An accident report

This is something of an accident report but a story of the perils of world travel all the same.

I was walking down the street and about to cross a road when a car turned onto the street I was about to cross. I stopped and watched the car itself stop and then, of all things, reverse itself into traffic, something you would not want to do in Istanbul. So as the road was clear I took a step and went straight over as the reason the car had stopped and reversed was because a set of road barriers which were buried in the road had lifted right into the path where I had just stepped. My knees are now both bruised and very sore and my trousers are torn and in the bin. The fellow monitoring the street barrier came running up to me and told me in English straight up – no local would obviously have done the same – that the barriers lifted automatically and he had had nothing to do with it.

This kind of security is everywhere here. Cannot get into the university without a bag check and a taxi does not drive up to the hotel without a mirror used to check for bombs beneath the car. The hotel also has these hidden barriers and now that I have begun to notice, they are, indeed, everywhere.

All that aside, there are remnants of Byzantium, Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire everywhere. A Roman aquaduct runs through the middle of the city. The traffic, however, is unbelievable. No matter where you come from, it is about the first thing everyone notices and mentions to others. But for me, it’s not the traffic but the walking that’s been the problem. Tomorrow I present, and knees or not, up on that stage I will go.

24 Hours Later: Ah, the riddle of the sphinx has now been answered in person. I have gone from four legs to two legs and now to three. Went off to the Grand Bizarre to pick up a walking stick. I can barely move without it but now with it can at least get around. My knees are red and sore and a stroll which would have taken me twenty minutes two days ago ended up taking an hour. But a very nice walking stick which my wife beat down from 75 lire to 40 where both buyer and seller were very happy. I specially liked the chap’s sales pitch, that he would cheat me less than anybody else. Hoping this is only temporary but who can ever know.

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25 Responses to An accident report

  1. JamesK says:

    Once more unto the breach, dear Steve

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B. says:

    Steve, bad luck. I hope you are OK now and that your paper is not affected by painful knees. A woman once ran up the back of my car with a screech of her brakes while I was patiently, not moving at all, waiting at traffic lights. She jumped out and screamed at me “How dare you reverse into me?” (talk about getting your retalliation in first!).

    How about that hippodrome in Istanbul? You can see the actual course of the track up there near the Hagia Sophia. Imagination flies, listen to those horses go and the Roman crowd roar. Those bronze horses stolen by the Venetians and now rising up in St. Marks (replicas on the front) used to rear up over this hippodrome. Have you been for a cruise on the Bosphorus? It’s well worth doing, just for a few hours, as the extent of the wealth and the way in which the city was sited become very apparent from the water. Magnificent.

    Our hotel room in the Old City had a chaise lounge in white satin with great big glass diamond studs. Such fun. They are into magnificence in a big way. The Ottoman palace has the biggest diamond ever: go there too if you get the chance.

  3. Gab says:

    Oooh ouch! That’s a terrible thing to happen, Steve. And what an inconvenience when travelling too. Hope you’re on the mend.

    If you get a chance, a photo of the offending barrier please? (I’m just trying to imagine what these ninja barriers look like).

  4. Winston Smith says:

    In Australia, that barrier would have to be hand operated, with warning bells and lights.

  5. dover_beach says:

    You should be awarded the classical liberal equivalent of a Purple Heart, Steve.

  6. kae says:

    Dover

    He’s got The Purple Knees.

  7. . says:

    My knees are now both bruised and very sore and my trousers are torn and in the bin.

    For a moment I thought I was reading Malcolm Fraser’s autobiography.

  8. Gab says:

    I must admit to having re-read that line about the binned trousers. On first read it seemed that the trousers were removed then and there on the spot. lol

  9. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B. says:

    Bosphorus cruise a good opportunity to sit down for a few hours too, Steve and still enjoy yourself.

  10. Les Majesty says:

    Good lord the traffic in Istanbul is not crazy like Cairo, Bangkok or KL.

    Anyway Istanbul has awesome cheap and clean PUBLIC transport that can take you anywhere.

    Bosphorus cruise is awesome.

    Anyway sorry about your knees, even if you are a right-wing nutbag.

  11. Mother G says:

    Ah Beloved Istanbul, a city I will visit again this year, it has captured my heart.
    Now to security matters. Was living in Dublin when the British Ambassador was assassinated when a car bomb was detonated under his car. It was the 70s and I often wore long dresses. I went to the usual hotel where my hairdresser had a salon. The men streaming into the hotel with briefcases were not checked but this female wearing a long dress was patted down and her handbag emptied.

  12. Kelly of Kenmore says:

    Don’t you just hate travel stories like this which consist mostly of complaint about personal inconvenience and misadventure with barely a cultural nod (two sentences) recounted as if by an automaton.

    For an antidote: read the lapidary writing of Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul: Memories and the City?

  13. wreckage says:

    Kelly, this is a personal anecdote about an injury, not a travel blog. It’s entitled “accident report”. The key to understanding is usually context. The radio traffic report from Istanbul is probably very poor travel journalism too.

    Thanks for the book recommendation though; but there was no need to be bitchy. You could have given the rec without sounding like a condescending try-hard.

    There’s a time to just turn off the antipathy and communicate with people you usually disagree with, but sadly, in doing so, one often loses the warm glow of superiority, the even warmer glow of anger at the out-group, and the intellectual security of knowing for sure that everyone who takes a different side than you is a terrible human being.

    Don’t try it. Growth is painful.

  14. Kelly of Kenmore says:

    wreck, like most men posting on this blog you’ve got mummy or women issues. Don’t let me stand in the way of your need to vent against your version/experience of de bitch. Frankly, it’s amusing on a continuum to yawnsville.

    The core of the OP is not that he had bad experiences but that he had them in another country. There would be no point in recounting them otherwise.

    As for growth, it’s not a personal goal. I’ve already overshot that marker in all possible ways. Not my problem or my fault if you feel inferior.

  15. squawkbox says:

    As for growth, it’s not a personal goal. I’ve already overshot that marker in all possible ways

    Try weightwatchers.

  16. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B. says:

    Kenmore, I’ve just got in and read this nastiness in disbelief. (The Ape has been holding the fort, blazing away the lights for the Hour of Power.)

    What a pathetic piece of post-menopausal misery you are, Kelly. No wonder you are so friendless you have to intrude on this blog and drag down its standards of decency, which are actually quite strong about things that really matter, as well as your efforts managing significantly to lower the intellectual quality of its debate because people recognise your presence here.

    Wreckage gives excellent and considered advice. Take it, and you will be a happier person and maybe someone will put their arms around you and care. Until then, you will always manage to sound the wrong note, drop comments that fall through the floor, and attempt wit and repartee that fails.

    Also, get some hormones. You need oestrogen. It shows.

  17. wreckage says:

    Quoth wreckage:

    There’s a time to just turn off the antipathy and communicate with people you usually disagree with, but sadly, in doing so, one often loses the warm glow of superiority, the even warmer glow of anger at the out-group, and the intellectual security of knowing for sure that everyone who takes a different side than you is a terrible human being.

    Don’t try it. Growth is painful.

    I sound like the very embodiment of sagacity, don’t I Kelly? I’m really pleased that you took my advice to heart, but, darlin’, it was meant to be ironic.

    Replied K of K:

    you’ve got mummy or women issues.

    like most men … need to vent against your version/experience of de bitch.

    As for growth, it’s not a personal goal.

    You’re amazing. You troll yourself. Well, I guess whatever you’re angry about, you have your reasons. I just want you to know we’re cool, and anytime you want to talk, just let me know.

  18. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B. says:

    There’s a time to just turn off the antipathy and communicate with people you usually disagree with,

    That’s the bit of wreckage’s sage advice to really take heed of, Kelly, as I forgot you inhabit an irony-free zone.

    Steve, if you poor sore knees injured and endured in unfamiliar foreign climes serve the social purpose of waking Kel up a bit to her human responsibilities, it may not be all’s well that end’s well for you yet, but your suffering has not been entirely in vain. 🙂

  19. Gab says:

    Don’t you just hate travel stories like this which consist mostly of complaint about personal inconvenience and misadventure with barely a cultural nod (two sentences) recounted as if by an automaton.

    wreck, like most men posting on this blog you’ve got mummy or women issues. Don’t let me stand in the way of your need to vent against your version/experience of de bitch

    What I detest are supercilious shemales like you, Phil, who have a bitter and twisted view on anything a male says or does and whose only purpose in life seems to be to suck the very essence of joy out of existence.

    You clearly cannot comprehend the difference between an economic blog and a travelogue.

    You poor sad lonely autogynephiliac, no friends and home alone on a Saturday night. No wonder you’re so sour and dour. Or perhaps it is because of your saturnine demeanour that you spit and froth and are thus left to your pathetic and lonely existence. I pity you.

  20. Mk50 of Brisbane says:

    Bravo! Bravo!

    (cue wild applause)

    Wreckage, Lizzie, Gab.

    First class and utterly brutal troll-squishing, and done with a style, panache, flair and ruthless brutality I can but envy.

    I tend more to using their own tactics against them, and adding mockery and sneering patronism.

    So I doff my cap at your vastly superior style. Brilliantly done.

  21. JC says:

    Kenmore:

    Why all the bitterness?

  22. Mk50 of Brisbane says:

    Never seen anyone smashed to flinders so utterly in so few posts.

  23. Winston Smith says:

    The thing that defines all lonely Leftards?
    The sneer.

  24. Jc says:

    Lol…they it on here all the time, but it doesn’t work.

  25. Peter Patton says:

    Lizzie

    On the hippodrome, those crazy Romans/Byzantines made our football hooligans look like pussies!

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