I have been in Ataturk Airport in Istanbul a few times, and only once did a bomb go off, a few hours later. (This happened in Brussels, too.)

On Netflix under ‘romances,’ in the style of period costume dramas like Downton Abbey, there’s a Turkish/Russian melodrama series based on a real couple, ‘Kurt Seyit ve Şura,’ at the time of World War I and the Russian Revolution. They flee Petrograd (St. Petersburg), by carriage and horses, for Alushta, Crimea on the Black Sea, then Istanbul to escape death. He’s Turkish Muslim, she’s ethnically Russian & Orthodox, both are rich and loyal to the tsar, but his empire is overthrown in 1917 (birth of USSR).

I kind of got hooked on the geography and beautiful scenery of it: it’s incredibly slow by American standards, but kind of fascinating with its Shakespeare-soap opera themes of infatuation, burning envy in romantic triangles, inter-ethnic chemistry, fierce family loyalty vs. passionate desire, wealth extravagance & poverty on the streets, action gun violence, chase scenes, hopping off trains to avoid being shot, horses rearing, camping in the woods & old stables, fantasy fairy-tale dream sequences, the usual.

Part of what has fascinated me are the Russian and Turkish forest landscapes — I love snow and ‘woods;’ but also how Turkish TV has surpassed Brazilian telenovelas/soap operas as a cultural art form, how it’s hooking new period-drama lovers on Netflix,
as people are interested in new visual beauty, exotic-looking actors, new scenery and landscapes:
“The television series industry has played a pivotal role in increasing Turkey’s popularity in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Russia, Latin America, Turkic countries, Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Arab world, Pakistan, India, Italy, Germany and Bangladesh.”

I was able to tour Bollywood when I went to Maharashtra with the Rotary Club; Universal & Warner Bros. studio tours & DVD’s show how films are made. Last night amidst firework ‘bombs’ in my neighborhood, I decided to jump a few episodes of the series (Kurt Seyit ve Şura) to see Istanbul & Odessa (Ukraine), and the streets looked like a studio! (made to look old, but too clean to be old).

(I’ve been to Odessa, Ukraine, a beautiful city on the Black Sea: the architecture is fabulous, but it looks old.)