Hamams! I LOVE hamams! Went to one 2 days ago. It is a bit hidden and VERY old (we are talking about 1475 here!).
There were only a few other women there so it was very relaxing. I booked the full program with rubbing and two massages. Aaaaahhh...
Yesterday I did something I have wanted to for a long time but never did the last 4 times I came here: Visit the Dolmabahçe palace.
If I say it’s awesome, I MEAN it! I haven’t seen that much splendor in a long time. Some rooms you just enter and stand there with your mouth wide open... Beauuuuuutiful!
I played good tourist and went to the “Turkish Show” at Kervansaray. They had 3 rather good dancers and a cool folklore group.
So then the announcer says: “And now, the most famous bellydancer in Turkey!”
And I am thinking: “Yeah, right, let’s see who THIS is.”
I get a heart attack.
(I had heard about her perfoming in one of the shows but thought it was Orient House so it was a real surprise!)
After my quick recovery (about 2 seconds) I grab my camera (thank goodness I had it with me!!!) and put myself in a good position to film ALL of her show.
The first two minutes she wasn’t much different from the other dancers - but after you get past the fact that she will NOT smile (I think she wants to cover her overbite?) she was just fantastic! Of course she danced to her own music and she was really into it. Great accents, great... everything!
I had only ever seen Asena on TV shows that a friend had taped for me, but this was so much better.
So people, if you go to Istanbul, go to Kervansaray! Yes, it’s expensive, but hey, Asena alone is worth the price!
Plus you get to see what would happen if Paris Hilton was a bellydancer - with a new set of fake boobs but wearing a bra from the time pre-silicone (but she was a really funny girl and put on a great show so I forgave her). Plus two more good dancers.
And as always I got chosen as a volunteer for the folk dancing.
Argentinian delight :-)
Then I grabbed my stuff to go to a Milonga accompanied by an Iranian table neighbour who loves all kind of dancing and wanted to watch the Tango.
He was very gentlemanly about it when I told him that if I just sat there with him no other man would ask me to dance. So he went to sit at the bar for a while and it worked :-)
There are so many good Tango dancers here, it’s really delightful...
Today I have no big plans except walking, some more shopping and another visit to the hamam.
And late in the evening I will fly to Beirut!!!
But I must say I am glad to know that I will be back to Istanbul for more 2,5 days, I LOVE this town!