Paste it in the head!


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ah, jet lag

It's not usually one of my habits to be voluntarily awake at 6:42 a.m. when I don't actually have to be up until 8:30, but here I am. And what better thing to do when in the grip of jet lag than blog? It's better than trying to do it at work (just kidding, cause God knows I'd never do a thing like that), which is where I'll be spending most of my time for the next few days.

I think it's time to talk about Istanbul. What a ridiculously interesting city. Aside from the obvious World Heritage site of Sultanahmet, which contains

the Blue Mosque,

Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia),

Topkapi Palace,
cisterns, museums, etc. etc., this has to be one of the world's most vibrant cities. I got a small taste of this one evening, when I went out with a guy who works at our hotel. We went to Taksim, with its huge pedestrian street, western stores (think Starbucks and Guess), and streams of attractive, sexy young Turks. We spent the evening flitting from cafe to bar to cafe, drinking tea and beer (not together, duh). That was an Istanbul I could relate to--smoky cafes, hookahs galore, and very few headscarves in sight.

Of course, I only saw the tourist/hip areas of town, and didn't even wish to explore the fact that the city is achingly overpopulated and grossly overdeveloped. I would like to go back to Turkey and spend at least a full week in Istanbul, stay somewhere outside of Sultanahmet, and try to get a different experience of it. And by that, I mean that I would like to do more shopping. My parents aren't shoppers. Well, my dad isn't. My mom claims not to be, but she can sniff out a thrift store or a yard sale two miles away. However, she detests malls/new things so much that I'm pretty sure she's actually certifiably allergic to them. I dragged them to the Grand Bazaar (5000 shops under one roof!) and that's exactly what I was doing: dragging. They lagged behind me, not looking at anything, somehow failing to see the glittering jewellery, the pashminas and silk scarves, the handpainted ceramics, the shoes... Seriously, I cannot shop in such conditions. I felt guilty for stopping, knowing that my parents would rather be anywhere than where they were, and that they were only indulging me. I ended up buying one scarf and some ceramics: a teapot and two bowls. How I wished that Aundra were there, or Lorien, or both. We would have way overspent our baggage allowance; or maybe not: had I been with some decent shoppers, I would have brought at least one completely empty suitcase to pack full of loot. I usually frown on blatant, rampant consumerism, but how could I miss the opportunity to support the local economy? And to get some exotic, cool stuff that no one else has? (Or that everyone else has, considering that the Grand Bazaar is pretty damn touristy, but whatever.) I didn't even get to the Spice Bazaar, nor did I investigate the rumors of fabulous second-hand finds. I didn't even begin to tap Istanbul's shopping potential. Oh well, guess that means I'll have to go back!


  • sounds fantastic...

    can't wait to have tea on your roof top balcony!

    By Blogger al, at 9:14 AM  

  • just think you saved yourself some money. Money you can spend when i get my shit together and see you!

    By Blogger Aundra, at 8:19 PM  

  • Dude, I wish I was there too. It sounds so cool! I MUST go next summer. MUST! (You may come too). The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar sound excellent. I also think it would be cool to see a country that is half European, half Asian. I have never been anywhere like it (poor me). I also want to know how to make felt rugs. I don't get your parents man.

    By Anonymous Lorien, at 11:51 PM  

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