Time: 2011. 05. 24
People: Xu Gang, Bailong
My visit to Turkey is, not just a travel, to seek for suitable mineral deposits and stone for a project. Work is another kind of travel, a fascinating experience. For me, either work or travel is a way to satisfy myself. It is pleasant to tell the stories in the travel to family and friends.
After more than ten hours’ flight, I arrived in Istanbul at local time 4 a.m. I transferred at Istanbul. Most Chinese stone businessmen headed straight for their destinations--the eastern or southern part of Turkey, without a stop here. My first stop was a small town located in the south of Izmir, at the seaside of the Aegean Sea. Bailong, an employee from the local stone agent, waited for me at Bursa, in Asian part of Turkey, so I had to meet him by ferry across the Marmara Sea.
The yearning for the romance of the Aegean Sea and the sunshine of the Mediterranean Sea wiped out my tiredness on the plane. And the jet lag influenced me little. From the airport to the dock, the taxi drove all the way along the Istanbul Channel. The air was flavored with faint mint, not the fishy smell of sea, which may not be wakened by the sun. .
Eagerly, I searched through the window and felt nothing but freshness and excitement. The ruins of the ancient Rome’s city wall evoked my memories of Istanbul history in books. I shall spare some time for a walk in Istanbul. What attracted me was not only the change of space but also the time engraved on the dilapidated city wall.
Arriving at the dock, the sea was so close to me. Dawn had not come, so I failed to enjoy the beauty of the Istanbul Channel. The buildings at the seaside stood along with the hill. The red roofs climbed one higher than another, with minarets of mosque distinctively decorating them. The buildings, two or three stories high, conveyed a rustic feeling for most Chinese. How could it be an international metropolis？ In my opinion, time and art were more valuable than any other thing in the world. The two, possessed by these buildings, attracted me.
I was amazed at the seagulls dancing around my feet and showing goodwill to people. The sun shined in early morning. The color of the sky was changing, bluer and bluer. The transparent sky-blue integrated with the gray sea and coloring it blue. Everything invigorated. How beautiful the Istanbul Channel was！
Passengers of early ferry were not in hurry, peacefully and orderly. Some of them were chatting or smoking in the outdoor lounge, among them women outnumbered men. I was not clear whether they put on airs or spontaneous posed. Alternation between chatting gestures and smoking movements conveyed elegance. Others at indoor cafe were drinking red tea and tearing the bread bit by bit, sending them into mouths, chewing, and staring the air without rolling the eyes. It was totally different from the circumstances in Guangzhou where people even fought for getting into the elevator. I really enjoyed this.
The ferry had three stories, the lowest storey used for parking and the other two stories, clean, orderly and quiet, offering seats to passengers. More than a thousand seats were nearly occupied. I was seated by the window, out of which were the sky and the sea. The air and the sunshine concocted the sky and the sea, and merged them into the same color--pure sky-blue. Now and then, several seagulls flied past, adding vitality to the scene. Through the window, sunshine friendly stroked me and brought me the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea. This warmth pacified my fear and excitement for the first visit to a new place. There was no reference in boundless space. The ferry, swaying like a cradle, quieted my heart as well as my body. In the sunshine of the Mediterranean Sea, I fell deeply into sleep.
After 100 minutes’ trip, I reached the Bursa dock and Bailong was waiting there. Bailong was warm and humorous. He had a typical Islam face, shrewd but kind. He could speak a little Chinese, so we communicated well.
I took a short rest in the apartment Bailong rented for me. The detached apartment was completely open to the block, without precautions against thieves. The environment was simple but fine, presenting a natural living state. The buildings of the whole block were low and exquisite, of the Mediterranean Sea style. The environment was elegant and relaxed, in which cafes of various styles offered enjoyment of life and long-lost sense of safety. Such feeling was similar to that of my childhood. The difference was that the buildings here were neat and orderly. The environment of the small county where I spent my childhood was not so good, but all the houses were open and embracing and the blocks made people relaxed, which gave me a strong sense of belonging. In recent years, living in Guangzhou, I had a stronger and stronger feeling that people had become the background of the constructions and environment while outer appearances of constructions had been dominant. People were pushed to cope with the mode brought about by technologies. Environment here made me realize that life should not be decided by mechanical equipments or technologies as well as the minority who sacrificed human being’s original characteristics for their prestige and political achievements. Construction environment was space where people associated with each others and enjoyed themselves. Constructions were the background of people. The eagerness for communication and hometown could only be recalled in my travel. When and where to find my sense of belonging and sense of territory? I don’t know.