The award for first guest in the new digs goes to Becky, my friend from high school with whom I stayed in Shanghai last year. She got into town last night, and today we started our fun with a cruise up and down the Bosphorus in the Hiawatha, the boat owned by the US diplomatic presence in Istanbul since the 1930s. It's available for employees to rent, and it's one of the best perks of the job here. We sailed up the straight, almost to the Black Sea, then back down to the Sea of Marmara and toured the Golden Horn before returning to our dock. All the while we munched on picnic fare and fresh fruit (end of the cherry season, apricots are still great). All in all, not a bad way to spend the (observed) Independence Day holiday - the American flag was waving cheerily in the breeze as we dodged cruise liners, cargo ships, ferry boats, and fishermen all along the Bosphorus.
My guest room is booked through the end of July, but I'm free after that. Cruises on the Bosphorus get a little chilly after September, so start marking up your calendars, folks.