Friday, March 18, 2011

Finding Edward Cullen in a Turkish Bazaar

For those of you not familiar with the British boarding school system, we get two sorts of holidays: month-or-longer inter-term ones (Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays fall under this category) and half terms, which happen in the middle of the term and last just over a week.

I usually fly back home to Turkey for half term, and this spring half term was no different, except for the fact that one of my best friends came with me. It was her first time in Turkey, so naturally I took her around all the cool places, namely Ephesus and the bazaars.

This is the Celsus library, one of the largest libraries in the ancient world. It's an incredible piece of architecture, and looks gorgeous at night when it's all lit up- when I was thirteen my middle school did a choir trip to Turkey and I got to do a solo on those steps. Best. Experience. Ever.

Ephesus also has a lot of cats. Seriously, one day I'm going to take my camera, camp out there for a few weeks and then publish a fat book of photography titled 'The Cats of Ephesus', because there are enough cats for that to be possible.

Recognize this guy? No? Look closer, and you'll see his winged sandals. Highlight the text below for the answer:

It's Hermes!

And there's the amphitheater! Again, one of the largest in the ancient world. They hold epic concerts there, though after they started getting big acts like Sting and Elton John they had to lower the decibel limit. If you're into good music and are around Izmir in early summer, it's worth checking out the Izmir Music Festival. They organize some truly amazing things!

Next stop: The Tire bazaar. Tire (pronounced Tea-reh) is a town outside of Izmir which holds an excellent bazaar on Tuesdays. People from the surrounding rural areas come in (sometimes by walking miles) with their wares, whether that's a sackful of homegrown potatoes or a few pieces of handmade olive oil soap. Above you can see someone's fresh eggs and in the background, piles of vine leaves for making delicious sarma.

Tire's also famous for its felt industry. Above is a man in a little shop which makes cute (and warm!) felt slippers. I have some myself, and I can testify to their amazingness firsthand. They make the felt by spreading wool over a big mat, as you can see the guy doing above, and then compacting it.

Hang on, you might be saying, I was promised Edward Cullen! Never fear. The obscenely sparkly and perfume-breathed vampire will be making an appearance shortly. This brings me to the Bostanli bazaar, which is in Izmir itself (in Karsiyaka, which literally translates to 'the other side [of the bay])

It's on Wednesdays, and I love taking a ferry across the bay from my house with my mom to get to it. Until recently the ferry sold fresh gevrek and foil wrapped triangle cheeses, which were kind of the highlight of the whole thing, but the company just changed hands and there is NO MORE CHEESE. As you can tell, I'm extremely upset by this, and hope that by the time I go home for Easter, the cheese will have re-appeared. Or there will be big trouble.

I love taking my camera to the Bostanli bazaar! There are so many interesting people to photograph. Like this pickle seller, for example. Turkish pickles don't just consist of gherkins- they also contain cabbage and carrots, which makes them all kinds of awesome, in my opinion. (The aforementioned friend, who is quite British, did not agree with me.)

There are also inventive people like this guy. He had a batch of oyster mushrooms to sell, and he was frying them up with meatball spices and giving them out. They were delicious, and we promptly bought some and made them for dinner. Super easy, and very yummy. A badly photographed recipe may follow shortly. Anyone interested?

Now for our sparkly vampire. A few months ago, I visited the bazaar and nearly experienced eye trauma when I saw a humongous duvet cover featuring the face of none other than Robert Pattinson, smiling his creepy smile and looking very sparkly. I cried laughing, then decided to buy it for a Twilight-obsessed friend of mine. It was not to be an easy feat.

Turns out this lady next to us wanted to buy it. For her son. Yes, you read that correctly. Her son. Luckily she called him up and he vehemently protested, so we got the duvet, and my friend gets to sleep under the smoldering face of Edward Cullen every night. Happy endings all around.

Apparently, Twilight themed duvet covers are so popular with the mothers of Turkish adolescent boys that they decided to put this towel into production:

So now you can literally wrap Edward around yourself. Enjoy/abhor as the case may be.



  1. Nice pictures. I've never been to Europe :(

  2. Ha ha ha...If I'd been there, there would have been 3 people fighting over the towel.

  3. Lovely photos! Celsus is stunningly beautiful, and I enjoyed reading about the bazaars. Hope the foil-wrapped cheeses are back next time you take the ferry across the bay. I get very grumpy when my favorite restaurants or vendors are not where I expect them to be. I look forward to buying your 'The Cats of Ephesus' book someday. :)


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