Sunday, October 28, 2007

A trip back to my fair city

Foothills in front of Mt. Uludağ, Bursa

Yesterday, Evren and I headed to Bursa. It was the first time we had gone back since moving to Istanbul two months ago. We took the fast ferry that runs from Yenikapı to Guzelyalı, a district of Bursa on the the coast of the Sea of Marmara. We rode in business class because there were no more seats in regular class since we were getting there with only 10 minutes to spare. I had this idea that business class would be incredibly quiet and free of the chaos of screaming, running and flailing children that rule over the downstairs area; turned out I was so very wrong. If anything, it seemed the loudest and most annoying of children had made it into biz class. One was crying and yelling non-stop for maybe half an hour. Others were chasing each other in circles around the aisles. I, meanwhile, was just trying to sleep since I had only gotten about 4 hours that morning and had to throw myself out of bed at 6:30am, on a Saturday no less. So while Ev, the deep sleeper that he is, was passed out in the seat across from me, I was kept up by the insistent screaming, chanting, crying and other wonderful child noises.

However, when we finally reached the other side an hour and a half later, my spirits were buoyed just to see the rolling green hills of my lovely Bursa. I don't think I'll ever stop missing the place. On the way into the city center I just couldn't get enought of the green scenes outside my window. While Ev went to a morning meeting, I headed to the new shopping mega-complex called Koru Park. I wandered past the artsy windowfronts and marvelled at how few people were around, thinking again that I could never have such an experience in Istanbul. Also, when I would wander into a shop I had the rare experience of not being followed constantly and "over-helped" (as is the norm in many retail shops here, not because they think you'll be shoplifting like in the States but rather because their wages are based on sales commissions). While I'm not a big shopper in the first place, the many experiences of being over-helped have put me off even more toward shopping; I simply can't focus when someone is tailing a few feet behind me and asking me every five seconds what I'm looking for or if I'd like to try that on and often end up hightailing it out of the shop. So this change was very welcome and I reveled in it, taking my time to look over items that caught my eye and even trying things on (which I also have an aversion to). Later, Ev and I had some lunch at a cafe and I continued my shopping spree at one of my favorite old haunts, a place called Özdilek. I'd been waiting for just such an opportunity to come to Bursa because I knew that there I would be able to find everything I needed in just one or two spots; whereas in Istanbul I feel like I end up racing to all parts of the city only to end up finding nothing that I was looking for. I know it takes time to get to know a city, but it sometimes feels like Istanbul is so huge and sprawling that it is virtually unknowable.

On another note, I'm again writing from Ev's office because we STILL don't have internet at home. But this time we can do nought about it because the land line company monopoly (TürkTelekom) that would be setting up our ADSL line is currently on strike. A strike that has gone on for a few weeks now and who knows how much longer it will continue.

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