Friday 25 April 2008

Tea sugar dream (day 5 in Istanbul)

"Tea sugar dream": this is what the owner-manager of The Halik Cafe in Sultanahmet told a group of Australians was the way to say "thank you very much" in Turkish. He performed quite a lead up, showing Turkish tea in its traditional tulip glass as well as bringing over some sugar before talking about dreams, and I was following his performance wondering where he was going when finally he put all three together, "tea-sugar-dream," and I burst out laughing. One of the Australians asked me if it was true, and I told her it was pronounced "te-shek-kur ed-air-im" (teşekkür ederim). I know hardly any Turkish, but my time here has become easier since learning teşekkür ederim, lütfen (please), tamam (okay, all right), bir (one), and çay (tea).

Today I joined John Ash's class touring parts of Istanbul on foot and learning of their architecture and history. With his knowledgeable and playful running commentary, we saw the Greek Patriarchate; the oldest running church in Istanbul, St. Mary of the Mongols; a Muslim tomb (whose I don't remember); and the rather significant remains of a palace that John Freely, apparently not checking himself, reports do not exist.

I look forward to posting pictures on my return--both photos of Istanbul's sights and of its street cats (on which more anon!).

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