Last night a guy follows me into a dark and abandoned street…

April 2014 — İstanbul, Turkey

 

Last night a guy follows me into a dark and completely abandoned street (right in front of my door) and tries to talk to me.

Says he wants to talk to me.

I have a sixth sense for perverts. This is no lost tourist asking for directions. And the innocent do not attempt harmless chitchat in the obscurity of darkness.

I whip around! I SNARL.
GO AWAY. I DON’T want to talk to you.

He keeps coming closer and tries to keep talking anyway.

Go AWAY. I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU.
I growl at him with all the pent up aggression that has built up in me from having to deal with the endless perverted sicko dickheads, dozens by the hour.

He wavers but he opens his dirty little mouth again,
and this time I yell at him. I feel as though the hatred in my voice might just be able to push him down. Down onto his slimy ass.

He is defeated. He knows he has to go, but he makes a desperate jab for my hair, too cowardly to make a move for my face, and too dastardly to simply turn around and go. He slaps my hair into the air and BOLTS. It may seem an odd and pointless gesture, but we both knew exactly what that meant.

It was contempt. It was disrespect. A pathetic attempt at a display of dominance…. gone pitifully awry, betraying more than anything… *COWARDICE*. He couldn’t properly take advantage of me… so he contents himself with feebly flicking my hair to the side. A meek but direct challenge to my command that he stay AWAY from me!

He bolts. I ROAR!!!!!!

HEY!! HEY!!! HHHHEEEEEEEEEY!!!!!!!!

…with a growl that would have enthralled a heavy metal fan.

In my fury I scream at him more senseless threats, raging on in unbridled anger… in a full-throated scream.

But I do not chase after him very far. This is sadly all to familiar to me now. My fury is great.. but my passion burns swiftly. I am able to calm down.

. . .

Much, much worse is the disappointment… the crushing crushing disappointment I feel at the reaction of the people around me I’ve subsequently confided in. Much, much worse is the disgust. The disgust I feel might poison myself and all the poor fools around me. I relate my hot fury and confess that the wretched sense of indignation still lingers as I wish that I had had a way to hurt the offender. To grab him by the hair and cruelly plunge his weasel face into a boiling pot of his own putrid cowardice…

 

By one guy I’ve been told that I’m overreacting to the catcalls on the streets. Maybe I should be flattered. He said.

If disappointment could burn………

To another male friend I said I wanted to learn to defend myself.

He told me to get a longer skirt.

 

I am now sitting in front of my computer, seemingly calm.

I am NOT calm.

I AM NOT CALM.

originally written : Nisan 2014 / April 2014 / İstanbul, Turkey

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Dubrovnik First Impressions

I fell in love with the beauty of Croatia within just 10 minutes
of leaving the teeny Dubrovnik airport
in a sour smelling shuttle bus.

Not the scent of upholstery mold nor the darkened grey windows
could mar the beauty of the Croatian countryside:
stone walls crumbling in grapevines,
lime trees rustling and laundry fluttering,
It was unlikely love at first dim sight under unflattering lighting.

And I have been scheming to return ever since.

 

***

I stumbled upon this market my first day exploring Old Town… and I was delighted!!!

rf day 1 market

I spent a long, long time ooogling at unfamiliar fruits and rustic-looking glass bottles of herbal ruby-red ointment and carob liquor.

The venders say something like… “proba, proba,” showing off sugar-coated orange peels, candied almonds, and dried figs… you use your elementary Spanish to guess they are saying “test, test” or “try, try” ..so you pop one exotic-looking treat in your mouth… or two…. the peels are incredibly sweet with a touch of sour, the nuts infallibly crunchy. The figs are MAGNIFICENT, —my favorite!— and available in all varieties: soft and juicy sun-dried, fresh and crisp, warm green, or deep purple!

The morning market is open every day, until around 1PM at Gundulić Square.

***

The entrance to one of the most heart-stopping, breathtaking moments from my entire time there…….

this moment took me by complete and utter surprise.

I had no idea – no one had told me that there was a hole in the wall to the outside… after hours and hours of walking enchanted and lost and alone in a maze of narrow stone streets and endless uneven steps… when I caught whispers of distant music on a sudden gust of wind, and followed my nose to the faint scent of kelp and sea salt… followed my nose to climb through the hole, pushing against the whipping wind…

I saw……….

rf buza

Buža Bar

***

Exploring within the walls, I’ve crossed this place a few times… and every time, it drew me in. It was somehow… intriguing… each time I saw it, whether by day or by night.

rf freshsheets ii

Perhaps it captures me so because it strikes me with such a strong presence of authenticity, a kind of snapshot glimpse into the lived-in Old Town — a kind of place that is surrounded beauty, stone, and sea, but also a kind of place where one sips coffee on a centuries-old back porch chatting with your lifelong neighbors as tourists walk by in awe and snap photos of your drying laundry…

 

 

originally written : September 12, 2013 / 12. rujan 2013 / Dubrovnik, Croatia

How I miss Paris today…..!

November 14, 2014

Exactly one year ago today, I arrived in Paris, insecure about my French, but so eager to try it out! I ran into a handsome stranger at the Charles de Gaulle Airport, and we navigated our way through the baffling République Metro station together with our luggage—nearly losing it all to a pair of scrawny, scrappy teenage thieves.

When we finally emerged from the underground, I got my first ever glimpse of Paris—the imposing Madeleine standing high, on that rainy, steely-grey morning.
We circled once around her, and then ordered cakes for breakfast at Ladurée.

And so started a seven month long, meandering voyage across seven countries. I walked three pairs of high heeled boots into a fine powdery polymer dust, ground in between the cobblestones. I broke two dance shoes and one red suitcase. I scribbled madly away aboard planes, buses, trains, a heaping mess of disorganized, barely decipherable addresses, maps, fleeting impressions, revelations, and declarations. My dreams, rants, ambitions. And along the way, I’ve created thousands of blurry, awful photos with poor composition—and even worse lighting.

Exactly one year ago today…

How I miss Paris today…. how I miss Paris today……!!!
Nothing I can do to console myself today…
So much the better. Don’t want distraction.
I’ll prefer, instead, to watch the memories waft and rise.. envelop me today.

I’ll just close my eyes.

I can see it all.