16 Oct – Lunch at the fish market and other stuff

Today Pat and I walked over to visit Galata Tower on the other side of the Golden Horn inlet and then had lunch at the fish market – also on that side of the inlet. We’re getting to know our way around these neighbourhoods quite well now so we took a shortcut through the palace gardens. Across the bridge we went – and then up the hill on the other side. We arrived at the tower really quickly  – and decided to not go up it due to a rather long line to get in. Besides it was lunch time… The fresh fish called! I mean the food was the real attraction! Historic towers  – Ho hum!

Down we went to the fish market. It was just as busy today as the last time we were here. A friendly fellow filled us in on the etiquette for acquiring a fresh fish sandwich. One of the cheapest best meals we’ve had in Turkey materialized before our eyes. The sandwhich was a loaf of bread slit lengthways and involved a whole fish minus head and tail plus salad and a large chunk of lemon.  We headed off to the near-by park where we’ve seen locals consume these delights. It was quite a messy business but we eventually devoured everything! 

Our next mission was to figure out how we will get to the main long distance bus station on the day we leave here. This accomplished – there’s a local bus that we can catch – we searched for the post office – unsuccessful but we do now know where it isn’t. We have a few things to mail home! Then commenced our usual search for affordable wine, some olives and cheese for dinner.

Istanbul mostly delights. It is fairly clean and really beautiful. There are parks and squares and open places. However – this is at times a demanding city. The relentless requests to look in this shop or that, to buy carpets, to eat here or drink there. I imagine Morocco will be worse. Even so there is sometimes a certain edginess when we say “no thanks.” Tourist numbers are down a little so perhaps that is a cause, but some men here might want to adjust their manners if they really want to encourage customers. We continue to be more than slightly flabbergasted by the mixed messages sent by some women’s fashion choices. We have concluded that the women – especially young – attired in Niqab are thus clothed as personal statements of fashion, rebellion, extremist ideologies, or provocativeness …… Not because someone such as a father, brother, or husband has told them this is how they must present themselves. And yes Niqab can be an outstandingly provocative garment – wearing it is clearly not necessarily about modesty.

The five times daily calls to prayer erupt as loud wailings which send seagulls and pigeons fluttering. Cats and dogs twitch and stir but no one else seems to pay much attention. I’m sure someone somewhere grabs their prayer mat and rushes off to a mosque but we’ve not seen that happen. Business is conducted as usual if one can hear to haggle over the general din. There are so very many mosques and minarets here – the beautiful slender spires dominate the sky line – but every single mosque is on a slightly different schedule! The resultant call to prayer is an exotic but unsynchronized racket. Have to say – we like it. Well maybe not the one that happens about 5:45am!

With that in mind – time for shut eye. Will send pictures in the morning.

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