Now that I’ve established my domicile in Kadikoy on Sokak Izzetin (not Sokak Yoğurtçu as mistakenly reported in an earlier post – that was the address of the school rather than my apartment), let’s set the scene of the neighbourhood. The street was a narrow and dusty cobbled affair patrolled constantly by gangs of youths acting as the morals police or playing football. Beşiktaş, I believe, was the team favoured by the locals, although these days it’s Fenerbahçe or Galatasaray that are the more fancied and prosperous teams. The picture here depicts my street with the Beşiktaş flag hung out to mark the territory. My apartment was on the second-to-top floor on the left-hand side right beside the flag.
The front windows received little sun, but had the advantage of being closer to the neighbours for anthropological study purposes. Unfortunately, the Turkish gaster arbiter from Kreuzberg had failed to import the more charming drapery habits of their German hosts, i.e. make your apartment a curtain-free zone, and so we were not permitted untrammelled observation rights into the neighbouring living rooms. The neighbours directly opposite us, however, nevertheless felt our hawk-like gaze burning into the backs of their necks and soles of their feet (to reveal the undersides of one’s feet is apparently a great social faux pas), and so they had no choice but to pin up a black shroud around their balcony to keep the foreigners’ evil eyes off their daughter. Here is a photo of the shroud going up with the aforementioned daughter lingering behind the lace curtains: