There’s a little issue that’s been cropping up more and more frequently lately, and like traffic, I’m starting to think about it all the time: temperature.
Istanbul is generally warmer than New York or Massachusetts. The snow stopped falling around the middle of January and it’s been in the 50’s and 60’s for a month, maybe a little longer. As it starts to hit the 70’s and even 80’s (two times already and a third on Tuesday), you would think Istanbul would be in summer mode. However, residents here aren’t even using the word “hot” yet- and that’s an issue.
Republika (our dorm) has heating and cooling, but it’s a central system, which means you can only control the fan speed. Because they don’t consider the temperature to be “hot” yet, the building is still using the heater. Particularly at night, when the temperature drops a bit, the lobby is blasting hot air and if you hit the switch in the room, you get a dose of it too. We don’t know when they’ll switch over, but we look forward to that day- our rooms are a bit too hot at night. Thankfully we have windows (a luxury in this building) and the rooms never get direct sunlight.
Problem number two: our dorm has a pool on the roof. It’s still closed.
The third problem is attire. Istanbul is very modern and people generally wear whatever they want. However, there’s an unspoken rule in this city that shorts are unacceptable in public, except when you are trying to work out (even then, most people opt for leggings). As the temperature climbs, the American in me wants to put on a pair of shorts before going out, but I continue to wear jeans for the sake of blending in. Shorts aren’t banned, but they scream “tourist”, and in an era where looking like a local maximizes your chances of staying out of trouble, the risk isn’t worth it. If the temperature goes above 90 in the next six weeks, I am giving in.
On the positive side: there are two places to get ice cream in Ortaköy- one American style, one Turkish style (less sugar, more like a dough). I think I’ll be a frequent customer between now and June 5.