Istanbul: Day 2

My goals for this morning were to count how many times a man told me how gorgeous I am and to avoid, at all costs, carpet salesmen. I accomplished both those goals. I am apparently the most beautiful person on the planet according to at least 6 men, some of whom were trying to sell me things I'm sure and one of whom I think may have been propositioning me. Plus, I didn't get let into any carpet stores. "Nope" with a stern look at the growd while walking quickly away from the dudes harrassing you to buy carpets seemed to work quite well.

Carpet salesmen and perverted men aside, today was brilliant (yes, that sounded very British). We started off with another lovely breakfast at the hotel followed by the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. There were a lot of artifacts there, but I think what took the cake for me were the rugs/carpets. I know that after complaining about carpet salesmen so much that it may be difficult to believe me there. But, really, the carpets were amazing! They had carpets there from the 12th century, and the work was spectacular. They were gorgeous. Plus, the entry was pretty cheap compared to some of the other places. It was well worth the visit.

We spent quite a bit of time at the museum, and then it was time for lunch. So, we decided to go to the Arts and Crafts showplace, where there was supposed to be a good cafe. We didn't get lost, really, but we had a hard time finding the place. And, on the way, several very helpful carpet salesmen tried to point us in the right direction...and also sell us carpets. We got the direction and ran with them...well...walked quickly. :)

We finally found a place to eat light, and it was tasty. Then we saw some Turkish arts and crafts that we could have bought, but couldn't afford. :( They were beautiful pieces and all handmade, which was why the cost so much. But, still...

After the arts and crafts, we decided to look at Mosaics. The only thing was...it was hidden! Seriously. We walked down where we thought it was (in the middle of a Bazaar next to the Blue Mosque) and couldn't find a thing other than stuff to buy. After wandering around a while, Norah stopped in a hotel and asked for directions. As it turned out, it was in the little bazaar, and the sign was in Turkish. Who knew?! But, it was well worth getting a little lost, because they had mosaics from like early 6th century all over the place. It was a floor and some wall-coverings that were excavated and preserved, after a lot of work, from several locations around Turkey. From above looking down on the floor, the mosaics actually looked almost like paintings. It wasn't until I got closer that I noticed the tiles were about 1/4 inch square and set in with different colors to emulate folds in clothing and muscles on legs. Seriously, very awesome!

This was followed by a little shopping. I bargained for my first item: a Nazar Boncu-oo-u (it's not spelled that way, but can't find the actually letter which draws out the sound of the first u).It's supposed to ward off the evil eye, and I found a pendant that I thought was pretty. The guy wasn't pushy either, which I liked. Plus, he helped us find someplace else we were looking for. After I paid for the thing, I heard a scuffle in the walk-way. A dude was chasing another dude yelling at him in English. His harsh words ended in, "you son of the bitch", which had two guys not had to drag the guy back, would have been really funny. I'm still not sure what made him so mad, which I saw another guy walking away looking very pleased with himself. Speculate away!!

Back to the Blue Mosque we went. I wanted to see it for myself, without a tricky carpet salesman rushing we through. We got there in time for the call to prayer. We watched, and it was quite interesting. I wanted to know why people seemed to leave after different prayers, so I asked the security guard who was very nice and tried to explain. I'm still not sure why they left at different times, but I can now read all about Islam, because he gave me several books. I'm quite keen to read through them, as he was so helpful, and I'd like some explanation for what all they were doing.

So, that was about it...but I can't forget to mention the cats. They're everywhere! I don't see dogs around that much, but man these cats breed like rabbits!!!

More tomorrow...we're going to the Grand Bazaar, where I'll have to work on my bargaining skills and fighting men off. Really, do they think it works to pick up a girl by saying, "you're really pretty, wanna meet up with me later?" Umm, yeah.

2 comments:

VĂ©ro said...

I love reading about your adventures! I swear if you don;t write something set in Istanbul after this, I'm just going to have to! Can't wait until tomorrow!

Emilia said...

How cool! So many carpet salesmen... LOL.