Sunday, May 23, 2010

Transforming your flat via the Grand Bazzar...

Merhaba (Hello). I am fighting a small cold today and thought I would blog again. These beauties pictured above were my biggest purchases in Turkey. Three large floor pillows, one decorative round and of course, jewelery! Standing in the Grand Bazzar you can get lost- literally. The Grand Bazzar is large and home to over 4000 stalls/shops- extending over several kilometers in length. One Lonely Planet writer warns you that "Before you visit, prepare yourself properly. Make sure you are in a good mood and energized, ready to swap friendly banter with the hundreds of shopkeepers who will attempt to lure you into their establishments" (Lonely Planet Turkey, 11th ed., 2009). This is an accurate advice and best state of mind regarding the Grand Bazzar. Vendors will follow you around, tell you they have just fallen in love with you, they will offer you the "best price", and you will "break their hearts" when you walk away from their store. It is a game of give-and-take and you will be both tempted to listen to what rolls off their tongue (who doesn't want to be complimented 20 times in five minutes, right?) and your other reaction will be to run in the opposite direction! It is amusing and fun and it is all part of the Turkish expereince.

I bought my first pillow at the Grand Bazzar- from a nice, funny, flirty, Spanish-speaking Kurdish-Turk. Ok, so did buy two pillows from the same shop- but I just couldn't resist. My glittery, yellow tassle floor pillow and my small, decorative round were well sought out. I spent over 30 minutes with my friend Lynne in this man's shop. We bantered, we flirted, hablamos espanol un poco (for Lynne and I's practice of course), and I ended up with a great price for two beautiful pillows- and so did Lynne. The best part of any Grand Bazzar adventure isn't necessarily wandering around the many, many stalls but rather to sit down and drink the divine apple tea... served to you off a beautiful copper tray. You can just sit, drink your tea, and take in and enjoy the atmosphere of a vendors pillow, throw, or rug display. Taking in a tea is always time well spent!

I cannot go anywhere without buying a new piece of jewelery- and Turkey was no exception. I had seen many nice pieces of silver, precious stones, and intricate designs all over Istanbul. But after spending time at one man's shop in the Grand Bazzar, and feeling like I had seen the same thing at a hundred other stalls- the man behind the counter said, "are you looking for something specific?" To which I replied, "something different." He retaliated with "come with me, I have shop around corner with different." Sounds good to me, let's go. And what do you know it was as he promised- better and different. I purchased a pair of earrings and a spectacular ring. I like intricate stones, not dainty pieces but pieces that stand out usually set in sterling silver. Many of you may know that in November 2008 my roommates I and came home to find our house burglarized. Ripped through from top to bottom- every room was in upheaval! If you know me well, you would assume the saddest thing I lost that day (aside from privacy and security) would have been my iPod- but no, actually, it was all my special gems and stones set in gleaming silver- mostly rings, a few necklaces, and 3 favorite earring sets were taken from me. I had collected those rings form places as far as Moldova and Italy and from my favorite jewelery store, The Golden Whale, in Cannon Beach, Oregon. No one piece was like another nor were they replaceable- so, yes, my heart broke a little that day! When in Turkey I decided it was time to start my collection again... and the above pictured were my finds...The stone was naturally broken with that sparkly shine in the middle of the stone- my kind of intricate!

The two other pillows I purchased are more traditional Turkish artwork. At a small shop along one of the major tourist roads, I found these two Kilims- and I fell in love- with pillows! The design, the colors, the shape (one rectangular- the other a square)- they were meant to be bought and taken home to my flat... stay tuned over the next few weeks as I begin to re-vamp and transform my flat with a bit of Turkish flare! I will post as I re-design and change my living space... gule gule (goodbye... for now)!
- Nikki

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