Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Snow in our Life

İstanbul was under a beautiful but very cold snow blanket for the last couple days. Most of the time we are staying inside indulging ourselves with books, DVDs, Australian Open on TV and as you can guess with lots of eating and drinking. So far little Hera's natural calls are our only contact with the world outside. Here are some photos from our nearby park..

Guess who is this curious nose??

Finally a must on snowy days: Gluewine - hot wine

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Traveling around the world thru the years introduced me to so many lovely customs, believes and figures. Today I want to introduce you one of them. Please meet Mr Ekeko from Bolivia.Well, he is a bit fat and short and may have some bad habits but he has so many things to offer and for God's sake, he is a GOD. He is the god of abundance and I brought him back with me from a trip to Bolivia couple years ago.

Every year on the 24th of January, you have to offer him some goods in return for an abundant year. So offer him banknotes to obtain money, grains for good harvest and some food to ensure prosperity.But as I told you he has some bad habits. He likes to drink and smoke. So to make sure that he will give you whatever you want you have to offer him a lit cigarette and some alcohol. If he smokes the cigarette you can be sure that you will have a year of full prosperity.

This year I offered him mint liquor as well as a cigarette and as you see he seems pretty pleased.I also put some images that represent travel and health to his basket that I cut from magazines. Last but not the least a small red heart to wish for lots of love to give and take.

Well, if you ask me his track record, believe me he is pretty good...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Baby

I havent been around for the last couple days and this little gentleman is the reason for that. Please meet my nephew Azmi Sina. His first name comes from my late father and his second name is from his doctor..So far he is a happy, healthy and always hungry baby.

Other happy people include the new grandmother and the new big sis. There is also an aunt who adores him but you already know her. :))

I will be back very soon..

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fish in Bread

The fishermen selling grilled fish on their boats have always been near the Eminonu ferry port. When I was a young banker working on a branch on that district, I often had my lunch there. It was delicious, healthy and cheap. The menu was simple. Grilled fish fillet, stuffed in a half loaf of bread...On a good weather, while you were watching the passing boats, it was a delight to eat fish there.

Since then years passed and for so many years, fishermen who were handing down the fish in bread from their boats to their hungry clients survived and became a part of İstanbul's age old culture.

However when something become so popular, people starts to look ways for making more money out of it and as a result it will start to loose its authenticity. The same thing happened to good old fishermen. Local municipality banned the old boats because of health reasons and started to rent these rather strange boats which were probably copied from the old boats of the Ottoman Sultans. A strange choice but as a result the whole thing turned into a cheap tourist attraction. A very sad ending to the memories of my youth..

They have also added the pickle sellers in the same style.

Well, I miss the old boats and the real fishermen....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I am listening to İstanbul

While I was browsing the net I came across with a beautiful translation of a poem written by the famous Turkish poet Orhan Veli Kanik. I can easily say that it is one of my favorite poems and tells the living spirit of İstanbul with wonderful words.

And I took this photo of the man right at the Bosphorus. His little basket was full of small snacks. He was probably trying to sell them to make the ends meet. His strong and fixated gaze affected me so much. He was most probably thinking the hard times he was facing, but I like to think that he was also listening İstanbul..


I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;

At first there blows a gentle breeze

And the leaves on the trees

Softly flutter or sway;

Out there, far away,

The bells of water carriers incessantly ring;

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;

Then suddenly birds fly by,

Flocks of birds, high up, in a hue and cry

While nets are drawn in the fishing grounds

And a woman's feet begin to dabble in the water.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

The Grand Bazaar is serene and cool,

A hubbub at the hub of the market,

Mosque yards are brimful of pigeons,

At the docks while hammers bang and clang

Spring winds bear the smell of sweat;

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;

Still giddy since bygone bacchanals,

A seaside mansion with dingy boathouses is fast asleep,

Amid the din and drone of southern winds, reposed,

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

Now a dainty girl walks by on the sidewalk:

Cusswords, tunes and songs, malapert remarks;

Something falls on the ground out of her hand,

It's a rose I guess.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;

A bird flutters round your skirt;

I know your brow is moist with sweat

And your lips are wet.

A silver moon rises beyond the pine trees:

I can sense it all in your heart's throbbing.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

Orhan Veli Kanik (1914-1950)

Translated by Talat Sait Halman (1982)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Archaic Statues

When I look back at my university years, I now realize that learning new stuff was only a duty for me. I had to get good grades, graduate from the university and start working. OK, I admit that I had so much fun at that time but learning was not definitely on my fun list.

I think I started to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of learning new things after 30 and since then I am always seeking new seminars and classes. Thru the years my main interest areas developed in history of arts and history of religions. Since September, I started to take archaeolgy and history of arts classes at a nearbt private art academy. Nowadays I am learning so many new and astonishing things and I am enjoying it immensly.

To give you an example, I learned to appreciate the beauty of archaic sculptures. I have been to Istanbul Archaeology Museum several times, but these sculptures never really took my attention. After seeing so many photos of them at the class, I had to see the real deal myself. So on of the last days of 2009,hubby and I made the last excursion of the year. Our aim was to see the statues of the archaic period (7th-6th cc BC)

In this period monumental statues were made for the first time in place of the small figurines produced in the preceeding ages. These statues are called Kore ( dressed female) and Kouros (naked male) As they are very rare, they are among the most valuable assets of museums, and to find a complete one is a difficult issue. There are probably only a dozen in the world
Unfortunately there is not a complete Kuros or a Kore in Istanbul,but the kouros head displayed was a masterpiece of its time. Its really something fabulous. If you wonder what happened to the rest of his body, we are lucky to know that it did not disseapear in the dark corridors of history but found himself a home in the Samos Museum.
Here are some very simple tips for you to identify these statues.

- Frontal upright stance with the body weight balanced on the feet.
-Calm smile on the lips
-Almond shaped eyes
-Beaded style hairs.

I learned that there are two complete Kouros statues in Turkey, one in İzmir, one in Bergama. I am intending to go and see them this coming summer but in the meantime,to give you an idea here is one from Athens..

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

Yes we made it...Finally we are at 2010.. I hope it will be a wonderful year and brings peace and happiness to everbody.

Last night we celebrated the coming of the new year with a special dinner at home then made a midnight tour at the park ( Hera's new year gift) and watched the beautiful full moon. It was a beautiful night, the weather was mild and park was quiet. Hubby and I talked about the passing year and remembered the wonderful times we experienced and promised to make this year the best year of our lives whatever it brings.

Now I am having a quiet morning at home. Green tea, and the new journal..I already wrote 45 items (equivalent of my age) that I am grateful in my life in the first pages of my journal. I love reading them. Always reminds me that I am OK...

Now I gave a break to write this post..Later I am planning to write my goals and probably make the first collage of 2010. My journals are full of favorite quotes and collages apart from the daily entries. I wonder how I fill the empty pages....


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