Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Kurkcuhan – Wool heaven

I have a growing addiction to knitting.
Those who have the same type of addiction know how expensive wool can be in the city which is what pushes me to find cheaper alternatives that provide me with the same quality. I found better!
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Kurkcuhan which is situated behind the Egyptian Bazaar in Eminonu (once you head out of the bazaar through the back exit ask your way through to Kurkcuhan) is a haven of wool. Turkey being a big producer of cotton and wool sell their productions overseas but still keep outlets in some areas and Kurkcuhan is a safe haven of outlets where you can buy as much knitting material as you need for 2-3 YTL cheaper than in the city.
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You’re faced with piles of yarn and a plethora of people that try to squish you while walking over you (this is part of the experience) to get to the prettiest and cheapest yarn. Everyone there is on a mission so beware! I ended up with a huge 4KG bag of yarn and a smile on my face at the end of my journey to the land of wool.
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Mystifying Fog

We had a droughty autumn: no rain…
We’re having a droughty winter: no rain…
Fog has been the dominating predicament for İstanbulites! (Not for me-I’m willing to undergo diffuculties of the fog to experience the beauty it creates…)
But the last two days’ fog is different: the densest fog…

It was impossible to see half meter away. I felt like I was driving in a lost place-no souls, no cars, no lights-nothing to be seen except the erratically flitting fog.

I felt like I was in the clouds: both physically and emotionally…

Driving and driving and driving in the fog after midnight and then walking and sitting on the shores of Bosphorus and seeing things (yes, nothing could be seen because of fog, but sight is not the only way to ‘see’ things…)

Direnen Mizikacilar, Riddim Bar @ Taksim

I believe I wrote about the R&B joint before but since I went there last Friday, I thought I’d update on the current status of the Riddim nightclub in Taksim.
Their first venue was situated the next street after McDonalds on Istiklal street but they have moved to bigger and better places. They firstly rented/bought off (not too sure) the bottom part of Kemanci (on siraselviler) and then finally also placed themselves in the top part of Kemanci, turning the popular Rock bar into a live music venue. So what used to be a great hang out place for rockers and alternative music aficionados ended up becoming one of the most famous R&B joints in Istanbul. Is this a good thing? I think not. Kemanci was a great place. I’d still have to check out their new location..
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Anywho.
We were at the live venue part of Riddim on Friday night and a group called “Direnen Mizikacilar” made us dance the night away. They’re pretty good. I still prefer Mayday though (who perform on Saturdays @ Riddim).
The ventilation system being what it is, the room was pretty smoked up by 1am, which killed it a bit for me and my asthma but I still managed to make it through till 2.30AM where I absolutely just had to leave the place before inducing an attack.
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For those who’d rather listen to heavy R&B, don’t bother hitting the top floor of Riddim, just follow the stairs down to the nicer part of the nightclub where you can bump and grind to the latest tracks played by the talented DJs (check out DJ Bambi, provided he still works there.)
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Now I don’t drink alcohol so I forgot to check alcohol prices but since a diet coke was 5YTL, I think you can figure out how much the rest of the drinks would end up costing. Entrance is 20YTL for both floors.
All in all, points for Riddim? I’d give them an 8/10 and they might even make it up to 9 provided they fix the air conditioning (if one exists.)
Riddim: Sıra selviler cad. No: 69/1 Tarif: Belçika Konsolosluğu Yanı
Tel: (212) 251 27 23 – (212) 251 30 15

fool (in) the rain

now that it’s raining coke bottles and bananas -sorry uncle tom (i meant) cats and dogs, rain drops on my fingertips sometimes give me the blues- the best way to use the excess water is to pay visits to istanbul fountains. with little jolts to the system, pretending that the water is pouring out as it used to years ago is not so hard, pseudohallucinations rulaz!

quoting -never! mind the mistakes- from the website of the ministry of culture and tourism; endowing money for the construction of a fountain and a water supply line to it was an act of piety which played an important role in ottoman life. hardly a sultan, sultan’s mother, sultan’s daughter, grand vezir, or other august personage did not endow a fountain in expression of their economic, social and political standing, and fountains became an important part of the architectural tradition. fountains were decorative features of both outdoor public spaces like squares, and intimate indoor spaces in private dwellings, and they reflected the architectural taste and styles of their time.

as a guide book, fountains in ottoman istanbul is the best suggestion. warm footware, light clothes and a good quality umbrella could save the day.

29 Ekim…

“En büyük bayramdır, kutlu olsun” Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Cumhuriyet Bayramımız kutlu olsun…
Güzel bayramlara…

PS/ 29 October 1923: Foundation of Turkish Republic

Flash news – Earthquake in Balikesir 5.7 at 17.01

The earthquake was felt from Bolu to Istanbul and all around that area. This is the second earthquake felt in Istanbul since a couple of days awakening fears amongst the population. More information will be given as soon as we are provided with them.

Edit 17:27: The center of the earthquake was situated at the Gemlik bay in the Marmara sea and was of 5.2 intensity.

Where Was I?

Was I in İstanbul yesterday evening?
Sure, the streets I wandered were familiar, but still there was something strange about them:
Take Bebek for instance: I was standing in the middle of a side street to take photo of an elegant wooden house. Something I had tried so many times before, at different times of the day, but each time before I managed to put the house in the frame I heard a “dadaaaaat” – a car’s horn! But yesterday I managed to take photos-not a photo, but photos!

I assumed the traffic would be deadlocked and because the last thing I could stand was to stick in the middle of a traffic jam, I walked from Bebek to Ortaköy though I was so tired. My assumption was far from being groundless: it was Sunday, late afternoon; there was a nice autumn weather; one of the favorite course of Istanbulites is between Bebek and Ortaköy; the narrow Bebek street was blocked by ‘grand jeeps’ and so only one lane was left for flow of traffic, why wouldn’t some other dear jeep drivers park (please read as “block”) on the roads of neighborhoods?

So I walked…

Ortaköy:
cars were waiting
not in the middle of a traffic jam
just red lights to become green
and one green light round was enough all the cars to pass
for heaven’s sake it was Ortaköy (or was it?)
Ortaköy=congested
(isn’t that what you visualize when you think of Ortaköy?)
but not yesterday

Ortaköy-Beşiktaş road was clear also…
(This time I wasn’t surprised: since Ortaköy was not congested, why and how could that road?)

Beşiktaş – Üsküdar ferry waiting hall:
A few minutes to the departure of the ferry
A few people waiting

No one left the boarded ferry…

What was wrong with İstanbul yesterday evening?

Not a magical potion… but a magical pot…

Those of you who have already missed sunny days, who feel boredom because of gray sky, rain, cold winds, who long for spring and summer, I have a magical recipe for you!
If you’re one of them, try to cultivate several pots of geranium at your balcony or on your window sill!
Why geranium, you may ask?
Because it has showy and colorful flowers.
Because it can withstand adverse conditions such as cold weather.
Because it blooms throughout the year no matter how cold it is (don’t you have such a mental picture: it was a cold winter day, everything, including Bosphorus, seemed so gray, you raised your head and saw a balcony full of red (purple, fuchsia, deep pink) geraniums and so felt non-gray???).

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Even a pot of geranium will suffice to make you forget gray sky, rain, autumn…It will make you feel as if you’re in an Aegean town…It will remind you of long afternoons of summer…

(It had been tested on so many people from various groups and each of them responded positively! (And I’m not kidding!))

Dewdrops … Droplets of dew

I’ve always loved to wander around when the sun has half rised: the contrast between parts on which sun shines and which are still burried in the shadow is striking – parts of earth and so everything on it onto which the sun shines are lively, meeting the new day vigorously; yet the shaded parts are neither dead nor sleeping, yet not lively, as if they are still living the marvelous instant between sleep and wakefulness…

Lately grass, flowers, leaves are all covered with dewdrops early in the mornings.
And so wandering around early in the mornings-when the sun hasn’t rised fully yet- to enjoy dewdrops on greenness has become one of my morning rituals lately.

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The droplets of dew glitter like brilliants…

I feel as fresh as those dewdrops…
I feel sparkling: as if the glitters of dewdrops penetrates me and so I reflect their glitters…
To be able to witness the duration when half of the earth is vivid and the other half is at the instant between sleep and wakefullness and to watch droplets at the same time makes me happy…

Viktor Levi vs Pano

To be honest, I was going to write about Viktor Levi wine house in Kadıköy. And its title would be “Sunday Delight: A Sunday Afternoon In The Garden Of Viktor Levi” But İdil’s post on Ortaköy was titled as “Sunday Delight”, so I had to change my title, and when I was thinking of a new one I thought of Pano, and so my title was ready: it would be on Pano and Viktor Levi wine houses… And please don’t let the title to deceive you, because I’m not comparing these two wine houses here. I love them both: they offer delicious wine and food, and nice atmosphere.
Both wine houses were named after their founders: Viktor Levi and Panayot Papadopulus, they are both over 100 years old. Their wines are specially produced. Both are a part of İstanbul spirit…
They are both very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights! So either make a reservation before you go, or be prepared not to have a table, but just have drinks at the bar. Or go during daytime – if you’re attending a one of those beloved jazz or cinema festivals of İstanbul, give a break in Viktor Levi or Pano … or have a few glass of wine before you start your journey in the land of music or cinema…
Now Viktor Levi in Kadıköy: It has a huge garden with huge trees. An escape from over crowded, noisy, disordered streets of Kadıköy. A tranquil spot. The garden is full of cats, for a cat lover like myself this means another reason to go there. Last Sunday when I was enjoying the garden and wine there, I met a black kitten – she was so little and with her beady eyes she was so lovely:) Not only the garden, but the house is remarkable: a 135 years old Greek house was restored and now serve as Viktor Levi’s Kadıköy branch. Whenever I go there I feel as if wine is woven in this house and its garden…
It’s autumn, and it’s been raining for the last two days… But we will have an Indian summer (hopefully!), which will be the last chance to enjoy Kadıköy Viktor Levi’s garden…until next spring…

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