Monday, 6 September 2010

Fish death shade circle

Prestigious fish is still hunted - we wait for what comes out. The best fish is fish which you don’t really know what species of fish it is - but you can see what sort of flesh it has, more or less. I am always jealous of desert-island fiction (right, mainly Lost) because they get to spear fish and just eat them. Also, the Life of Pi, because he gets to drink raw turtle blood with no moral issues.

The waterfront in Istanbul - I didn’t know what the name of these were – they were white fish. I have a particular experience, I suppose, because I don’t know much about the names of anything, particularly fish. The hunters along the bridge put these ones in a bucket, and they kept shrimps separate. Baby sturgeon were set aside with water in ice cream tubs, for laying...(which is cool)

There are sort of grill-boats along the waterfront below the fishermen that serve up the fish, butterflied and in a crusty bread with lettuce, tomato and raw onions. They cost 2TL, there is only one thing to order, the guys are very fast and very good at staying upright. People flick the driest bits of crust over into the water when they have finished, for the growing baby fishies, which is nice. I saw one woman come specifically to dump a whole bagful of stale bread – the water near the edge is fairly scummy. Imagine if the pigeons that eat your Greggs crumbs were caught (in wire traps set by young boys saving up their 2d a beak for a bag o’ ferret squall), glazed and splayed on hotplates by the street vendors in Trafalgar Square; identifiable by the feet glued skyward on their distinctive black umbrellas. Pigeon thighs skewered with roast fig, hot potatoes, and paper cones with chestnuts, and malt vinegar with pulp. Instead of, erm...

Perhaps I romanticise. When you get your fried fish in bread, in Istanbul, you can sit on a little stool under a shade. There are lots and lots of people, everyone shares. On the table is a salt shaker which loads of salt comes out of (just let it happen, these salt-hole people knew what they were doing) and a pop bottle with a hole in the lid, full of lemon juice. You put this all over your sandwich. Many also bring over a little pot of pickles from a nearby pickle stand, and munch the both alternately.

The water motion through everything, the death of the fish, the crude perfection of the condiments, the much needed shade, the stillness in crowds...this was idyll, three times in..two days? I forgot. I was quite alone.

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