BACK TO THE EUROPEAN SIDE
You can see Haiga Sophia in the distance as we ferry back to the other side of Istanbul, stuffed, happy, but still yearning for more. Why is it we always yearn for more? In some ways, yearning is the human emotion that brought me here to this strange and dizzying land. One more adventure, as if I haven't had enough of those. Oh but this is Turkey, and I am, as many of my friends told me I would be... ecstatic most of the time about my new home. Faith is imbedded in all of life here. It is unavoidable. One simply must pray when riding in a taxi on these streets & byways. So many things about this place remind me daily of the need to trust in the maker of the journey. If enternity is real, and I know it to be... then isn't all of it an ongoing adventure? Certainly I yearn for a home nearer to rest and perfection, but in the meantime, I will not settle for slow death of age and uselessness. I will "eat" life... "drink" in experience and new understandings and share these with friends of like mind and heart.
We approach the shores at a differnt place, Eminou, near Sultan Achmet Square with the mission of finding the famed spice market. The shores were absolutely teaming with thousands of people with the exact same mission. The long corridor was hot and the noise was deafening with hawkers of wares and people hollering back and children and a hundred different tounges exchanging words. I have never been touched by so many strangers in so many strange ways in my life
I bought some sumac, and some saffron for less than $2. Later I will use it for rice and vegetables. It is interesting to think that the fortunes of many families and empires hinged upon the importation of these precious addtions to food. Here they make tea from many of the spices and flowers. I am looking forward to winter when street vendors sell a hot milk drink made with violet root. Salep.
We stopped in an old hotel in the middle of the tourist district for drinks and more conversation, sharing each other's life stories in bits and pieces, laughing and enjoying the moment after haggling with a carpet dealer over a bag and a rug. The call to break fast was approaching and we left for the main square of Hagia Sophia where families anxiously awaited the ok to eat and drink and break the month long day fasting. This is signified by the appearnace in the sky over mecca of the crescent moon and star... not concidentally the symbols of the Turkish flag.
We hopped the metro and returned to Ortokoy and our neighborhood where the evening continued with our local square flooded with more people sending up lanterns and lights into the night sky while laughing and smoking and drinking into the night. So lovely. One would think we had enough food, but this day...
Bayram Secur comes for the express purpose of eating, ....sweets in particular.
I bought a sweet, not sure what it's name is, but it is a nest of shredded phillo with walnuts, honey & pistachios. It took me 3 days to finish it, just so sweet and rich. I also bought fresh figs, which I had never tasted. What a delight.
Eventually we headed home past the still busy streets, passing braziers with burning coals to make the sweet Turkish tea, the Kebab stands, produce markets, bars, florists... still open near midnight and no sign of closure in sight. This is were I live. Next blog, I would like to introduce you to my neighborhood and some of its inhabitants.