TURKEY 2001 TWO-WEEK TRIP

Saturday, July 7. Day 13 of 15. THE COVERED BAZAAR.

We wake up at 7:30, then make it down to breakfast about 8:30. We are here first, and the others come a little later. Tara's not feeling well at all, and we're guessing that it's the same thing I had. Something in the water maybe.

I follow Cihan downtown, round and round, and we finally end up in a great parking lot right underneath a Best Western Hotel for 3 MTL for the day. About $2.50. Unbelievable. We leave the cars for them to park, and head over to the Grand Bazaar, also called the Covered Bazaar. You can get coffee right outside.

Tara has written down our plan, and it's to the Pashmina shop first, where Cihan knows the proprietor well. I can't believe all the colors. Cihan stops for a shot with his friend, then Carrie gets into the picture too. Tara smiles at all the activity.

Then the fun switches to seriousness as Cihan and the pashmina shop manager discuss the prices. We total up all our purchases, pay up and leave our packages here for pickup later today.

Somewhere around here, Bora and Selin show up, together with their little Kaan, who's sleeping. What a big fellow he is now, with his curly hair. Now I can't remember whether it is Bora or the pashmina shop proprieter, but one of them tells this story, about the alcoholic drink called Raki.

"It's like Viagra. When the man takes it, the woman can't sleep. When the woman takes it, the man can't sleep. And when they both take it, the whole town can't sleep."

We head over to a ceramic shop where Tara buys some wares, after Cihan does the bargaining. The man seems happy in this photo, though, so you know he made some money. Bora and Selin have to leave after an hour or so, and now Kaan is awake. I wave to him, then somebody walks between us. He stretches left and then right till he sees me. Then he waves back.

We're mildly tired and hungry, so we stop for a bite. Three of the restaurant guys admire Sharon's mighty stick. We're rested and ready to go, so next is the silver shop, which has a magical feeling about it somehow. Sharon loads up on the dangly earrings she bought and all her friends liked so much. Some are orders and some are to be gifts.

Next we move to the costume store, where the women try out some veils, in what may be the photo of the trip. They buy some outfits for Shandra's girls -- complete with shoes.

We run around buying, buying, buying till we're about to drop, and somebody makes the ridiculous suggestion that we leave. But it starts sinking in, and we go around collecting all our last minute stuff, then head out the front entrance.

Amazingly, Cihan bumps into a friend from the naval academy, together with his girlfriend or wife. Sharon, Tara, Carrie and Ross take a break while waiting for Cihan to chat with his friend.

Forgive me if I'm repeating myself here, but when there is a line of traffic stopped at a red light, waiting for the green, the first thing that happens is that the yellow is turned on for about two seconds before both the yellow and red go out and the green comes on. It's apparently a law here (just kidding about it being a law) that when the yellow light is added to the red, that the second car in line start honking his horn, for the lead car to take off.

This is equivalent to sitting at a red light in America and watching the light of the cross traffic. When the cross-traffic light turns yellow, then flooring it. In other words, they leave before the green light actually comes on. Or more accurately, the second vehicles start honking at the first.

That's a long background for what we see next. The street to our right is so narrow that there aren't any sidewalks, and a guy in a wheelchair is coming down the street, followed by a taxi. The light changes to red and they both wait there. The INSTANT the yellow "get ready" light is added to the red one, the taxi driver starts honking at the guy in the wheel chair. I saw it and even I find it hard to believe. But it happened. Hilarious.

We go back to the hotel, drop off our packages, change clothes and some of us take short naps... Cihan.

Then it's back downtown to the fish restaurants where we ate last year. I follow Cihan, and this time he comes at it from a different angle and gets perfect parking right next to the entrance. Way to go, Cihan.

Cinah immediately is hit on by a restaurant touter, but none of us like this guy and we move on. Then, although we don't recognize it at first, we come to the same restaurant we ate at last fall, and we choose it for tonight too because we had so much fun here before.

We all put in our orders, and some appetizers come. Carrie claims that she never eats calamari, but I get a picture of her eating it anyway. The famous fellow with the huge wooden ship on his shoulder comes by and Bob and Cihan pose beside him with their beer. The fellow doesn't look any happier than he did last fall, either.

Sharon orders giant prawns, and when they come, they almost seem to come to life. I click off a number of photos. First is a good one of Tara, Cihan and Sharon. Then one of Sharon and Cihan. Next is one of Tara, Ross, Carrie and us. One of Sharon and me. A simple one of Tara that I like. At last the meal is over, the dessert has been eaten, and we head off to watch the famous "ice cream" man twirl his stuff.

He puts on a show for the crowd, first at Carrie's expense, who takes it like a champ. They keep trying to get Sharon out there, but although she knows what's going to happen, she goes out anyway, like the good sport that she is. I love to watch the face of a little boy, whose mom says that no, he can't have Sharon's ice cream cone. And I get one last shot of wonderful laughter on the faces of the whole family, as they watch the show.

The ice cream man keeps "trying" to give a free ice cream cone to the "guest," but somehow it keeps winding up in his possession via a number of little tricks he does.

After this, we all feel great. We head back to pick up our cars, and drive back to the hotel, where we crash.

No birding or new birds today, but we hope to bird some tomorrow morning.

Life Birds Today: 0.
Life Birds for the Trip: 22.

Upgrades Today: 0
Upgrades for the Trip: 8.

Trip Birds Today: 0
Trip Birds Total: 82.

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