KAVAK TREES IN VAN
Who knew I was allergic to poplar trees? I love them— but sometime since they chopped down every single one in Istanbul, I developed an allergy. Once I went into a pharmacy and described the symptoms, they fixed me right up with a syrup and some pills. These are planted in rows just at the pier for the boats to Akdamar Island in Lake Van, where I wanted to go.
AZIZ IN THE ARMY
Remember Aziz Buday, who fixed my phone back in A Suphan? He became a Facebook and Instagram friend, and when he went into the Army some months after my visit, he asked me to draw his picture. Here he is!
What the well-dressed shepherd shall wear on a rainy day in the mountain village: Biblical shepherd’s crook, copious umbrella, rifle, cigarette and neon green tennis shoes. A friend of Ridvan’s, it was his flock we stopped for at Harmantepe, and I got this drawing. The sheep look like troops behind a general. I love this drawing.
ARTOS MOUNTAIN & KAVAK TREES
All over Van are these stands of white poplars with the white-streaked mountains behind. The lake is so vast it looks like a sea. As I drew this, the man in the picture walked up and down the rows, planting his field. I was waiting for the only boat to Akdamar. Since there was no tourism, there were no boats, but I lucked out: a large Turkish family had booked one, and they invited me to come along.
Ridvan took a day off work at the electrical plant, donned a suit, and drove me all over the mountains in the rain so I could draw his mother, sisters, uncle, friends and villages. What a guy!