Fall 2011. Istanbul, Turkey
More tourists at the Blue Mosque. And chestnut sellers and roast corn. The Hagia Sophia, and then a glass of tea from a small boy in a vest and a hat, like I imagine on a monkey. With sugar it smelled like bitter roses.
The air smelled like rain. Dirty puddles reflected dark clouds and tired faces.
In both places, I think I was meant to feel splendor. But I felt cold. When I looked up at the great domed ceiling all I could think about was the people who built it: their hands and their backs, those stones and those lintels.
Christian, then Muslim, then museum. Constantinople, Ottoman Empire, Republic of Turkey. Impermanence; even in a building so old that paths are worn into the marble.
Which is the trouble with monuments, mostly. By the time you are allowed to be there, their day is done.