A few photos from my stay in Istanbul.
The Spice Market was enticing. Hundreds of booths with foodstuffs and household goods. As I was walking by a shop an older gentleman called to me, "Hello Lady" and he sweeps his arm towards his booth. "Come see? Say yes!" These vendors are good. I was walking behind a French couple and a vendor called out to them in French -as I walked by he switched to English.
You could spend weeks just visiting mosques. They all have beautiful courtyards with benches where you can sit and people watch. Today I was enjoying the sunshine on a bench watching some young boys run around the fountain playing. On the next bench was an elderly lady. One of the little boys fell and the old woman jumped up and got to him before his mother did. She was seriously spry! As she walked back to her bench she saw me watching her and she smiled shyly. I smiled back and she walked over and proceeded to have a conversation with me although I didn't understand a word. I pantomimed my desire to take a photo of her. She put her hand to her chest and said something I assumed was "Me?". I nodded my head and took her picture. She wanted to see it and laughed when I showed her. She put her had to her cheek, embarrassed. I put my hand to her other cheek. "Beautiful!" I told her. She patted my hand and gave me a big smile before she walked away. I wish she had smiled for the pic as her whole face lit up when she did.
Every mosque has loud speakers on one of the minarets where the call to prayer gets broadcast. If there are two mosques close together you can sit between them and get stereo singing. It is odd because no two muezzin call exactly the same way.
Ahmet has given me a hard time about getting lost all the time. Yesterday I walked almost 14 miles looking for the Hamami - a Turkish bath. The one I was looking for was about 2 miles from my hotel. I never found it but got terribly lost and after circling around to the same spot, the second time in the dark, I tried to get a taxi. The first one looked at the address and said No and rolled up his window. The second got me a few blocks away and got flustered and called Ahmet to meet us. I was arguing with the driver -he in Turkish, me in English (you can guess how well that went!) - when Ahmet poked his head in the cab door and rescued me. I had no idea I was so close to "home". We walked back to the hotel half arguing, half laughing. This man is a walking encyclopedia about Istanbul and will bend over backwards to make your stay enjoyable. www.lotushotelistanbul.com
Ahmet the Great