02004-08-12 | Uncategorized | 11 comments

What I remember most fondly from our first trip to Istanbul – we went again in 1997 to perform a public concert with the XL band – is, of course, a human gesture. It was fantastic to see the underground water storage halls of the Ottomans, it was great to see the mosques (the ostrich eggs that hang in all of the mosques keep the spiders away), to walk around the great bazaar, to drink Turkish coffee etc. etc… but one gesture stands out in my mind.

I decided to go to the old part of Istanbul very early one morning to make some location recordings. I approached our Turkish driver and asked him whether he could pick me up at the hotel around 3am. He said he would be waiting in front. The next morning I got into his car with my DAT recorder and a microphone and he took me to some choice spots around town.

I spent about an hour recording sounds and when I was ready to go back to the hotel, the driver instead took me to a little bar or cafe right by the Bospherus. It was still cold by the river as the city was waking up. The driver insisted on buying me coffee and while I drank the wonderful and bitter brew the sun cleared the horizon. I enjoyed that this man, who spoke practically no English, and whom I had asked to get up so early, nevertheless took me to one of his hang-outs and bought me coffee.

Later I learned that since the driver lived quite a distance from our hotel and since he was working late the night before, he slept in the car in order to pick me up so early.

There is something special about moments like these… like two ships passing on the ocean…


  1. Carol

    And I heard that when you went into one cafe they were playing your music. You were assured that they regulrly did. Is that right?
    I hope they are able to enjoy all of your albums there.
    What a wonderful experience…for all of us…Thank you for letting us “join you”

  2. Carol

    Oops, I mean a nightclub. and they were playing “Borrasco”

  3. Robin

    Great story…those moments make the best memories.

  4. Carolynn

    This guy must have sensed what a special person you are to make him want to do this for you. : )
    This is a fabulous story. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Adam Solomon

    After living in a city like New York for so long, you start to forget how nice most people can be :) What a great guy!

  6. nick whalen

    Very cool indeed. You’ll find that so many in the ME are friendly, not all, dependant on location of course, and your attitude. this story reminds me of my buddy’s trip to Iraq a few weeks ago, he insisted that he paid for the cab fair but the drivers would not let them. This was in Kurdistan or what should be Kurdistan. Once he got into Baghdad however, he paid. I’ll link the story for you all to read and enjoy.

  7. Matt Callahan

    Got to read this during my lunch break today. A very nice way to get away from work.

  8. Borya

    A wonderful story indeed. Let it be a tip for my fellow readers – especially Carolynn: put Istanbul on your “to do” list + find out… it’s worth the trip.

  9. Carolynn

    Noted! …If I ever get to make it out of the country on a vacation!

  10. Carol

    How many people have touched us deeply with just a smile or simply a feeling of connection and then are gone. Yet once in a while you remember and smile and wonder if they remember too.


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