Small Blessings


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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul
May 19th 2006
Published: May 19th 2006
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I LOVE THIS PHOTO!I LOVE THIS PHOTO!I LOVE THIS PHOTO!

loveitloveitloveitloveit. Wanna get it tattooed on me, but unfortunately (or, perhaps not), no part of my is perfectly 4X6.
Oh, dear friends. The magnificence continues. Today was studded with incredibly touching moments, all springing from nowhere.

After being frankly underwhelmed this morning by the Aya Sofia (alright! alright! It's a work of art and incredible and a testament to God or Allah or G*d and all that and I'm glad I went but once is enough. That's all I meant), I found my way to the serenity of a little artists' school across a small street. Small rooms offering all types of craftwork faced a tiled courtyard that hung with vines and whispered a cool breeze. Music flowed from Somewhere, so soothing I wanted to cry, and a man with bright eyes appeared, iniviting me to make myself at home and to relax in knowing that I was not at a bazaar. The pieces of art were for sale, yes, but I was encouraged to take my time, enjoy the surrounds, and stay as long as I wished. As I poked into each shady room, he appeared once again with a glass of hot tea.

The artwork - pottery, tiles, calligraphy, jewelry - itself possessed a serene beauty, but all of it was out of my price range.
On the Asian Side - KadikoyOn the Asian Side - KadikoyOn the Asian Side - Kadikoy

Istanbul is actually split between two continents, for those of you who do not already know. The touristy melee is on the European Side ("The Golden Horn"), while over on the Asian side, things are far more sedate, more residential, and just kinda lovely. This was, by far, my favorite market. The touts did not get all up in my bidniz as I walked past, and actually let me do my thing if I did indeed decide to come on into their store. I found a lot of mesmerizing spice markets, all of which smelled like history. For some reason, I felt like I might be invading the spice shops' privacy if I photographed them, so I have no photos to share. Sorry. They were super neat.
In the last room, a miniature glass elephant that hung from a brass safety pin caught my eye. It made me think of my little sister. When I asked how much it was, the kind man told me it was not for sale, and then he gave it to me.

Fast forward through a frenetic, hardened walk down the main drag and past to the ferry dock where I braved the barking men hawking fish sandwiches, gave them my one lira, made my way back across the filthy plaza where I claimed a piece of unoccupied real estate on the concrete steps and began to peel away the brown paper from my lunch when...

not so fast.

A be-stubbled man in an unbuttoned sports jacket ran at me from the periphery, sputtering somthing thing I'll never understand, and handed me, hurriedly, as if they were about to explode, two sheets of newspaper.

To sit on.

He left his post, all the way across the square, where he sold .5l bottles of water, to bring me newspaper to sit on.

Fast forward again across the water (mildly seasick) to Karikoy, up and down the cobbled
Plush cycloptic intestines sure put me in the mood for some...Plush cycloptic intestines sure put me in the mood for some...Plush cycloptic intestines sure put me in the mood for some...

... yogurt! Super weird, right? These posters were all over, advertising the glories of some brand of fresh yogurt.
streets, buying the world's most dense and inedible puck of corn bread, in and out of my perch in the sun at the Cafe Pegasus, where Sprite was sold to me as mineral water, down into the vibrant market area, and spat out 2 hours, 2 carrots, 2 tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, 250g strawberreis, 3 oddly crunchy green plums, 1 bunch of purslane, a loaf of long, flat sesame-studded bread, 6 crackers (sesame, fennel, and black cumin seed), 1/4 kilo exquisite jellied candies, 4 preserved figs, 3 salt-cured sardines, a scoop of garlicky sea beans, square of homemade feta, bottle of Turkish wine, box of chocolates, 87 photos, and bunch of radishes later, and onto a bench over-looking the ferry dock.

From the right, a young boy of maybe 9 or 10 appeared. He carried with him a case of small chilled water bottles, and I indicated that I was not interested. He persisted, standing in front of me speaking words, again, I will never understand. After a bit of gesturing, I realized he was troubled by his eye, which was streaked with red capillaries and tearing desperately. He held it open for me to look inside, and I took
Someday my kitchen will look just like this.Someday my kitchen will look just like this.Someday my kitchen will look just like this.

Swarthy dark men included, if all goes according to the plan.
over, opening it further, but seeing nothing. Frustrated and pained, he set down his case of water and joined me on the bench, rubbing his eye like mad. When he pulled his hand away to ask me to take a second look, I saw a LEAF, of all things, now adhered to the side of his nose with tears. A LEAF, no less than an inch long, had been caught in his little eye.

I peeled it off and, astonished, we both laughed, though my stomach was turning at the thought. He finally spoke a word I understood, "Salaam," "peace be with you," and did not leave before selling me a bottle of water.


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21st May 2006

That's gotta hurt
all your stories have been so good, but this one made my stomach turn too ouch!
21st May 2006

well, it just goes to show that karma is alive and well. sorry i have not been reading these, as i just sat down and remembered that you had a blog. you should be on your way home now. i am waiting for a phone call.............
23rd May 2006

Pure Enjoyment
I have really enjoyed reading all of your travel adventures. It's almost like being there with you. Wish I was!

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