A friend on YOLDA: You only live during adventures, doing anything, dealing apples?
Who shall say?
The gradual immersion in Turkish and the unexpected meal on the flight. Jasper looks through the window of the bus (to Taksim) at the drizzly weather and says, “F***, I only have one pair of shoes and there is a hole in it! I kid you not. ” A cosy chat with the driver is not a guarantee that you are not swindled for 35 TL for what normally is an inexpensive ride. But we were in a hurry because we had to eat and had a concert to attend!
The charismatic Galip of De Centrale and the very tired Wim of Handelsbeurs Concertzaal lead us through the crowded alleys full of smells of fish and roast meats, coloured vegetables and boxes of lokum. We got lost on our way through Istaklal Caddesi; I look at the people.
At the restaurant I run into other people of the project that are about to leave. We eat the left over mezze and have a quick bite of lamb and köfte, while I try to master the Turkish that Galip occasionally spills.
While descending the hill I muse about places where I have walked during my previous visit.We get a taste of the last half hour of Yasemin Mori’s concert, who will join us at the Istanbul Ekspres Festival. The venue is a somewhat dingy hall, in an alley. Beer is just peddled on the street. The setting suits the music well: Onun müziĝi biraz Karišik, güzel ama, I judge later. Eclectic, often funky, sometimes dreamy. Awesome. During the last song the band keeps on jamming, while the singer gets off the stage and walks out.
On our way back to the hotel we bumped into some other people of the project; a contemplative beer or two and some shots seem inevitable. We put all our information together to create some clarity about where we are going and how, because migrating proceeds simply chaotic. Besides making wild strike plans, the musicians and camera men also think about the nature of the project: how does the exchange work? Who has more or less to say? How do you make some good music together? Which sounds, what images are we looking for? “I’d like to just stand in the streets and improvise with everyday life. That is real art,” Stijn says.
Galip also joins us with some friends who speak Russian as well, a language that Jonathan and I also master a little bit. It makes the melting pot even richer. They take us for a late night çorba, the best tripe soup of the city, at 2 a.m. Every single part of the sheep is probably in there, vehemently seasoned with garlic, pepper and lemon. In the dead of night – over this hearty brew – we fraternize in a strange mixture of Dutch, English, Turkish and Russian. I imagine finding myself in the Mongolian steppes.
In the morning I look out of my hotel room window: the dirty pink facade of another hotel, with windows and air conditioning. All the way down a corrugated roof with some waste. The sky is gray and rainy. This migrant is ready for his journey.
Text written by Steven Van Renterghem, occasional production assistant and tour guide