Friday, April 25, 2008

Bazaar Fun


Windy, windy and cold, and tomorrow it is supposed to rain. I think it is time to go home! We had a lazy morning, chatting with the other guests in the breakfast room then heading out to the Bosphorus. We walked across the bridge at the south end of the river, watching the many men with their surf rods, trying their luck at fishing; lots of lacy jellyfish were skimming the surface of the water. The lower level of the bridge was lined with restaurants and we stopped for fresh sea bream, which was quite good. By then it was too late to go to the Topkapi Palace so we opted to wander through the spice market again. I bargained for and bought a few Turkish plates.

We went back to Majoob, the Chinese speaking spice salesman who greeted us heartily, and gave us a good price on pepper, cinnamon and other spices. You see, speaking Chinese does bring in extra business! In walked another American he recognized from 2 years ago and we had a nice chat about travels in Greece, Turkey and China. This guy was in Greece, learning the language and finding his roots; he was originally from South Carolina. Majoob was such a congenial guy and was in the process of negotiating a price for 250 kg of Turkish Delight candy with a large Chinese tour group. He loves speaking the language and is quite good; he is also a great salesman. The shopkeepers in the bazaar are entertaining and eager to make a sale. We have a good time interacting and joking with them-what a fun experience.

We spent the rest of the evening stuffing our things into the little bit of luggage we had brought. We had purchased only some food items, spices and a couple of plates but since we had come with full roll-ons and had only one empty duffle bag - finding space was a challenge. Besides the ongoing problem of having to check in all jars of liquids but packing them to avoid breakage. Breaking a jar of olive tapenade in your clothes would not have been good! I was pleased that I had read 2 of the 3 books I had brought, and did not have to take home the 4 magazines in my bag.
I have so many issues of the Economist stacked up at home, I take them with me, and leave them at airports and hotels, hopefully to enlighten others who might happen to pick one up.

Toward evening, we walked the streets of Istanbul and ended up at a small Turkish restaurant that was below ground. We were attracted by the woman standing in front, making flat bread. Helping her was a young girl from NY, whose boyfriend managed the place. It was her second visit to Greece. The restaurant’s specialty was chicken cooked inside a sealed pottery crock, which the waiter cracks open at the table. We watched with this process at the table next to us. The bread was fabulous and our lamb dishes perfect. It was a nice way to end our stay in Istanbul.

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