17 September 2007

AlSo: Last Hoorah

This morning it was Nat’s turn to leave. She promised to come to Portland in exchange for pics of my bike wedding. We hustled to the Grand Bazaar and learned a good deal about carpets we couldn’t afford from one who had been a 4th generation carpet dealer. Ethem was free for lunch, so we had the chance to see him again. He has decided not to go to Afghanistan because they wouldn’t allow him a security guard and would not vouch for his safety, so he will instead go to DC where he has been invited by one who has a place to pout him up. He’s finished with research about domestic violence abuse cases with men as victims and will be starting a new project on pedophilia. We thought that he would have to write about something fluffy next like, “history of love in the Ottomon Empire” or “Baklava v. g . . .” (a Ramadan sweet). Turns out he didn’t even know Wahab or Ilhan, which makes the whole experience even funnier! We had tea served to us at Tesev by a fellow whose entire job is making tea for employees and guests. After leaving Ethem (sniff!) we walked through the Spice Bazaar and got some good deals and met one vendor who speaks 8 languages, though not much Chinese because they never buy anything according to him. We went to Suleyman Camii, quite possibly the most beautiful mosque in Turkey at least. The carpet is a tiled pattern of prayer mats pointing to Mecca, and the architectural nuances of the mosque are too numerous to detail, even if I did have the eye to appreciate them all. It’s awe-inspiring. We left the interior to find a movie set outside. Yet another wacky sighting to chalk up to our AlSo. Then it was time to head back to the Grand Bazaar and tackle the voluminous list of gifts to get people. I hate shopping. Truly. Bargaining makes it a little better, and it’s great in learning numbers, but in the end it just makes me feel burdened and tired. We only persevered because they were thank you gifts which I hope will be useful. Corey bought not one but TWO kilims. It was such a leap of faith, but I was not amazed. Corey leaps well. We had a celebratory piece of baklava and meditated on our new impoverished state. Quickly back to get our things, tram and ferry to Rick’s house by way of the best vegetarian durum ever! And we wiled a few hours talking with Rick, a nice closed circle to our beginning in Istanbul. If any final memory would make one want to come back to Turkey, it’s Rick’s company.

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