Well, we had a pretty low-key weekend, which was nice after a busy week of teaching. I was pretty wrecked on Friday night.
On Saturday, Richie and I wandered around a nearby area with lots of second-hand furniture shops. We're looking for a couple of chairs to go with our new table. We found some chairs, but I think its the type of situation where you're supposed to haggle with people, and I just didn't quite feel up to the experience at the time. I think I might give it another go this coming weekend. I'm ready for the challenge.
While we were looking around at furniture, I enjoyed meandering a bit and really enjoyed taking time to admire some of the beautiful buildings around. Lovely decorative buildings, Ottoman designs I suppose. It seems sometimes like the last few weeks have been a bit of a blur, with so much going on and so many things to take in, and I feel as if I haven't had too much time to slowly digest all these new experiences. I loved just stopping to look at stuff, to really see things, to breath deeply, feel my feet walking along the cobbled streets, and see all the people going about their lives.
On Sunday we did our weekly shop at the Tarlabasi market, which was great. We even ran into a few of my fellow teachers. I felt a bit more comfortable with the whole noisy, lively, colourful experience of the market and was more confident asking for things, and even joking a bit, in very limited ways, with some of the stall vendors. One man, who I bought rice and bulgur wheat from, asked if we were 'Alman' (aka German) and I told him that I was American. Then he said, 'Bush, chok problem' which basically means 'very much problem' in a sort of literal way. Then he flexed his two arms like a strong man, smiled broadly and said, 'Obama, chok guzel!' which means, 'very nice! beautiful!' We had a laugh together, and shared a moment of universal understanding. We also bought some fish this time. We didn't know exactly what it was, but it turned out to be seabass, and it was delicious! All the fish are sold whole, and you just point to what you want. They have everything from tiny little anchovies, to the occasional whole flounder. We pointed out our two fish and the man picked the up and tossed them to his partner who gestured to us to ask if we wanted the fish cleaned. I was relieved, because I'd just noticed the fish weren't gutted or anything, and I was beginning to plan how exactly I was going to try and do that. I smiled and nodded and he proceeded on the spot to scale and gut the fish. Then he dropped the fish in a plastic bag and tossed them back to his co-worker, who politely handed them to us and took our 6 TL, which is about 3 euros or maybe like 4 dollars. Not too bad for two fresh seabass!
After our shopping, we headed north past Taksim Square to the military museum. We managed to get there in time to see the Ottoman military band, which was pretty cool. It was quite a spectacle and I enjoyed getting a tiny bit more of an image of what things were like in Ottoman times.
Scenes from a mural of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.
Mehmet Fatih, the Conqueror of Constantinople.
A cool-looking sultan.