It turned out to be an exciting day. Police began to arrive in the streets, with guns slung over their shoulders, shields ready at any given notice, and police buses and vans were readied to take the rabble-rousers away if they got out of hand.
The rabble-rousers were all women. It could get dangerous. After all they were singing and then dancing, who knows what else they might do.
They were dressed in vivid colors and lined up in groups for so many miles that I couldn’t see the end of the line up the street.
Loud music played and a woman spoke for all the women over a speaker so loud that could be heard for blocks away.
Then groups of women held banners and marched down to the docks, yelling the ‘woman’s yell’ and wearing lots of bling.
I played reporter without a press pass, and got as close as possible to watch and hear the action.
One man standing next to me asked where I was from and then I knew he spoke English so I asked him what it was all about. “It’s a woman thing,” he answered.
The ‘woman thing’ lasted pretty much all day.
I walked to a different neighborhood than where I have been going daily, and found a swanky hotel. I walked in with head up as if I were staying there, and rested my tired legs and feet in an overstuffed, leather chair.
When you’re staying in a cheap hotel, even though it’s okay, it doesn’t hurt to get off the beaten track and rest awhile and pretend.
There are so many book stores here that I couldn’t count them. I mentioned there were so many book stores in Istanbul to a seller and he told me that Turkish people don’t read very much. I think he misused a word there.
There are also many restaurants and it’s possible to sit outside now, as it has become warmer.
By the way, I have now seen McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks.
Oh, and yesterday I had my hair trimmed a bit. The hairdressers were friendly and did a good job.
Some of what I have observed:
Men often walk arm and arm. They also kiss when greeting each other.
When a person is not within a hugging and kissing distance, they place their hand on their heart in greeting.
The distance between people is closer than in other countries, which could come from the large population, all trying to get where they need to go.
The national drink is tea. The tea is served in tiny glasses held in a saucer shaped like a bowl.
Turkish coffee (in a tiny cup with the grounds settling at the bottom) comes with a small glass of water and often with a piece of Turkish Delight candy.
If you don’t drink Turkish coffee then the alternative is Nestle’s instant coffee.
Nearly every restaurant gives a damp hand-wipe that comes along with the drink or food.
You have to ask the waiter for your check, as they won’t bring it to you until you ask.
Waiters (so far I’ve only seen two waitresses) are usually dressed in uniforms and are professional and attentive.
Women often wear long coats or dresses with head scarves, however, others’ opt not to wear the scarf; it is up to the individual.
Invitation to prayer is sung over a microphone five times a day.
Fruit, bread and vegetables are plentiful in the street markets.
Cars, buses and walkers do not obey the green/red traffic lights.
I know I’m not in Holland because I haven’t seen one bicycle.
People, in general, are friendly and helpful, and smile back at you.