Candy Con-women and Brutal Burkas: June 18th in Istanbul

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Today was our first full day in Istanbul and I awoke at around 7ish, starting my day off with a shower and a breakfast on the roof, overlooking the richly colored ruins of the city. Other families were enjoying breakfast together on their roofs as well; i would love to indulge in a simple outdoor luxury like this everyday out in the sunshine.

We explored the city today and walked along the narrow roads congested with barbarous taxi drivers, cheap electronic stores, and of course classic tourism shops. BUT, there were tons of unique boutiques as well with tons of quirky vintage goodies (things you’d find at the flea market like old phones, doll heads and pictures) as well as tons of silver, beautifully colored fabrics, fresh fruit (notably oranges and pomegranets), some funky clothing, and antique furnishings. Istanbul seems like a middle-eastern city with a european touch to it, tucked away and surrounded by beautiful archaic monuments and draped in colorful mosaics of graffiti, embellished burkas, and the faces of millions, literally. It’s like no place I have ever seen before. And if you are looking for the place where you’re gullibly naive tourist look won’t attract attention, look further because the restaurant owners here WILL NOT stop bugging you to sit down and drink coffee at their places and people will constantly be trying to scam you/rip you off. In a city like this its easy to stand out as a sore thumb when you don’t even know the translation for hi in turkish aka me and the families I am with. But it is pretty nice to have the luxury of a free cup of turkish tea when you tell the waiter you don’t have change for 20 liras, a nice leisure activity Allie and I indulged in as we walked around. Today we saw MANY homeless women/children, and I say this because there have not been ANY homeless men, oh not to mention I haven’t seen one woman working anywhere and many of them look so sad walking around. I am curious to find out more about a women’s most common role here in Istanbul and what the Islam religion says, since some women walk around wih burkas only covering their hair and others with the only visible part of their face being their eyes, the rest hidden behind black drapes. They kind of look like ninjas. I am currently reading, Reading Lolita in Terhan and it’s about a women who has a group of her favorite girl students meet at her house once a week to discuss/read the forbidden western works of Jane Austen and the such. The narrator describes how the girls wear such brightly colored ensembles under their disguises, but for who to see? Their husbands? The furniture of their private house? Things I don’t understand but hope to soon.
A tip: con the con man: Allie and I went from candy shop to candy shop asking for samples of our favorite things like turkish delight, balkava, and dried fruit. Since we are supposedly the naive, helpless little girls of America of course these men are more than willing to give us samples since they think we’ll come back with our families! But just kidding, we’re only ripping you off for our own selfish sweet tooths! I bought four beautiful bright, eccentric pillow covers today from a very nice man and I hope to use them in my bedroom/future dorm room on top of a white duvet (pretty contrast of the bohemian bright pillows and plain crisp white)/ future bohemian house. Tomorrow we have a walking tour and visit the Grand Bazaar! Wish my feet luck!

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IMG_1275^^^ the adorable pillow covers I got!!!!

~xoxo Ali~

 

One thought on “Candy Con-women and Brutal Burkas: June 18th in Istanbul

  1. Hello, glad you liked Istanbul. The homeless women you have seen are Syrians, 100.000 Syrians have left their country and immigrated to Istanbul in the last months, especially women because their husbands are in the war in Syria, otherwise the amount of homeless people had always been very low in Turkey, all these refugees are very new and even surprising for us.

    And for the burqas, they’re Arab tourists. There are Turkish women who cover their hair but if the black burqas or “ninjas” you see are all Arab tourists, they come mainly to shop (and spend a lot of money!).

    I wish you could get away from the tourist heavy areas (which is full of middle eastern and oriental things that do not represent Istanbul) and visit places like Kadikoy, Cihangir, Bebek and Beyoglu where locals really are.

    PS, in the Asian side you should have visited Kadikoy that is full of cafes, murals, churches, parks and bars, it’s a very cosmopolitan district where you cannot see tourists but can see the lives of locals. I’ve seen you visited Uskudar which is the most boring and religious part of the city, it has beautiful mosques but that’s just about it.

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