I love Istanbul more each day. Not every minute of course, but it is a comfortable, normal sort of place to live, and yet it is SO different! Many times it feels like an earlier time in America. The goods at the Sunday antique flea market conveys that. I felt similarly visiting novelist Orhan Pamuk’s collection of obsessive effects in the Museum of Innocence (both a book, and a place in Istanbul), where he cataloged the 1970s Istanbul life of his lover. That assemblage evoked in me the 1950s in the US http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Museum_of_Innocence.
This morning we met to “walk” with friends and cameras through the Feriköy Antika Pazarı. It was a foggy, chilly day and when we finally reconvened for çay we needed its warmth.
Naturally, there are many things one would rarely, if ever, see in a US flea market!
Jim and I have joined the Istanbul Photography Club, a multi-national group of mostly expats. We are also taking photo seminars, and tons of photos. (I’ve yet to pick up a paint brush here…because painting takes chunks of quiet time, which I haven’t found). I want, actually need, to paint, so must manage how much time I spend with the camera…it is seductive, but yet another thing which will keep me in front of the computer and away from the canvas.
No matter where one is in Istanbul, fresh food and drink is at hand. Çayçılar (tea makers/runners) are ubiquitous, pouring and delivering to shopkeepers and vendors continuously. This market also had two gözleme makers, rolling out yufka-like dough to make the Turkish version of crepes (using dough, not batter) filled with meat and vegetables.
This market appropriates a weekday parking lot…surrounded by a gentrifying neighborhood of huge residential high rises. Many of the sellers tables sit under a dark and, this morning, damp concrete structure. As usual, my forward motion was slowed by the inquiries and kindnesses of the people…AND my very slow, halting Turkish. Always “where are you from”, and I’m happy to say, “Kadıköy’de, or Moda’da”, then I tell them I came here a year ago from US, or California. Then we always get into a “conversation”, where I nod enthusiastically, apologize for my zayıf Türkçe (weak Turkish) and do my best to understand– “yavaş, tekrar” (slowly, again) and reply somewhat relevantly. My 3D puzzle that is learning the Turkish language is still stuck on 1D.
I didn’t succumb to impulse purchases, but there were many cool old things I hadn’t seen in a long time. Over our çay we shared our treasures. Linda bought a fabric print block which she expected would be more than she was willing to pay, and Nancy bought some children’s books. “For me!” she said, when I asked if they were for her grand-kids. That was a great idea, and I rushed over to buy some myself, paying 2 ½ TL ($1.25) for five, while having an engaging conversation in “Turklish” about making ceramic sculpture. Now I have to learn to read those little books.
What a place! I can see myself going back periodically just for the color and pattern of it all. Some of the sellers do a wonderful job of displaying their wares…and it is fun to revel in the nostalgia of the things.
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