英语学习杂志 2015-11-13 18:25





By Leo Luo

祝平 注

As my three travel buddies and I beheld Istanbul from the top of the Galata Tower, minarets punctured the city’s skyline against the backdrop of the setting sun. As the sea breeze whirled around us, the wind carried the melody of the call to prayer for Muslims. The Arabic verses swelled in a chorus that implored every Muslim to bow in the direction of Mecca. As the sound echoed in my ears, I directed my gaze to the jumble of townhouses and spider-web of streets below where locals and tourists mingled. Women in sundresses that billowed in the wind strolled hand in hand with friends who enveloped their heads with the hijab, the headscarf worn by Muslim women. While young men carved meat off racks of lamb at kebab stands, families lounged upon their rooftops as they sipped their tea. Travel journals all advertise Istanbul’s intriguing intersections of traditional and modern, East and West. Yet the true soul of the city only reveals itself to those who have walked Istanbul’s streets and interacted with its people. Although the intricate ornamentation of its mosques and the delicate aromas of its bazaars left my friends and I breathless, its people are what gives the bustling metropolis its magic.

Istanbul is called the “City of 500 Mosques” for a reason, yet each building conveyed the same message that beauty stems from simplicity. Nowhere is that clearer than at the Blue Mosque . After removing our shoes, my friends and I ducked out of the Turkish sun and through the entrance. The interior swaddled us with cool air, illuminated by a low-hanging chandelier that stretched from one end of the building to the other. Compared to European cathedrals, where the stone and the darkness weighs down upon viewers as if to demand submission to God, the abundance of light and the ceilings that seem to float to the heavens invite the faithful to accept God’s embrace. Blue tiles swirled over the marble walls, interlocking with the crimson floral patterns. These intricate patterns were all bathed in a hazy azure sheen from the stained glass perched on each window. Despite the intricacy, each pattern blossomed from just simple geometric shapes or floral designs, which were repeated again and again. Each motif interacted with each other, weaving together as if grown by a florist rather than painted by an artist.

But perhaps the simplest expression of beauty was the active presence of worshippers. Tourists were cordoned off near the back of the building so that Muslims could pray without interruption. Individuals and groups were scattered across the carpeted floor: young and old, rich and poor. As I watched each man kneel in the same rhythm over and over, a little boy with a turquoise baseball cap scampered across the floor. He ran to his father, who had just straightened up from another bow. The father grabbed hold of his son and raised his hand, as if to smack a reminder that the mosque is supposed to be a sanctuary, not a playground. Instead, he simply turned his son’s cap backwards so that it wouldn’t get in the way when he bowed. With a quick hug to his father’s leg, the little boy placed his palms together and began reciting his Arabic prayers. I smiled at this interaction. Despite the products of modern life, this bond between father and son as they practiced age-old traditions is what breathes life into a building that is thousands of years old.

Indeed, the memories of Istanbul that left the deepest imprint on our minds came from mingling with the locals in the modern district, especially at its daily market. The first step into the market transported my friends and I back to a scene in the Silk Road. Nearly four thousand stalls piled high with fruit and silks charmed our eyes with mountains of colour. Every shopkeeper implored us to try their goods. Even though we could barely communicate in Turkish, they yelled “China! China!” and offered us handfuls of their wares, from nuts rich with flavour to mulberries that stained our fingers purple. Whenever our faces lit up at the taste, the shopkeepers would smile with an eyebrow raised as if to say “I told you so.” In a fit of mouth-watering hunger, my friends and I purchased an entire watermelon and decided to slice it up right there. The watermelon had echoed when we tapped it, so we had a hunch that this would be juicy and sweet. The shopkeeper stabbed his knife into the rind and pushed down with a resounding crack. He peeled away one slice and cheered “ooooohhh!” He showed us the ruby red flesh and the juice that sloshed off his knife. He and I shared the same grin that stretched from ear to ear. “Oooohhhhh!” We cheered with him this time as he made seven more cuts, each emitting a louder crack than the last. As we crammed our faces with watermelon, the shopkeeper simply watched us with a smile. The joy dancing in his eyes reflected his happiness at how he had an opportunity to show off the best of his city. We were graced with the best example of this hospitality by meeting up with a local university student who had attended Georgetown as an exchange student. Although we had never met before, our conversation over dinner quickly became an endless stream of jokes and laughter, not to mention praises of Istanbul. Not only did she show us some of the most authentic Turkish cuisine, but she also took us to one of the best ice cream shops, and then led us on a scenic walk along the coast to a trendy bar. By the time we hugged each other goodbye, it was already 2:30 in the morning. Her dedication to showing off the best of her city to guests represents the best of Turkish hospitality. Her gift to us was her city.

Along the scenic route, we passed by a group of young people who were huddled together on the dock. As we watched, a paper lantern bloomed from their midst and began to float into the air. Buoyed by the candle strapped at its base, the lantern climbed up towards the sky. When I asked my Turkish friend about it, she responded that those were called “wish lanterns.” We would make a wish, and then release the lantern to the wind. If the lantern kept floating, then the wish would be carried to heaven and come true. Without another word, I hailed down a merchant to purchase one. My friends and I gathered around, thinking about our wishes as the lantern inflated. Eyes closed and hands clasped , I thought back to the message that my mom had sent me over we chat that morning. She described the first time that she visited Dalian and saw the ocean with her own eyes. It was a dream come true for her, for the rolling waves exceeded any image she could have imagined. My eyes snapped open. I knew my wish. On the count of three, my friends and I released the lantern, and off it flew. As it joined the night sky as another star, I looked to my friends and realized that my wish had already come true. As a young person in this age of globalization, the world is at our fingertips . But becoming a global citizen takes an open mind and an open heart. Sightseeing is not enough, for revealing the world’s realities only comes through interacting with peers from all over the world. And yet through the warmth of my friends, both new and old, I glimpsed the soul of Istanbul that whispered in the wind: “teşekkür (Thank you) for stopping by.”


1. behold: 观看;Galata Tower: 加拉太塔,是新城的地标,也是俯瞰伊斯坦布尔的最佳地点;minaret: 叫拜楼,清真寺的尖塔;puncture: 刺穿,这里指“屹立于地平线上”。

2. sea breeze: 海风;whirl: 旋转。

3. 合唱团唱起阿拉伯圣歌,歌声愈发清亮,感召着每个穆斯林向圣地麦加的方向跪拜。swell: (声音、音调等)变响亮;implore: 恳求,这里指“感召”;Mecca: 麦加,伊斯兰教的圣地。

4. jumble: 混乱;townhouse: 市政厅;mingle: 混合。

5. 妇女们身着随风飘舞的太阳裙和她们那些头戴希贾布(穆斯林妇女戴的头巾)的友人们手拉着手漫步街头 。billow in: 在……中飘动;stroll: 漫步,闲逛;envelop: 包住,裹住;hijab: 希贾布,穆斯林妇女戴的面纱或头巾。

6. rack of lamb: 小羊肋骨肉;kebab: 烤肉串;stand: 摊位;lounge: 懒洋洋地躺卧;sip: 啜饮。

7. intriguing: 有趣的,迷人的;intersection: 交叉。

8. 尽管伊斯坦布尔的清真寺里那些错综复杂的装饰物和市集上那些食品香味让我和我的朋友们为之倾倒,但是这里的人们才是这个熙熙攘攘的大城市魔力的缔造者。intricate: 错综复杂的;ornamentation: 装饰物;mosque: 清真寺;aroma: 芳香;bazaar: 集市,市场;bustling: 熙熙攘攘的;metropolis: 大都市。

9. Blue Mosque: 蓝色清真寺,清真寺内墙壁全部用蓝、白两色的依兹尼克瓷砖装饰,是伊斯坦布尔最著名的标志性建筑物之一。

10. duck out of: 逃避。

11. swaddle: 用襁褓包裹(婴儿),这里指冷风“扑面而来,环绕”;illuminate: 照亮;chandelier: 枝形吊灯。

12. submission: 臣服;abundance: 大量,充足;the faithful: 这里指“信众们”。

13. 蓝色的瓷砖装饰在大理石墙壁上,瓷砖上面是深红色的、环环相扣的花朵图案 。tile: 瓷砖;swirl: 盘绕,这里指“装饰”;interlock: 连结,相互扣住;crimson: 深红色的; floral: 花似的。

14. 这些错综复杂的图案全都沐浴在朦胧的、蔚蓝色的光辉中,这些光辉通过嵌在每扇窗子上的彩色玻璃透进来。hazy: 朦胧的;azure: 蔚蓝的;sheen: 光辉;stained glass: 彩色玻璃;perch: 放置于高处。

15. blossom: 发展;geometric shape: 几何图形。

16. motif: 主题;weave: 交织;florist: 种花人。

17. cordon off: 用警戒线隔离。

18. scatter: 使散开,使分散。

19. kneel: 跪下;turquoise: 蓝绿色的;scamper: 蹦蹦跳跳,奔跑。

20. smack: 猛地扔下;sanctuary: 圣殿。

21. imprint: 印记;mingle with: 和……混合。

22. 大约4,000个摊位上全都摞满了水果和丝绸,缤纷的色彩吸引了我们的眼球 。stall: 货摊;mountains of: 大量的。

23. wares: (尤指在街上或集市上出售的)商品,货物;mulberry: 桑椹;stain: 给……染色。

24. light up: 使面露喜色。

25. a fit of: 突发一阵。

26. hunch: 预感。

27. stab: 刺穿;rind: 外皮;resounding: 响亮的;crack: 破裂声。

28. ruby: 红宝石色的;slosh: 飞溅出来。

29. cram: 把……塞进。

30. hospitality: 殷勤,好客。

31. authentic: 正宗的,地道的;cuisine: 菜肴,美食。

32. huddle together: 挤在一起;dock: 码头。

33. buoy: 使浮起;strap: 束牢。

34. hail: 大声招呼。

35. clasp: 握紧,扣紧。

36. snap: 使迅速地行动,急速做出。

37. at one’s fingertip: 唾手可得。

38. glimpse: 瞥见;stop by: 来访。

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:丹妮)

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