Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dutchmen in Istanbul

This morning I stumbled across this article from a Turkish online newspaper: about a stalwart group of Dutch ex-pats who, against all odds and in defiance of self-preservation and rationality, are cycling around in Istanbul. They go on cycling tours to the Black Sea and organize early morning city trips so they can avoid the worst of the traffic. It makes me smile. 

"Except for de Carrasco, the members of the group are Dutch and they are determined to lead lives loyal to their own culture. How? by riding bikes, of course.

They challenge the chaos of the metropolis and its intensive traffic. Obstacles created by the municipality, aggressive taxi drivers, crowds in the streets, people screaming, “What the hell are you doing?” and people looking at them in weird ways don’t bother them a bit."

Something about the mental image of a bunch of Dutch guys, placidly cycling along in the face of honking horns and people yelling, "you're too fat, you should drive," just makes me happy. I like to think of them as unflappable. Maybe with little Mona Lisa smiles on their faces as they pedal along. It's such a comforting image somehow. These guys are my new heroes.

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