Monthly Archives: March 2013

Some observations and the Evil Eye

I woke up this morning feeling a bit better and had the usual breakfast: black and green olives, cucumber strips, tomato wedges, two bites of cheese, two kinds of fruit syrup, and a slice of some kind of meat that I don’t eat and bread with butter and tea. I asked for coffee instead of tea. I couldn’t make the server understand that I want milk in my coffee. One of the reception guys knows that now. You usually have to ask for butter as that is not always included with bread. As a matter of fact, that was true in Spain, as well. What is bread without butter?

Coffee in Turkey comes in two choices: Turkish coffee, or Nestle’s instant.

Turkish coffee is that coffee served in a tiny cup with the grounds settling in the bottom. You usually have about two to three tablepoons of coffee. I actually like the taste of it. Then, if you ask for regular coffee it is instant. The waiter usually asks, “Turkish or Nestles”?

I have gone to restaurants that make cappuccino, cafe au lait and other special coffee drinks and found that they are all made with Nestle’s. I think stock in Nestle’s would be a good buy, but I’m not a broker so don’t go out and buy any without asking first.

Another good stock option seems to be the company/s that make those hand cleaning wipes. I’ve mentioned this before: every restaurant, coffee shop and small,  food and drink kiosks give you one of those in a package. The outside of the package has the business name, address, phone and website. They are everywhere.

Turkish food is good, of course, depending on the restaurant and the skills of the chef/cook. The kiosks have good sandwiches with meat or chicken. The meat  is somehow folded together and cooked on a spit. The meat is shaved downward in thin slices off of the standing roll of meat. It is called doner, with two dots over the ‘o’.

Yoghurt is a staple and served with many types of dishes.

Vegetarian dishes are easy to find, such as the salad I had yesterday. It was served in a bowl with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, peppers, onion, zucchini, and white cheese cubes. The Turkish meals are garnished with everything imaginable. I’ve seen tops of carrots, celery, mint, dill and other  sprigs, that give the dish an artistic flair. Crushed red pepper is also used a lot as the final touch.

There are many bakeries that sell mostly savory types of pastry, but some do have sweet pastry as well. The one I had the other day, was a folded triangle made with layers of flaky crust, and loaded with grated up dates, nuts and seeds. Delicious.

I haven’t seen many children’s toys, which surprises me. However, in hot tourist spots there are men selling little spinning tops.

The ‘evil eye’ is also a hot item for tourists. I first saw some of those blue and white eyes in Izmir. They were embedded in a concrete wall. Later I saw them in jewelry and key chains. The evil eye stems from a desire to keep  evil away. But there are other explanations that contradict one another. I don’t get the feeling they are not given much importance, but just as a traditional object.

The Evil Eye

 

Fatih district on a busy Saturday

Fatih section in Istanbul

This is seen outside of my bedroom window.

 

I have seen:

Eyes peering out from black shawls and head scarves over long black dresses.

Scarves on ladies wearing blue jeans and high heels.

Scarves on elderly ladies with coats to the ankle.

Men in shops selling, begging you to come in and look

Men on sidewalks drinking tea out of little glasses

Young men carrying tea on a tray with a handle

Teenaged girls, some wearing scarves, laughing like teenagers do everywhere

Boys and men greeting with a kiss and walking arm and arm

Little kiosks selling kabob and freshly squeezed orange juice

Grocery stores selling everything but coffee filters

So many people on the sidewalks and so little room

Cars, on the streets, honking at anything that moves

Cars demanding pedestrians give them the right-of-way

Uneven sidewalks

Taxi’s, taxi’s and taxi’s

Noise, noise, noise

Then the prayers begin in the mosques; sounding like dueling voices in competition with one another.

Planes in the sky leaving the airport

Restaurants full of people with waiters dressed up

Men wearing the devout Jewish cap

Cats, cats and more cats

 

That’s just what I observed this afternoon on a busy Saturday. It’s an exciting city and you need a lot of patience and understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Street scenes/taking it easy

How could I get this cold on my very last week?  It’s a humdinger. I found a pharmacy this morning and gestured that I had a cold in my nose. His gesture asked if it was also a sore throat. I gestured back, by pointing to my nose again.  He handed me some medicine and another box with nose drops.

I came back to the  hotel, took the medicine and slept for about three hours.

 

Late last night one of the hotel workers knocked on my door to see if I was okay, as no one had seen me the whole day. It’s nice that they are concerned.

 

I took some photos of the area around the hotel. Meanwhile, I’ve seen enough, and will only go out for meals, until I fell better.

Hustlers

I’m fighting a cold, and drinking lots of liquids. Today I had to pick up some cards I had printed so I took a bus to the harbor, where I knew the printing place was near. And at the harbor I got a taxi to the printing shop. However, the taxi driver didn’t know where it was….is this beginning to sound familiar?

One corner on the top floor of the Ottoman Hotel

 

I got the cards and while exploring the city, I found a whole section of town that is dedicated to textile businesses. It was full of shops selling all kinds of fabric and also some shops that tailored mens suits and other clothing. There were typical Turkish dresses in bright colors, lace and shiny trim, buttons, bows, crystals, and I even saw some denim.

One thing has me a bit puzzled. I see, maybe 90 percent of the ladies wearing long dresses and coats and scarves on their heads. Some of them are quite fashionable, with matching scarves and dresses, and high heels and makeup.

Just one of many textile shops

 

There are some women dressed all in black, a long black dress and a shawl that covers her shoulders and falls down nearly to the bottom of the dress. She also has a head covering that when it is folded, it hides her hair and most of her face. I have seen some women barely looking through a slot just big enough for two eyes.

I’m not judging because I know it’s a cultural and religious preference, but find it interesting.

Now here’s the real puzzle: There are a myriad of stores with wedding gowns, and that doesn’t surprise me in a city with millions of people, but then there are beautiful gowns of a wide variety of colors and designs, all floor length and some slinky while some are full as in the old southern style reminiscent of “Gone With the Wind.”

I do not understand where the ladies who purchase these dresses wear them. But I’ve seen some that would easily fit into my suitcase. However, where would I wear a formal gown?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I walked into the Ottoman Hotel near the harbor, picked up an English newspaper on a stand with other papers, found the lobby, a comfortable chair and enjoyed feeling wealthy for a few minutes. After that a concierge told me I was welcome at the top of the building where I could see the views on both sides. The old wooden, glass and stone floored elevator took me to the top where I was met by a man who explained what I was seeing out of the windows. But fascinating to me was the huge rooms grandly decorated with red and gold furniture. The rooms could house thousands of people in fine dining, with a stage for music.

 

After leaving the Ottoman, I ventured down the street where a youngish man asked me if I wanted coffee or tea inside the restaurant.

“Sure, I’m ready to get some coffee. What is this?” I pointed to small spoon sized cakes that were soaked in some kind of syrup. He told me but I don’t remember.

Then I got milk-coffee. That’s what they call coffee with milk. Then the youngish man got weird.

“Where are you from?”

“America”

“How long here?”

“I only have one week left and then I leave.”

“Where you go?”

“I’ll go back to America. I’ve been gone for one year.”

“Where is your husband?”

“My husband died many years ago.”

“You alone?”

“Yes.”

“You want me to get a friend for you?”

“No thank you. I’ll just have coffee.”

“I can get friend.”

“No, coffee is fine, thank you.”

“You and me meet later tonight.”

“No, I think I’ll be leaving here as soon as I finish my coffee.”

“Where you stay?”

When I told him I wasn’t staying at the Ottoman he seemed disappointed so I had to tell him: “I’m not rich.”

“That’s ok.” He said softly.

So when I got ready to leave I smiled at him with my best face and said: “You disrespected me and I didn’t like that.” I knew he didn’t have a clue what I was saying and I had fun.

“You’re welcome.”

“I didn’t say thank you. But now I say thank you (I said it in Turkish).

“You’re welcome.”

“I really think you are a jerk.”

“Have a nice day.”

“I will, I think you are a jerk.”

“Thank you madam, come back again. I’ll be here.”

“Goodbye Jerk.”

“Goodbye Madam, have a nice day.” He smiled that hustler smile.

 

Later I took a taxi back to the cheap hotel with a taxi driver who looks like Dean Martin. He told me what he would charge and I told him it was too much, but I agreed anyway.

Sometimes it takes less energy just to go with the flow. He told me that many taxi drivers don’t know directions, but he is one of the best.

Taxi driver looks like Dean Martin, and gets lost like all taxi drivers in Istanbul.

He got lost. And stopped two times to ask someone for the hotel.

 

It was a fun time, even with a cold and hustlers to contend with.

 

 

Palace, the sea and lost

Sorry, but it’s another one of those ‘getting lost’ stories. This time it was the bus driver and a taxi driver who got lost, with me at their mercy.

 

But, first, let me tell you about the awesome Bosphorus Cruise and tour from a boat sailing the Bosphorus Sea and the Golden Horn and a portion of the Black Sea.

While on the tour we crossed over from the European side to Asia. We observed the walls of Constantinople and other architecture and high end homes close to the water.

“Now we are in Asia,” he told us at the moment we crossed from one continent to the next.

The expert English guide told us fish from the Black Sea is the best for the cold water that makes the fish fat and very tasty.

Every time we had to meet back with the guide, he’d holler, “My group. My group.” Some of us nicknamed him My Group.

I sat near the back of the bus where there were several Arabic people entertaining themselves, joking and singing.

From the boat we also saw the Blue Mosque and the six towering minarets and the Hagia Sophia, all that I had seen inside on another tour weeks ago.

We disembarked to head off to three places, one to a leather factory, and one to the 14th century Grand Bazaar and the last to the inside and outside view of the tours’ highlight: the Dolmabahce Palace.

One entrance to the Domabahce Palace, home of the Sultan

Inside the bazaar, our guide took us to a spice kiosks, where we were served hot  pomegranate juice and a sample of Turkey Delight candy. We were given a pep talk about the spices and the fact that Martha Stewart was there and purchased some spices. I found them in very small jars and very expensive. But, hey, if you’re Martha Stewart, it would be a kitchen staple for her, I assume.

Just one kiosk in the Spice Market

We toured a leather factory where we got another sales pitch and a fashion show. We were herded up to the showroom where we were met by many salesmen. The salesman that hit me up made me feel the soft sheepskin jacket. I loved it, but do not appreciate taking a tour when one third of the time is spent on trying to sell the touring people goods. Not nice. Of course I looked and admired and then walked back down stairs and waited for lunch.

Leather fashion show: bringing back memories

 

Our group went inside Dolmabahce Palace, where photos were prohibited. It was once the home of the Ottoman Sultans.  The building features the world’s largest breth taking Bohemian crystal chandelier. It was a gift from Queen Victoria and has 750 lamps, weighs 4.5 tons. There are other chandeliers in several rooms that also impressed me. Each room had a standard look: a chandelier from the ceiling over a large table with a large vase on top and in the center of the table.

The building has 285 rooms, 46 halls, six baths and 68 toilets. The carpets were made in the famous Hereke Imperial Factory in the city of that name. Antique and historical paintings adorned all the walls.

I was especially interested in a hallway that had a decorative fancy cut out piece that was placed over a window and above the massive hall below. This was where the harem or many wives of the Sultan could peak at the business going on in the hall. Otherwise, women were uninformed.

 

Now, the getting lost story: I was picked up at 8 a.m. and finally made it back to the hotel around 8:30 p.m. when the tour was over at 5 p.m.

After the tour, and a ride in several buses and a change in personnel, I was told to get in one bus that would take all of us to our various hotels.

Turkey traffic is a monster on the loose. It was a hectic ride, stopping once for an ambulance picking someone up, and then when a car parked partially on the sidewalk and partially on the street blocked us from getting through.

The driver and the guide tried to find out who the guilty driver was, but after several minutes, he backed out and was on another route. The streets are narrow. The first guide told us the narrowness was from the chariots that rode in the streets. They never would have guessed way back then that automobiles would be operated by many of the 15 million people living together in Istanbul.

The driver negotiated everyone to their hotels, and I was last. He even dropped off the guide who told me not to worry that the driver new exactly where the Fatih Hotel was located.

He finally stopped the bus, got off and stopped traffic until I could disembark from the bus, cross the street and follow his directions to the Fatih Hotel.

I walked through a neighborhood that didn’t look at all familiar from the two days I’ve been in the hotel, but I kept walking. Finally I asked at another hotel for the directions and that gentleman told me a different way. I tried to tell him that the neighborhood looked different.

“I’m telling you madam that is the way to the Fatih Hotel”

“Okay, jerk” I said under my breath, and began the way he told me to go. By now it was dark and raining buckets.

I saw a man closing up a shop and I asked him if he knew where the Fatih Hotel was located and he was so kind. “I’ll walk there with you.” He took me to the Fatih Hotel all right, but not the right one.

Inside we talked with the reception manager. I handed him the address of the hotel I knew to be the Fatih hotel. He called the number and spoke to the reception man at my hotel, and told them he would make certain I’d get a taxi and arrive there soon.

About 45 minutes later an energetic man came in and told me he had a taxi waiting for me.  “He’s a friend of mine.” The manager assured me.

 

He nearly ran down the rain-slicked side walk and several steps to a waiting taxi. He kept saying to me, “Come on. Come on. Come on.”

I did my best and arrived to the taxi and a taxi driver. I thought the come-on man would be the driver.  He whispered something to the driver and we were off.

I felt confident, as the driver negotiated the back streets like an expert and knowledgeable of the area. And we arrived at the Fatih Hotel….the wrong one.

So now I’ve learned there are not only two Fatih Hotels but three of them.

The good driver had to stop and ask where the one with the address I gave him was located.

We eventually got there. I paid him a hefty price and hope the touring company will reimburse me. After all, wouldn’t you think that the same company who picked you up would know where to drop you off?

I sent them an email, and we’ll see where that takes  me.  Meanwhile, I woke up with a cold.

 

 

 

Turkey baths and Turkey taxis – it’s long so read it in parts if you want

So there I was lying on a large circle of marble: naked, with several other naked women and scantily clothed scrubbers, splashers and bathers.

It was in the Cemberlitas Hamami – the oldest Turkey bath located near some of Istanbul’s greatest monuments. I found it by walking one hour and a half from the Fatih area to the hamami that is situated near a mosque, a school and some tombs.

I was greeted at the reception room and paid 70 lira’s for the traditional experience.

Then I was led through a door, where I was met by another lady who told me to go upstairs, take off my clothing and wrap myself up in a towel that looked like a dish rag.

I had been handed a chip with the selected service, and a bag with a scrubber and a pair of black bikini panties. Well, I thought the underwear was for later when I would be squeaky clean.

So when I got inside the steam room and was told to lie down on the marble platform, I couldn’t see a thing. My glasses were steamed up. So I just did as I was told and waited for the next request. A husky women, wearing a black bra and bikini underwear handed me some black panties and told me to put them on. I struggled trying to pull them up over my hips because by then my body was damp. She helped me pull them up; this is the first time since I was about three years old that someone helped me put my panties on.

Then she told me to wait for her. She proceeded to finish up with another woman, who knew that the panties were for the duration of the bath.

Then it was my turn. She pushed me and gestured for me to turn over, so I obeyed, and she splashed a bucket of hot water all over me, and a bit later she came back, and told me to lie down on my back. She put a layer of soapy bubbles on me and began to scrub me from neck to toes. It felt like sandpaper. Then she motioned for me to turn over on my stomach and she scrubbed me again from neck to the bottom of my feet and between my toes.

 

Sit up, she said and I obeyed. She scrubbed my arms and neck, and then told me to follow her. When she saw that I couldn’t see my way, she guided me to an alcove, and then poured water on my head and some shampoo and washed my hair, neck and arms. Bliss.

She finished up the process with cooler water, and told me to go into another room. There I received a large towel to wrap around by body and one for my hair. I sat and drank some orange juice and when I felt ready to hit the street and grab a taxi, I got dressed and gave the receptionist a small tip for the scrubber. I felt rejuvenated.

 

Now the taxi ride, the hotel experience, and where I am this minute.

Yesterday, you may recall I didn’t have a room in the hotel, but the owner made good and took me to another hotel owned by a relative of his. I woke up this morning, had an extensive breakfast in a garden room overlooking the bay, and then I was ready to go to  the correct hotel.

“I’m going to walk around a bit, before I’m picked up,” I told the young man in the hotel.

While I walked I paid attention to the cars who were driving up and down the narrow streets, thinking I’d see someone who may be looking for me.

Back in the hotel, the reception man pointed to two men who were to take me to the hotel. I knew that one of my suitcases was extremely heavy, so this morning I took the computer out and the camera to carry myself.

Well, the two men pulled my suitcases up the stone street, while I followed with my computer bag, camera, purse and heavy coat. Up we went, up, up, up, up. “Where are we going?”

Ha, ha,they laughed, not knowing why I was asking. Finally, we were back at another hotel.

“What are we doing here?” (It was another hotel owned by the same man).

“Oh, you must wait here and a taxi will pick you up and take you to the Fatih Hotel.”

The taxi came, and loaded up my stuff, while one of the guys jammed on a helmut and got on his motorcycle. I thought he was leaving work.

When we got to the hotel, he was there waiting for us. I never knew what the heck was going on.

We got inside and guess what? My room wasn’t ready, so that is when I opted to take in a Turkish bath.

 

After the bath, I got inside a taxi, gave the driver the phone number of the hotel so he wouldn’t get lost as  other drivers seem to, and I thought he had it all figured out. The traffic is horrendous, so when he said he would take a longer route to avoid traffic and it would save time, I agreed.

He was a flirty guy, kept touching my hair, lifted up my hand and kissed it. Laughed. Raised his hand for a high five, and flattered me to know end. I got suspicious of his behavior and looked down at the meter and lo and behold he hadn’t turned it on. That was a red flag.

“You didn’t turn on the meter.” I pointed to it. He had started it at 40 lira’s when the gentleman in the hotel told me it shouldn’t cost more than 18.

The driver laughed and told me it was okay because of the traffic. I didn’t say anything at that time, but worked up my nerve for the moment he would stop at the hotel.

He eventually stopped, told me to walk up the hill to the hotel and pay him 45 lira’s.

“No, I’m not going to pay you that much.”

“Oh, yes, you must pay me. The petrol is expensive, and the traffic is bad. I had to take the long way.”

“That is not fair.” I handed him 15 lira’s and he laughed.

“No, 45.”

“No, here’s 30.”

“Okay, I’ll take 25.” He laughed and tousled my hair. He learned he should not have lowered his expectations of the American lady. But he also showed a bit of character for his attempt at misleading me, by agreeing to a lesser amount.

 

It was half of his original request, but still over what it should have cost. Always check to see the meter is on before you get going.

 

One of many mosques

When I got back to the correct hotel, a room was ready for me. It’s on the third floor up  a winding staircase.

Tulips were brought to Holland from Turkey

Watching traffic

Fatih not Faith

My discovery on my year long journey, that most people are good, became evident again this morning.

It happened during a transition drama, when I was rescued by an Arabic man who speaks French.

When I left the Konak Otel on the Asian side of Turkey this morning, a gentleman, who works only on the weekends walked with me to the ferry, pulling my luggage down the street, over an intersection and then to the ferry.

The ferry was about to leave, but it waited for me. The cloudy morning was beautiful and mysterious with views I wanted to remember.

The train station as seen from the ferry leaving the Asian side of Istanbul, Turkey

A Mosque seen from the ferry on the Asian side

 

When we docked, my first goal would be to take a taxi to the Faith Hotel. I had an address and a reservation and a phone number. The taxi driver took off, but stopped when it was obvious he didn’t know where the hotel was located. How many times does this have to happen?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A view from the ferry

He asked and received no answers. Finally, he called someone and then twisting down stone streets, dodging people, taxi’s and other vehicles, he came to the Hotel Faith Istanbul. He dropped me off. I paid him, and gave him a tip. Then I went into the hotel and faced a young man who said the worst words:

“We have no room.” “What? I have a reservation. See.” I showed him the number, and he pointed to empty slots where keys would be if there were empty rooms.

“I’m going to sit right here until you give me my room.” I sat down with my arms across my chest. He told me to wait for twenty minutes. I did.  The manager came down the stairs and gave me the same news.

“It’s the wrong hotel.” Said the first man. “Well, what should I do?” “This is number two hotel,” he said.  “Well then where is number one hotel?” “It doesn’t have a number,” he told me.

“How do I get there?” “Walk down the street, turn left. It’s a short walk.” I started out as he told me, and asked several people if they knew the hotel. “No,” was always the answer until one man told me to walk to the corner of the street, turn right and then left and you’ll come right to it.

I didn’t know who to believe and then I saw a real estate business in an old building and a man was sitting at a computer. That was my hero Nabil. I showed him the address and did my best to explain the situation. He caught on real fast and let me use his computer, where many of the keys are different from the American key board. But never mind, he was patient. He went next door to another business where the gentleman spoke a bit more English. We saw my booking right there on the screen.

Nabil who generously helped me

Zeynettin was the second hero. He was the person who saw the mistake, where the American lady (me) switched the letters from Fatih Hotel to Faith Hotel.

Zeynettin made a call to the right hotel and got the directions. Nabil and I walked a block or so for a taxi. He gave instructions to the driver and told me how much to pay him.

We got to the hotel…and guess what? There were no rooms.

“I have a reservation.” “Yes, please have a seat.” I went into the community room where people were eating breakfast. A lady came in with a plate of food and I told her that I hadn’t even registered yet. But she motioned  that it was okay to go ahead. So that was the second breakfast today.

In about one hour the owner of the hotel came to me and explained the mistake, but not to worry, he had another hotel and his relative has a hotel, so he would make certain I’d  have a room for the night.

He took me to the Tulip hotel which is near the famous Blue Mosque. The gentleman who owns the hotel speaks very good English and is an interesting fellow, who has taught school and studied religion.

The owner of the Fatih Hotel was willing to take me to his own home if a room wasn’t found. I thought that would be a perfect solution, but I kept thinking about his wife. Would she like it if her husband brought a strange person home?

Anyway, back to where we started this conversation: my thesis that most people are good was brought home again today.

My question lingers, however: why didn’t the taxi driver just look at the address and take me there?

 

 

cat, spice, gull, and street photos go with story below

I learned more about the dried vegetables in this post. They are dried and then put into hot water. When they open up they are then stuffed with a variety of items, mostly rice and perhaps meat. They are called dolmas. The dolmas we know in the U.S. are the stuffed grape leaves.

spice and herb shop

A street on the Asian side of Turkey

Then the doctor tweaked my nose

The doctor tweaked my nose. Actually, he leaned over to me and pinched it. I call it tweaked because that’s what my mother loved to do to me and what she called it.

It happened this morning when I opted to get breakfast at my favorite place where my favorite waiter works, instead of the freebee in the hotel. That one is getting monotonous. I needed a change.

The waiter asked me what I wanted and I pointed to a photo of an omelette. When he came back to my table so we could torment each other with our lack of each others’ language skills, I got my dictionary out and pointed to the word for post office.

He then began to describe how to get there. If you read one of the last posts, from the other day, he tried to send me to a bank and I couldn’t get across to him I needed a post office and not a bank.

So this morning after I pointed to the word for post office, I took the book away from him and pointed to the Turkish word for yesterday, and made a motion that it was while I stood on the sidewalk. Then he got it.

Meanwhile, a women at a table next to me, and a man at a table across an aisle, got into the conversation. I was trying to tell him that tomorrow I would be leaving and saying goodbye.

The lady wrote down how to say good bye and also a word, similar to our, “bye, bye.”

When I said that, the man, who finished eating, walked over and asked, “Where are you from?” He said it so loud I jumped. “What?”

“Where. Are. You. From?” He asked louder this time.  “America.”

He looked a bit older than the waiter but they could be brothers, so I asked with the help of the lady and another one at another table who also got involved if they were brothers.

“No.” The gentleman said, and they both laughed and the two ladies laughed. That went over my head. The gentleman walked back over to me and told me he is a doctor. “Oh, a doctor?” “Yes,” he said and then he tweaked my nose and left, while all of us sat laughing.

This morning when I left the hotel, Sinan – the ‘go-to’ guy at the hotel, was outside in the street shoveling gravel. Why, I don’t know, but he saw me and made a motion like he was going to throw it on me.

I just love the Turkish people, I find them friendly and helpful, even if Sinan had thrown the gravel.

I walked around town again to a different neighborhood, a quiet area. I saw a long walkway between two arches and a woman coming out of one. I asked her what it was, and she replied that it was just a walk way between streets, but it was part of the synagogue. Now I’ve seen churches and Mosques, and this was the first synagogue. I was surprised how guarded it is with wire fences on top of a tall concrete wall. I feel sad that people cannot worship in the way they want without feeling they are in danger.

 

After that I walked down to the harbor and sat inside a tent-like restaurant next to the water. The water was moving, with dark and light shades, the dark shades looking like puddles that changed shapes. Seagulls flew haphazardly looking for a meal.

I have noticed on other days, a small boat goes to the shoreline and a man scoops up garbage, including bread people have thrown to the gulls.

And…today there many more cats: tabbies, orange, calico, white, black, black and white, and makes me wish I could take one home with me.

 

 

Detour: there’s a muddy road ahead, detour.

My daughter-in-law’s  father,  Bob Bambauer died. He was the ultimate family man and a good father to my son, Larry. I learned of his death when I pulled up my Facebook page and saw my grandson, Bobby Crocker’s photo of he and his granddad. Bobby is in baseball spring training in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Not too long ago, I saw a photo of Sue and her Daddy riding horses on the shoreline. That will be a great memory of him.

I’m not there to hug Larry,  my daughter-in-law, Sue, or grandchildren, Treva and Bobby. I have comfort in knowing they are surrounded by their family and good friends. RIP Bob.

 

I’m still here in Istanbul: It’s Friday, and I have two more nights in the Konak Otel. I’ll miss the hotel and the people who work to make it successful. I’ll soon be on the European side of Istanbul where history goes back ions of centuries.

I’ve seen some of it, but there’s much more to experience.

 

Meanwhile, outside of my window, leaves are sprouting on the tree. A bird with mauve wings and a lavender head sits on a branch. His head cocks sideways; this way and that way.  The street is being cleared of all the stones and now the workers are laying down tar that will soon be covered with something newer and better.

 

And now it is raining. I went down the road to my favorite restaurant in the mud. It’s not just mud;  it’s rolling and making little streams, which makes it difficult to know how to get down the hill without slipping. But I’ve done it, and will continue onward.

 

The people in the hotel are doing their best to help me and others get out of the hotel and into the street as best we can.

 

Photos later; the internet isn’t working fast.