Carla and Ted's Istanbul Travel Blog

"I have not told half of what I have seen."                       
Marco Polo

Ted and Carla were in Istanbul for the month of May 2007. We posted some pix and details below.
We're also adding some tips to the
Istanbul Travel Tips page, as we're learning new stuff daily.
*note: if you're reading this blog for the first time, you should probably start at the
bottom of the page.*

5/29/2007 We're winding down now, tying up loose ends and getting ready to leave tomorow night. We had to buy another bag to carry on the plane; we're bringing home too much stuff. Ted bought an unloved old school saz today for $75.
I just spotted a poster in Beyoglu that informed me that Gogol Bordello played here just 3 days ago and we missed it. I've probably passed that poster 50 times. I was so mad. That really would have topped off the trip, they are my favorite band.
But, it's been not only a fun trip, but a very productive one. We've established a good relationship with the Turkish Hockey League, and I have no doubt we'll be back.
We have created a page about Hicran Hanim, who is out to save Anatolian culture and educate people about it. Click here to see it.
We have also posted a page with more photos here.
So, I guess this is the last entry, though I know I'll come back and add some stuff when I get home. I'll put up a page with more photos and another with Ankara info.
Iyi Akşamlar!

5/27/2007 Today's blog is too photo intensive to post here. It gets it's own page so it doesn't take an hour to load. Click here to view.

5/26/2007 Today we went to the neighborhood of Zeytinburnu to check out the area of the new rink scheduled to open in 3 months where the Istanbul hockey team will play. We tried to call the captain for directions, but it turns out that he was on the ice and couldn't answer, so we wandered and did not find it. As we were headed back to the tram to meet Bob and friends for a dinner outing, Capt. Cengiz called back with directions. Turns out, it's right on the city walls at the sea, where we were going to explore in the morning anyway.
In the evening, we met our friends and got on the ferryboat to go to a cool restaurant on the Asian side. I had a stew with meat and cherries in it, very good. Cherries are in season right now and really good.
The other day we checked out Binbirdirek Cistern. (I probably spelled that wrong.) It's only been open a year or two, I think. They say it was packed with trash before the restoration. It's 10 lira to get in, but I'm not sure it's worth that much. But, you do get a free tea or coffee in the cafe with that.

This is the best photo I could get of the cafe. It's lovely and quiet in there. We were the only visitors there. The cistern itself isn't as interesting as the more famous Yerebatan cistern because Yerebatan uses salvaged pillars from all over and it's fun to spot the different styles. It also still has water in it and fishes. The interesting thing about Binbirdirek is the artist renderings of the Byzantine palace complex that is mostly gone now.

5/25/2007 We have walked many miles today. We started out going to the hospital for a last check with the doctor. All clear. So, we did the mosque tour. First we went to Suleymaniye and saw the tomb of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent.

We usually see this mosque from across the Golden Horn and it is really imposing on it's hill.

Next, we went to the nearby Greek Orthodox church at one end of the aquaduct. It is now a mosque.

This is very close to the university, so we cut through there and went to the Beyazit Mosque, then through the Grand Bazaar to see if we could carry off anything else. We got a couple gifts, then went down the hill towards the Spice Market. We found a great little hidden street of merchants specializing in scarves. You can get there by going out the back door of the spice market and straight up the alley.

Then, we went to Yeni Mosque next door. We crossed the Galata bridge, fighting of the fish mongers as we went and checked out the shop of the guy who is supposed to have invented baklava. Yum. They say you can get soaked in milk there, but they were out. Another trip maybe.
Nap time now.

5/24/2007 Wandered around Sultanahmet today. That's the oldest area, where the hippodrome, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace ect. are located. Merchants and restaurant owners are always trying to drag you in off the street into their place. One of their techniques is to ask you where you're from. We've started telling them 'Beyoglu'. It completely short circuits them. It gives you time to get away.
We've passed the entrance to Gulhane Park a hundred times without going in. It was the Sultan's garden and is a walled in park behind the Topkapi. We just never took the time. It is a pleasant walk, though, with a nice view of the back of the palace.

We topped it off with dinner in my favorite area, the alley beside Cicek Pasaji, where you can get fishes and listen to bands. They usually crank up around 9pm.

5/23/2007 Many years ago, we were at an antique market in Atlanta Georgia. We spotted something that completely freaked us out. It was an Ottoman empire battle standard. It doesn't look like a flag, though, it's a 3 1/2 foot pole with a woven cover, horse tails and a finial at the top. The owner started telling us it was colonial African, made from this and that. We smiled and nodded and haggled him down alittle, and then wrote him a check. When we handed it over, he recognized Ted's name on it and knew his museum background. We told him what he really had.
Today, we took a photo of it to the Topkapi Palace. It opened some doors. The only two places you can find these things is the Topkapi and the Askeri Muze. (Army museum) It's fun to show this photo to people here and see their jaws drop.
I got a photo of their collection.

They didn't know what to tell us. Ted had already researched it's history and knew more than they did about it. There wasn't even an explanation of it in the gallery.

5/22/2007 We've been running around making up for lost time and coming home to crash. I haven't had the energy to blog. I'd just about kill for a foot massage right now. We hit the covered bazaar again yesterday. We've got a favorite spot for lunch just outside one of the small gates on the uphill side. No pressure, good food, cheap. And oddly enough, called "Özlem".

It's a nice oasis when the crush of the bazaar is getting to you. There are some good shops in the han (courtyard) beyond it, as well.They are mostly metalwork, but there are some antiques also. If you're shopping the bazaar, be sure to comb the hans for hidden treasures.
More frenzied futbol parades in the last two days. When the guy in our neighborhood comes out with the davul, the kids go nuts. I want to go running down there too, but I don't know the chants, or even which team they're cheering.
I'm all settled in now and feeling like I could stay here. The only things I'll miss are sushi and some friends and family. (You can get sushi here, but it's outrageously expensive!) I've even got a house picked out. We walked into a shop in Ankara right below the castle walls. The owner showed us through to the courtyard, and it was actually an old house. I think it was meant for an extended family. The courtyard had a waterfall they had created and there were rooms scattered around it at different levels. It was really unusual. I just love the way the Turks get creative with working with whatever space is available between buildings. This family had a teahouse with 4 different rooms. There were rugs and cushions and divans all around.

There were even ducklets roaming around. (I don't remember seeing duck on a menu anywhere.) I wish I could have posted photos, but it's hard to capture this sprawling house with a camera.
Only about 10 days left. It's hard to believe the month is almost over. We go straight to Darbukastani Independence Day for decompression.

5/20/2007 Well, there haven't been any posts about Istanbul after we got back to it because Ted's been in the hospital since then. He was in a hockey tournament that he got back from the day before we left the states; and he took a bad hit. When he woke up after his first night here, he had alot of pain in his shoulder. Finally, he went to the hospital and got an x-ray. He's got a collapsed lung and a broken rib. They say the Amerikan Hastanesi is the best. They've certainly been good here. They took care of him right away, he never sat in a single waiting room. Once we were in the room, we realized we were hungry, I went down to the cafe and brought up some food, but when I got back, there were already 2 meals waiting. They let me come and go as I please and sleep on a pull out bed in Ted's room. We've been here for 48 hours and they are supposed to release him today. He's feeling much better. Everyone was very pleasant and we felt that Ted received excellent care. I will tell you though; hospital food is horrible wherever you go. But I paraded right past the nurse's station with pizza boxes and such, no problem.
So....what do you suppose we were charged for 2 days in the hospital, x-rays, prescriptions, etc? It was just over $1000.

5/18/2007 (by Ted...) The other night in Ankara, the Turkish National Hockey Team Capt. Gokturk and Asst. Capt. Oktay took me and Coach Clive to the Kizilay neighborhood for dinner and to listen to music at one of the traditional saz bars. Kizilay is the downtown center of Ankara with broad criss/crossing pedestrian thoroughfares lined with bars, restaurants, clubs, and boutiques. The sides of each street are lined with outdoor seating for all the restaurants. It's a bustling area where everyone comes to meet for the evenings. The first saz bar we went to sucked. We ate kebap there and drank Efes beer and went looking for better music. We ended up at a second floor saz bar called Solaria Turku Evi when we were seated, the band was just setting up and they were playing recorded music. A couple was dancing to the Ankara style folk music. The gentleman was wearing a suit and tie and playing the wooden spoons as he danced. Both danced a Misket style of dance. When the band was set up and they turned off the canned music, the couple left. (???) The band had a drummer playing darbuka and davul; a saz player on long-neck saz (I only saw long neck saz players in the bars in Ankara, almost always short neck in Istanbul) a ney and zurna player, a keyboard player, and male and female singers. They started out playing contemorary folk songs, then the lights on the dance floor came up and the band played a medley of folk songs from the Antep region, while the owner of the club and his son lead more than a dozen male and female customers in Antep style halay (line dance, sometimes with linked pinkies or locked arms.) dancing around the davul player in the middle of the floor. After a break, they started playing folk songs again and customers could request a song by writing the title on a napkin, which the waiter would take to the band. I asked for a pen to request a song, which made Gokturk and Oktay very curious. When the band played my song, Burasa Mustur, the customers cheered for the beloved sad song and the Turkish hockey players shook their heads in disbelief. Clive drank raki, the others drank Efes and ate Antep fistik (pistachios), which we all agreed were addictive. Time to leave came so we could get back for a late night goalie clinic. We tipped the band and said our good-byes to a lovely evening in Kizilay thanks to Gokturk. Coach Clive exclaimed that this was the first night he'd been out on the town since arriving in December. I told him that it was a very Turkish experience. As we write this, it is the May 19 youth holiday and on tv, from the Ankara May 19 Stadium is a huge celebration, featuring over 400 kids doing folk dance from across Anatolia, a real sign of Turkish pride, and damn fun to watch.

5/17/2007! I'm going to say something radical here...I think the shopping is better in Ankara than Istanbul. Now, of course, this is Turku's website, and I'm assuming that, if you are reading this, you are most likely more interested in folk crafts than the kitch and designer knock-offs that you find in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar. You do find lots of good folk stuff in the Bazaar, especially with the Afghani merchants. And their prices are pretty good. But we found more of a variety at better prices around the hısarı in Ankara. There is not the shear volume of stuff you find in Istanbul, but I really liked the Ankara experience.
We've seen a tiny fraction of this town because we were enjoying the area of the fortress so much. Every time we thought we'd seen all the shops, we'd spot another street full of them. The shop keepers here are not as aggressive as they are in Istanbul. They still hover badly. You have to get used to that. If you look at something for more than a few seconds, or touch it, they hurry over to take it off the wall, or spread it out so you can see it better. You have to learn to let them do their thing. But they don't bug you so much in Ankara. The prices are better there, and the stuff you find in the shops is more of the real ethnographic stuff; not the touristy junk. There are quite a few great shops inside the walls, but they get cheaper as you get back in the streets around the outside of the walls.
Oh noes! They have Özsuts in Ankara too. We could probably lose some weight on this trip if it were not for Özsut. They've got all kinds of decadent desserts and drinks. Wherever you go, the service is great. Waiters take such good care of you, but when you're done, they don't bother you til you ask for a bill. You can sit there all day if you want, and hang out. And that is how you chill Turkish style.

5/16/2007 I'm taking a little down-time since Ted's on the ice most of the day today and I'm worn out and need to rehydrate. Gotta get ready for my second assault on the fortress tomorow.
Oh...I found out what the little davul parade was about the other night. Fener had won a futbol championship. Fener fans were out celebrating.
Random thoughts on Ankara...
There are few cats here. Not like in Istanbul, which is over-run with them. Everyone feeds and pets them, tho, and they are huge. We did see some ducklings roaming a tea house and an Anatolian shepherd puppy in a bead shop. (wish i'd gotten a photo, he was irresistable.) Sometimes we see fortune telling bunnies, too.

5/15/2007 Ankara- Day 2. Incredible. The travel guides don't say so much about Ankara. I've read that it can be done in a day. I guess it can. It's going to take us a couple days to finish up at the fortress, though. The reason? Some REALLY cool people. And did we shop? Why yes, we did.

So....there's this hisari on a hill just above the museum of Anatolian Civilizations. (That will have to wait til day 3, as well.) Inside the walls is a fantastic old village. Here is the gate...

I'm not going to try and tell you the history of this place for reasons that will become more obvious later.
There are some incredible shops inside, but we ended up doing all our buying just outside the walls. We just kept finding more and more shops on the streets around the outside of the walls and finally had to leave to get to the rink for the hockey clinics.
We never did get to the very top of the walls. We found a large hole in the wall and thought there were probably stairs going up inside that hole. But before we got to it, a village boy went up there with his dog and sent the dog inside. A crazy looking old man with a stick came out and fussed at them, so we decided we didn't need to know what was in that hole.
All the shops inside the walls are in old houses. We went up the stairs of a particularly nice house that had it's door open. The inside was incredible, 4 stories of authentic Ottoman architecture. There was a real nice guy there who was fixing it up to be a tea house. For the moment, it was an antique shop. We were looking at the house as much as the antiques so the owner started telling us about it. He said it was built in 1850. He closed up the front door and showed us around the entire house. It had all kinds of interesting spaces, few of them square. My favorite was the attic space, which had a sloped ceiling and the pigeon coup!
As you walk around the walls, you notice that the construction is somewhat motley, as it uses some salvaged stones from all kinds of different time periods, even different civilizations. There is Roman and Greek writing carved into the stone. One part of the inside wall caught our attention when we saw four statues lying sideways, built into the wall...

As we were walking away from it, we saw an older woman standing in her garden gate. She asked us where we were from. We told her, and she launched into her tale...
Hicran Hanim gets her own page.

We are on the ice all day tomorow (wednesday) and flying back to Istanbul on Friday. We're so glad we came to Ankara.
I'm not sure what else to tell you about the hockey here. It feels very strange to be mixing our hockey and our Turkish experience. These people are really struggling. It's hard to get equipment. Everyone shares the gear that's available. We brought them a bag of extra stuff we had at home, plus a couple things from my women's team.

5/14/2007 Ankara- Day 1. We love it. Ankara is more laid back than Istanbul, greener and less crowded. (Istanbul is still our favorite city on the planet) It's so exciting to us that they've got a hockey program going. The people we've met so far are fun and enthusiastic, in spite of great adversity. They've got a pretty good rink, with a nice cafe with a big window the length of the ice that serves everything...full bar, full restaurant, teas and coffees, red bull, smoothies....perfect.

There is a women's league and one of their players, Esra, is translating for us. We love her, too.
There's a pretty fair sized figure skating program, and I'm surprised at the number of people that come out for public sessions during the weekday.
There's Clive, who's here from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to coach. He's been living in our hotel since January. I can't imagine. This hotel is in the middle of nowhere and dull as dirt. We've got to find out how Clive ended up here.
They say there's a new rink opening in Istanbul next season!

5/13/2007 There is supposed to be a flea market in Uskudar on Sundays that has alot of antiques, so we took a ferry over. There was only one antique mall that we could find, and an old Turkish Bath that had been converted into shops. 'Bout it. Took the ferry back over towards Sultanahmet and wandered. We were suprised and happy to see that there was alot of renovation of the old Ottoman houses going on, especially below the Blue Mosque.

We kept wandering down through the Rom neighborhood there til we got to the city walls. These are being fixed up too, and you can find cafes and shops tucked away in and on them. Here's a great example of some of the odd angles the old Ottoman houses  have...

Alot of the houses have nice shops. Out front of one we found this old rotisserie...

10:30pm, time for a parade. Someone walks down the street banging a davul with about 20 children running after him, chanting. I should just hang a microphone out the window to catch the call to prayer, and the church bells, and the bread seller calling, and the martens making their racket. When merchants walk down the street calling, people lower baskets with money to him and he puts the stuff in the basket to go back up.

5/11/2007 Down-time. Sure. We figured, we'll be in Istanbul for a month; we can slow down and not go so hard. We usually hit the ground running and crash when we get home. I thought I'd take today off. I sit around for a while, play with the computer, rest my weary bones. Then I think, "Istanbul is out there."
Bye, bye. Time to go out and play.

5/10/2007 We took the ferry up the Golden Horn today and got off at the old city walls. It's a pretty good walk from there. You walk straight across the park and cross the street, turn right and cut through the park in front of the walls. If you follow the path, you go right through the wall. We followed the street through the neighborhoods. The further we got up the hill, the more we saw of the old Byzantine walls. Halfway up, we came on the shell of this old Byzantine palace. They are restoring it right now. Can't wait to see it finished.

We turned down to the left and went to Chora, a 4th century Byzantine Church with wonderful mozaics.

Coming back,we took a cab to Unkapani, where the music mall is. We hauled our load of cd's back up to Isteklal and hit a couple more music stores on the way home. One store had a really interesting find; a set of 7 CD's that were each based on a makam. Each CD has instructions on what time of day to listen to it, what element it corresponds to and what ailments it relieves. Hmmm...wonder if there's one for sore feet, tired eyes, and exhaustion. (or, as we know it...."Istanbul hangover")

5/9/2007 The neighborhood of Çukercuma is famous for it's antique shops. It's just down the hill from our flat. It's hard to believe some of the things we've found there, but we've given up expecting to find a special piece cheap. These people know what they've got. I've especially been salivating over some of the incredible Art Nuevo pieces we've seen, like little glass pitchers with silver fittings and this stove that would surely fetch alot of money in the States...

Unfortunately, it would not fit in my luggage.
So, we contented ourselves with the shops around Sultanahmet. I did buy some stuff at this large shop at the Blue Mosque, which we refer to as the 'Big Lots' of Sultanahmet.
Sleepy now. I'll finish this up tomorow.

5/8/2007 I took the sardine train to the Grand Bazaar all by myself today.

I spent alot of money.

I was in the bazaar when I heard alot of men yelling vehemently. There was a large group of them waving their hands and making alot of noise. I became concerned that it might be a demonstration. I asked a shopkeeper. He said, "it is...(he searched for words)...Wall Street!" I felt silly.

5/7/2007 Ted went to the Asian side to take care of some business, so I wandered Isteklal alone, taking my time in the shops. I got up to Çiçek Pasaji just as I got hungry for lunch. I love the street alongside it, it's one of my favorites. It's a narrow street with fish and produce markets and cafes. I sat just inside a cafe and ordered a coke, a spicy tomato salad and 4 skewers of midye tava (fried mussels). The waiter brought me midye tava, tomato salad, and a pint of beer. I sat and stared at it for a second and then decided that I was supposed to have that beer, so I did. Sigh. I just relaxed and watched the people walking through the market and the restaurant owner arranging his dead fish display to make it look appetizing.

I especially like the surprised looking red fish in the middle.
Now I am back at the flat typing while Ted has a saz lesson and Bob gives me a Turkish tea lesson. They use a double teapot. The bottom is filled with water. You put the tea in the top and add just a tiny bit of water, then swish the grounds around the pot. When the water in the bottom pot boils, you pour it in the top and let it steep about 10 minutes. You pour alittle in your glass and see how strong it is by the color, then add hot water from the bottom pot til it's right for you. (Half the reason I'm keeping this blog is so I'll remember stuff later)
We were reading a magazine article here that talked about Sulimaniye Mosque, which was built by the famous 16th century architect Sinan. Sinan built many of Istanbul's most beautiful and impressive structures. Sulimaniye was starting to have some problems with the keystones holding up the dome. They were afraid they might have to tear it down. They called in architects from all over to study the problem. As they were going over the place, one of them found a note from Sinan himself; "If you have found this note, it means that one of the keystones is damaged. Here is how you fix it..."

5/6/2007 Sorry, no pix today. Seems like every day we leave the flat with the intention of going to a particular place and coming back for awhile; but instead, we go there, then wander further and further. Soon, we're saying (again) 'if I'd known we were going to walk this far, I would have brought this and that.' Today I went out without the camera, thinking we were just going to the Askeri museum and back. We got there and the wing with the fabulous Sultan's tents was STILL closed for renovation (reopening may 2008; it was closed when we were here a year ago) so, we went to Dolmabaçe Palace. 'Bout time. That's usually near the top of the tourist list. It was really spectacular, but not so Turkish. Also, they make you go through with a tour guide and herd you through like sheep. Enough of the tourist thing. We walked all along the Bosphorus, back towards the funicular train to take us back up the hill to our neighborhood. We walked miles. It was a nice scene, with families picnicing by the water. THAT was when I wished I had my camera. A man had a little hand-cranked merry-go-round thing with about 6 swings on it and there was one little girl with a big smile going round.
As we left the apartment today, the gate of the church across the street was open, so we went in. The church was beautiful, with a vaulted ceiling with black and white stripes. We also got into the Greek Orthodox Church near Taksim Square. That was a surprise. The gates just stood open and the big dogs were chained to the fence, so we went in. We got as far as the foyer and there was an older man watching the place. The sanctuary was locked, so we checked out the icons in the foyer. After a minute the man seemed to decide we were ok and unlocked a side door for us. It was just gorgeous. I wish I could have gotten photos. It was set up completely different than any church I'd seen. It had a huge, ornate screen where I expected the altar to be. Ted said that behind the screen is where the priests did their rites. Here, I found a photo...

5/5/2007 We really dove in today. It was just packed in the street markets between the covered bazaar and the spice bazaar. We went up the long hill, where different types of merchants were grouped together. (Hey Sara! We found that market inside an old Turkish Bath that we were looking for behind the spice market. There was a nice tea room in the center) Then we made our first trip into the covered bazaar. We've been there dozens of times and still get lost. It's massive. and it's not on a grid.  It's been added onto for a couple hundred years and it's not easy to find your way. There are maps and street names at the corners, but that takes the fun out of it. We didn't want to buy much the first day, but of course, the merchants want you to buy everything. They all have the same cute lines. Ignore them completely, hard as that is. We came out of the bazaar at another gate and down a different street and we were glad we did. This was a big surprise for us. This street specializes in formalwear. There were the usual tuxes and wedding dresses, then there were the shops that had the boy's circumcision ceremony outfits. They dress the boys up like little princes for the occasion.

Best of all, alot of the formal dresses we saw in the windows were fancy traditional costumes. We're going to go back on a quieter, non-market day and check them out again. Some of them could work for Turku dancers. Ted got a photo of the fanciest....

Yow! I'm not sure I can dance in that. And I wouldn't be caught dead in pink; but most that we saw were reds. That works. (Hey Sheque, check this area out next importing trip!)
So then, we got back to the area of the covered bazaar. They've finally finished renovating the back entrance to Yeni Camii, so you can get in without getting pooped on by pigeons. No umbrella needed. We came back through the spice market. (Though there's lots there besides spices.) Across the bridge, coming home, we passed a fish market, and we were already too late for the classical concert at the Crimean Church, so we walked through and checked out the seafood. We allowed ourselves to be talked into a plate of fried fish there.
All that shopping in the best markets of exotic Istanbul and what did we come home with? Cheese and Pastirma. It was really good cheese and pastrami, though.

5/4/2007 It was a good day. Perfect weather. We met Bob and went to Hasan's shop to buy a saz.

After we spend lots of $$$ there, Hasan took us out for a feast, which included some pretty scary stuff (like onions cooked in pomagranate molasses) but it was all wonderfull. And Bob kept us amused with his scary-good Borat impression. (We saw that movie recently and had to laugh when we realized we had every song on the songtrack except one in our music library) We ate too much and went to check out Bob's house all the way out in Kocamustafapasa. That's a long way. He told us that, near our flat, there was a restaurant where a good band was playing. The place was in a Byzantine era stone cellar with arched ceilings. We finished our meal around 10pm and the band still hadn't set up, but the food was great! When we sat down, they brought out a tray with a dozen little tiny dishes with samples of all their appetizers (which often constitute a Turkish meal) to try before we made up our minds. We ate too much and did the nightly promanade of Isteklal.

All I could think was...'Turku wedding cake'

5/2/2007 Found both. I was afraid to plug it in, but nothing blew up. Lots of rain today, but we wandered down most of the side streets off Isteklal, our favorite area.

It stopped raining in time for the evening promanade of Isteklal. It was packed, as usual, with everyone from punk kids to women in full covering. It's the place to be after dark. You can eat, drink, dance, shop, socialize; it's a great scene. We're getting all kinds of emails about Iceland closing. We're kind of glad to be on the other side of the planet right now. Good luck dealing with that, guys.

5/1/2007 We're here! First thing, we get news that Iceland Skating rink has closed indefinately. Nothing we can do from here. Hoping to find a power cord for this computer today, or there won't be many posts.
The flat is so cool! We're pretending to be locals. We didn't do much yesterday, we had no sleep and just enough energy to go up the hill for our first 'home cooked meal'. Yummy. Everything's just where we left it.
For those of you wondering about the political trouble here, it is a little weird. There is an very much increased police/military presence in this busy neighborhood, but no trouble. The police aren't bothering anyone, or acting tense. We couldn't get the first 3 atms we tried to work, and we started getting concerned, but then we got cash from the 'sugar bank'.
Off to find a power cord and breakfast!

Here is the view out our windows. It's the Crimean Memorial Church. The church bells went off around 9am.

12/29/2006- We're headed to our sixth visit to fabulous Istanbul for the entire month of May! We just can't wait! We found a great little furnished apartment in Beyoglu. It ends up cheaper than a hotel, and much more comfortable. These people buy vintage houses in Istanbul and restore them to rent out to tourists. What a great job! You can check it out here. Since it has an internet connection, we're taking the laptop and posting updates. Istanbul is full of internet cafes, but this will save alot of fuss.
It will be nice to have all the time we want; we usually run all over town til we're exhausted and need a vacation. Ted intends to study saz while we're here. We also intend to create a cd of Turku's best Turkish songs to give out as gifts. It's amazing how fast it can turn a mercenary shopkeeper into an instant friend who just wants to sit and drink tea and talk about Turkish culture. One incident from our last trip comes to mind...Ted was wandering around one small area of the bazaar while Sara and Carla were having Sara fitted for a dance costume. One shopkeeper kept pestering him, offering a 'free gift' and such. Finally, Ted stopped him and said, 'no, I have a gift for you,' and handed him a Turku CD. 'This is my band.' It completely short-circuited the business man and the real Turk emerged. By the time Sara and Carla came out of the shop, Ted was having tea with several Sufi gentlemen in the cafe next door. Turns out, they knew our friend Bob, who lives in Istanbul. We came back for a second visit later and heard all about the circumstances that brought the merchant to Istanbul, where so many people migrate to find work. Anyway, we're creating this CD because in the past, when we have given one of our first three albums out, the recipient will put the CD in the player and groove to the Turkish songs, then hit the skip button on all the non-Turkish songs.

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