Book 23 – Ch Ch Ch Ch Ch CHANGES – July 2008-May 2009 – Trici Venola – Star of Hagia Sophia: Her name is Gli but since our new President petted her on TV, the guards call her Obama Kedi. Into the aftermath of 8 years of war and recession, the Obama campaign, promising change, burst like a meteor. The sudden surge of hope lit my whole world. Obama Gli Kedi lived a long happy cat life, with her own Instagram account and many followers. She died in 2020, when Hagia Sophia became a mosque.
LEYLA & YGOR
-Leyla & Ygor – Summer 2008 – A startling resemblance to the Empress Theodora—–Same eyes, nose and mouth. But blonde! Ygor is of course as photogenic as ever.
WINTER DUSK SULTANAHMET
Looking from the back of Erten Konak Hotel at the Terrace Wall and the Blue Mosque on a cold winter day. But did I care? A sheet of plate glass between the elements and me, elegance all around, and tea from the management.
PUPPY IN THE WINDOW
-Hot & singing outside – Puppy making a perfect composition of my bedroom window. Summer 2008—–trying to gauge if he could leap the four floors down and not die. I felt awful keeping him inside, but there wasn’t any way to let him back in again when he wanted to come.
-An August twilight on my balcony over the Boukoleon Palace ruins and the railroad – Looking out at the Marmara as the trains roar by below – Rendered months later in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in a cafe echoing with “Obama”—–I drew this because of the ship at left center, barely visible in the dusk. I liked this drawing so much I put it into Drawing On Istanbul 2, and spent hours on the computer removing my comment from the background. But I left it in here; it’s a happy memory.
LAZZARIN CAFE SUMMER &FALL
…Breakfast at Lazzarin Cafe, where the trees grow up through the roof & I have never seen the same waitress twice. Today it’s KATSI pronounced “Katsa” – August 2008—–In Plovdiv, Bulgaria, a town I love.
-Again the train to Plovdiv for my visa run… – November 2008 – Freezing outside the same cafe—–I loved that cafe! Every three months for three years I had breakfast there. And I actually DID see Katsi twice.
JAPAN IN PLOVDIV
–Dog days of August – Thank God I brought a hat – Toiled up the old city hill in searing heat & could go no farther -Poured water over my nape & feet & saw the flowers…white and lavender flowers that turn French blue when they die – Another lush rambling park in Plovdiv –
Getting a sunburn on my neck trying to copy this inscription- had to leave a lot out. [Much printing in Japanese] – Dunno who this guy is, looks like a Samurai St Francis, but Plovdiv thought enough of him to put up this excellent bronze in their park—–The bronze is of a Japanese fairy tale hero who loved animals. I love this town.
OLD MEN IN PLOVDIV
–Old guys sitting around a moss-faced, drying fountain. Wonder what they’ve seen. Wonder what the TREE has seen!
OLD MEN IN PLOVDIV
-“Three-Montsiam” – “Three Mountains” is the old name for Plovdiv.
AND KISSED MY HAND
-Watched intently while I drew him & then kissed my hand -Plovdiv – 2008—–Writing this for the site over a decade later I am still moved.
BYZANTINE GATE IN PLOVDIV
-Byzantine -Gate -Old City -Plovdiv -Bulgaria – Searing white August afternoon 2008—–At last, after all those studies… an upright take on HisarKapi, in the center of Oldtown Plovdiv. The Gate is Byzantine, shored up by Ottomans. The foundations are Greek. The wooden gabled houses were built centuries ago by Ottoman Turks.
CHURCH RAMBLE IN PLOVDIV
-Yeesh! These frescoes look like they were painted in the dark by the sacristan’s no-talent nephew. No, NO sanctity in age, like Thrift-Store Painting*— okay, I can get behind that – *Thrift-Store Painting Genre: Art rendered with passion and care but no skill – Indifferently-painted frescoes & a melted-wax tombstone… it’s murderously hot but there are no seats in the cool church. Some Christians! – All the livelong day in the heat & at last the lamps come on—–Fascinating at how very old carved marble looks like slightly melted wax.