Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ahead of the Curve

It's always nice to pick up the New York Times and read things that you've been saying for months.

I went to Munich on a whim, and knew nothing about it beyond "Oktoberfest." It was a layover, one day out, one day back, nothing more. I loved what I saw. A few weeks later, NYT mentions that it's been named, repeatedly, as the World's Most Livable City. And this past weekend they call it Germany's Hot Spot of the Moment.

I knew that!

From Munich I went to Cairo. From Cairo I went over the edge. And today the NYT gives us A City Where You Can't Hear Yourself Scream. From the article: Noise — outrageous, unceasing, pounding noise — is the unnerving backdrop to a tense time in Egypt, as inflation and low wages have people worried about basic survival, prompting strikes and protests. We’re not just talking typical city noise, but what scientists here say is more like living inside a factory.

And I kind of feel validated, 'cause I caught a bit of grief for stressing in Cairo from some of the holier-than-thou travelers. As if, somehow, I were at fault for thinking that Cairo presented a particularly unhealthy way to live, or that the government would and should fall soon for allowing such conditions to occur.

All this is leading up to this: Istanbul was another city I stumbled upon before the papers started writing about how cool and hip it suddenly was. And Istanbul has been on my mind a lot lately. I want to go back. It'll be some time, probably over a year. But this time next year I want to do a good two weeks in Turkey. If I can get a couple guys together to split costs, I'd even want to rent a car and tour from Ephesus to Cappadocia along the Silk Road via the Aegean resorts, Greek and Roman cities, and lake country.

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