My last post was a rather somber reminder that things are not equal in this world of ours. As a German friend (& countless others) said once to me when I was grieving the sorrows of this journey... "Life is not fair". Terrible things happen to innocent people and terrible people seem sometimes to skate through life unscathed. I for one believe in imminent judgement and sometimes instant karma, but also I am eternally grateful for GRACE.
Eye also think, it helps not to take one's self, or one's existentialist ruminations too seriously. While I will fight for justice and mercy to the last ounce of my puny existence, I also know I will never make it without a sense of humor or appreciation for the absurd. This particular post will celebrate the curious, the ironic, the anomalies that make life so interesting currently. If you have things to add... please do comment. I need a chuckle every now and then.
Same walk about... now here's the weird little thing about his picture...we were exploring "hans" or shops of the back alleys. This was an open area in back of a thoroughfare. No traffic back here, just some storage and private spots for laborers to go have some tea. I spied this sort of vine like tree behind a wall and was surprised at the brilliant blue flowers blooming in late November. Sure enough, someone had taken the time to duct tape plastic flowers to the living tree, all over. I have no idea who else will ever see this tree given its location, but at least I appreciated the artistry that went into it. A bright spot in a grey, wet chilly day.
If this were a fish pond, it would make sense that there were so many of these silvery creatures swimming around in here. The funny thing is, it isn't a fish pond. It is a deserted hamam and there aren't supposed to be fish in here at all. This magnificent
(who is an irony in and of himself) counted to 37 while he was waiting for me to explore the recesses of the building that went very deep into stunning rooms that most likely could tell many many tales. Why are there fish in a hamam? I don't know, but while I was standing there, a young kid, about 13 I think, came by and "herded" the fish by waving his hand expertly over the surface of the water. I could tell he'd spent considerable time amusing himself thus. I smiled at him as I watched his skill determine the course of the school. He grinned back shyly. It's amazing how one smile can open up worlds of understanding. I don't know his back story, but I imagine he too could tell some stories, particularly about this magnificent building that now houses boxes and secrets and fish.
I wanted these two pictures side by side. Both are identified as "Angels". One is a naturally occurring (if I read the Turkish sign correctly) image within a stone cut found in the famed Hagia Sofia.. The other is a painted icon in a primitive cave church in Cappadocia. I am intrigued by their similarities. I think it's a bit spine tingling.
When I saw a large crowd quietly gathering in Taksim, I could tell something different was going on. Street musicians are a dime a dozen (and sometimes extremely good) on Istiklal Ave.. I was really astounded though at this guy. A Turkish hippie. And his instrument... he said that only 4 or 5 people in the world know how to create it. He played it with his fingers and it sounded like music of heaven. So sweet and gentle, as was he.
I tried to download the short video I took, but I am unable to get it linked. You will just have to come to Istanbul and see if you can find him yourself.
Journeyed to the Grand Bazaar on Saturday. It's a good thing there are no bars in there... some people might not ever come out. The bazaar is a true oddity in that hundreds of shops sell EXACTLY the same Chinese made Turkish look alike brands of Kitsch. I argued with one guy who told me his Ukelele's were made "right here in Turkey miss..." I pointed out the PRC label glued to the inside of the uke... but he persisted. Oh well. There are 5,000 shops in this covered area which has been in operation since 1461. http://www.grandbazaaristanbul.org/Grand_Bazaar_Istanbul.html
One man offered my companion some money or a trade for me. One, about 28 years old made a marriage proposal, and one would not let go of my hand. His neighbor, about 70, asked me "can I have you now?" I am not sure what he had in mind, but I had a great time at the bazaar and I will return before Christmas. As we found an exit out into dark open air (time ceases in the bazaar) we made our way down an unfamiliar avenue of even cheaper shops, many of which were selling bridal array, o\Ottoman era wear, and shoes. A weird combo I know, but it got weirder.
There are many other things on the list of Turkish anomalies. Here is a bulleted sample:
- They take this special plant... and put bits of glass and aluminum and kitsch all over it
- They complain a lot about everything
- Food is packaged, injected, altered, supersized, chemicalized, mistreated and generally taken for granted as an entitlement
- They raise billions of dollars for cancer research but refuse to change what they breathe, eat, smoke, put on or into their bodies
- They have this piece of cloth that they almost place in a position of worship even though most of them are against idol worship.
- They think they are the most fantastic place on the face of the planet, without having visited any other place for any significant length of time.
Hey.... you in the burka, don't look at me like that again ok..........?