with jet lag. The sun was gently setting, a very soft orange. We were walking around. Figured maybe we had another hour left. When suddenly it was gone and dark. The switch flipped. I thought my tired time confused mind was playing tricks on me. But the next day as I desperately tried to get back from my friends new apartment to my hotel in the center of Kadikoy. The same phenomenon. I sat on the mini-bus anxiously watching for the water which would tell me I’d come close to my destination. Still gripping the seat , sweat and fear…I am lost and sure of it. So, I get off early and follow the stream of people down a busy street lined by shops, puffed up wedding dresses guarding the upper stories of buildings on both sides of the street. And then the sunlight is suddenly gone. I feel ice cold now, and not because of a drop in temperature. There is something decidedly scary and creepy about roaming an unknown neighborhood of a foreign city in the dark and alone.
I am only sure of my hotel name and have only one three words of turkish. A shy and almost inaudible ‘Evet’-yes and ‘Hayir’-no but a nonunderstandable pronunciation of ‘teşekkurler’-thanks. In a t-shirt shop I show the card of the hotel and from pointed directions find the water again. Shut the door to my hotel room and breath deeply. The sounds of the street, yelling and cars and tapping high heel shoes, come up through my opened window. I think to myself the sun could have waited a little longer.