When Is A Honeymoon Not A Honeymoon (Part Seven)

Ahmed very kindly took us all souvenir shopping the next evening to Mavişehir (Blue City), famous all over Turkey for its sunsets. There was also an undercover market selling a variety of goods including various knock off designer goods, which was situated a few yards from the beach. A short walk away there was also a row of small beach cafes with crudely covered terraces, a stone’s throw from the water’s edge. Despite the plastic chairs and tables together with the rudimentary menus, these restaurants had their own unique charm and the views were picture postcard perfect.

Ahmed’s brothers and the terrible twins tagged along again and this time the girls were dressed in miniscule booty shorts that even Kylie Minogue would have been embarrassed to wear. The boys took great delight in haggling on the girls’ behalf and I have since discovered that there are three prices for most things in Turkey; one for the tourists, one for the expats and one for the Turks. So if you are ever fortunate enough to find yourself in a Turkish market, ensure that you take a Turk along with you. The girls’ squeals of delight, when the boys had successfully secured a good price for a desired bootleg item, could be heard echoing throughout the market. Although I suspected that the girls’ probably needed new clothes as much as the Pope needed a new balcony.

I was mesmerised by the whole market experience, and content to wander from stall to stall absorbing the atmosphere, the sounds, the bright colours and the enticing smells of the Turkish food stands; pancakes, fresh juice, baked potatoes and doughnuts. One of Ahmet’s “friends” was working on the pancake stall so, of course, for a small price we were invited to sit and eat a pancake with our chosen filling.

After we had eaten, we continued our stroll around the market. I had to smile as the generator stalled constantly throughout the evening causing brief blackouts but as the resilient market traders switched on torches, I assumed that this was a regular occurrence. I loved the colourful displays of various goods, the rows and rows of fresh fruit and vegetables and had to admit that the clinical displays in the supermarkets back home weren’t anywhere near as appealing.

As I wandered around the market with Ahmed, I lingered at one fruit and veg display, where an elderly stallholder and his traditionally dressed Turkish wife enjoyed some banter with the locals over their purchases. The wife caught my eye and grinned at me and as she did her entire face radiated joy. As she served Ahmed, she continually gestured to me throughout their conversation. She must have liked what he told her as the next thing I knew we had been invited to share some çay. We sat down on some upturned plastic crates in the middle of the market chaos, behind this little fruit stall whilst the wife attended to the çay, constantly chatting away to Ahmed, who in turn translated for me. She said that they owned a small holding a little further along the coast and their family had been coming to this market to sell their produce for as long as she could remember. She said that they were simple folk and unlike many of the stallholders, they came even throughout the winter. She apologised as she said she had never finished school and could barely read and write. I asked her through Ahmed, what differences she felt there were between English and Turkish women. She paused briefly before saying that in her opinion Turkish women were more content and I realised that I was in the presence of someone who had found the meaning of true happiness. When we had finished our tea she took my glass and turned it upside down. Smiling at me, she said to Ahmed that I would return to Turkey for although I had a foot in one place, my heart was in another.

As we said our goodbyes, she touched a lock of my hair with her weather-beaten hands and smiling shyly she removed her headscarf to reveal newly set and coloured auburn curls which she proudly patted. As we turned to leave she called out to us “veda arkadaş” (farewell friends).

We have returned to see her many times since and there is always a smile and glass of çay waiting for me. Each time we sit with each other a while; neither of us understanding each other’s language yet we manage through shared photographs and the odd word or gesture. Each and every time is a moment of sunshine happiness for me and the simplicity of sitting on those upturned crates throughout the changing seasons is another treasured memory that I will add to my scrapbook of golden days.

fruit stall

65 thoughts on “When Is A Honeymoon Not A Honeymoon (Part Seven)

  1. When I first met the man I married, many moons ago… We couldn’t talk each others language either, it was fun getting to know each other without words. This is a good story you’re telling (there are some similarities to mine). I hope its leading up to the moment you decided to stay in Turkey for good…

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    • There’s a lot to be said about speaking different languages and its the differences that we are attracted to. And you’re absolutely right, these stories are why I decided to return to Turkey. Totally an unexpected blessing – a bit like blogging!

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  2. I had a slightly similar experience here in Czech. When we first got here, the only person who bothered to talk to me was an old woman who was probably in her 70’s. In post communist Czech, locals (mostly old people) are still unaccustomed to see foreigners in their town. But despite our language barrier, she managed to invite me for lunch. That made me feel at home.

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  3. I am all caught up now. Thank the heavens. You write so well and it’s so entertaining but at the same time has so much quality. I have never been to Turkey, although I hear the beaches are wonderful. I would be interested to see you post some of the turkish food 🙂 I have learned in my travels that people don’t necessarily have to understand eachother to communicate. As long as one is respectful of the other’s culture and maintains a friendliness you can make many friends.

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  4. Beautiful episode and very romantic and also very true! it is rare to be in the company of someone who his truly happy. But it is good to know that it exists and that it doesnt have anything to do with stuff or being rich! Hope I find that kind of peace one day 🙂

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  5. As usual I love these updates. Another of Ahmet’s “friends”! Also isn’t it amazing how sometimes you don’t have to speak the same language in order to make a friend/get along with someone?

    Your market friend sounds a little bit like my uncle. While my mother was studying abroad in France (maybe before she was dating my father), my uncle (already married to my father’s sister at the time) turned to my mother and told her she would be returning to France. Little did he know how right he would be…!

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  6. Bless you for “liking” a recent post of mine and for your lovely, warm, and empathetic sharing about your friendship and visits with that Turkish stallholder’s wife! True peace and happiness in that lady, indeed! How blessed you are to have made such a genuine connection there in Turkey! And those twins just have giggling! Not a whole lot differnet from American girls, it would seem, in their shopping habits!

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  7. I’ve done a quick retro through your blog, and I love it. Your fantastic outlook, entertaining turn of phrase coupled with the knack of drawing me along with you, made me quite forget I was sitting at my work desk waiting for Friday to be over 🙂

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  8. I love reading your posts, I wish I could write, you have a great talent. Turkey is a wonderful country and I feel the majority of the Turkish people are truly happy with the simple things in life that’s one of the many things I love about living here.

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  9. Thank you for liking my blog because it gave me an opportunity to read yours.
    As I read your words I was reminded of the experiences I have here in Belize as well. The people who stop to talk to you on the streets, along with the signs and sounds of new experiences – such as babies being carried in a blanket supported on the head of the Maya mother, or the women who breast-feed their babies openly on the streets, or the children squealing with delight playing with nothing more than a stick or stone they have found. I was riding in the back of a pick up truck the other day and came across a yard with a horse tied up in it. The house was just on the outskirts of town, but it was this kind of easy living that made me smile. I get the sense you feel the same way during your Turkey journey that I feel here.
    Your sunset is better than any I will ever get (I have jungle and hills behind me blocking the sunsets and the buildings aren’t high enough to get over the trees) and if I would get up early enough in the morning maybe one day I will post a sunrise picture that will rival your sunset one. 🙂

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  10. Hi, what a beautiful story, and so well written! Maybe language sometimes is more a barrier in real communication then we think it is. Sounds like you’re a warmhearted, exploring and openminded woman, otherwise this turkish woman never would have approached you!
    Jessica

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  11. You transport me and include me in a world I doubt I’ll ever have the pleasure of experiencing for myself. I love some of the pictures you’ve included too. So glad I stumbled upon your blog. I’ll be back.

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    • I love it! And fortunately, most of the bloggers that read my blog have either been and fallen in love with it too or they want to come and experience it for themselves. Everyone should have the opportunity to visit Turkey at least once in their lifetime

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  12. Thank you for liking my Cambodia trip post. I did visit turkey. I posted some photos on one of my blogs. You are a good writer. Keep it up. May be you will have a book published some day. Congrats to have so many readers.

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    • I feel blessed to have met so many lovely people that were as fascinated by me (can’t think why) as I was by them and I was and remain touched by their consideration and I will honestly remember it for the rest of my life

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