We will, in any case, draw attention to ourselves with our excentricity and quanity. Regardless of where we live – in Moscow or Osh, Dushanbe or Istambul – our residence becomes known to many. We must strictly follow the following rules so this does not cause us any problems.
1) Never post the address of our residence on the internet. Our GPS-coordinates must also remain secret. On the internet, we only display our cellphone numbers and a place to meet newly arriving guests. While walking the new guest home, explain the situation at our communal house and explain these rules.
2) Never, in any situation, do anything that draws heightened attention from the neighbors. Regardless of our efforts, we will attract the attention of the neighbors, but it is important that this is minimized. This means we must use tokens at our train station Edikule. Never leave the house in large groups of more than 10 people – the fewer the better. Do not wait for people on the stairs or in front of the house – wait for people at a planned meeting place (near station Yedikulle, for example) further from our communal home. Do not shout loudly at home and nearby.
3) If an unexpected guest arrives such as the landlord, a police officer, or any other uninvited person – we tell them that 14 people live here and that the rest are guests.
4) Not all local folks can understand the freedom of our lifestyle. Generally, the older they are, the less they can relate to our ways. Regardless, we must relate to the neighbors with respect. Greet the elders, smile at the adulescents. At the local cafes, do not yell at the workers, throw stale ekmek (bread) back at them, or pour coffee over their heads. Understand that the local salesfolks are probably our neighbors and act as the local media channel, describing our behavior either good or bad.
5) Again! The nieghbors and the local salespeoplee are the eastern media. People older than forty don’t use the internet and follow the gossip as if it were news. We need to be very attentive around our home – especially in a 30 metre radius. We need to be attentive, respectful, and generous. When buying ekmek or ayran from a local shop, we increase the wealth of our nieghborhood and create a positive opinion of us. Thiry extra customers in the East can be a double in clientel and, for us, a way to better our reputation. Creating a scandal over 25 krush can create a bad reputation, so bargain with care at the local shops.
6) We must develop friendship with the neighbors if they want to befriend us, but this must be done by a responsible person. Inviting locals as guests is reserved for trusted AFT members and responsible keyholders; otherwise other residents must consult with them beforehand. If a local comes, we should offer tea, try speaking with them in the local language, and show photoalbums. Even if they are uninvited, we must create a positive image by being kind and welcoming, because they will then explain our lifestyle to others, and most likely, to the landlord. We do not want to be evicted early.
The total number of residents at our communal home must remain secret. Never show the guestbook to neighbors, police officers and the landlord!
7) If an uninvited and unanticipated guest arrives and turns out to be a police officer, Turkish KGB agent, elder in the region, or any other powerful Turkish character – we must respectfully talk to them. This person should be a responsible male, an experienced veteran of the Houses for Everybody and, if possible, knowing the local language. At this time, others should remain quite.
The success of our two months in Istambul and the whole future of the project House for Everybody depends on the success of our reasonable conspiracy. Peace, smiles, tea, joy and a reasonable conspiracy.
Anton Krotov /translated from Russian/ March 2012
Этот текст, переведённый г-ном Брэндоном, передайте друзьям-иностранцам, кто хочет побывать в Доме АВП в Стамбуле.