Istanbul - The big basar tour

The Monday night milonga at Armada hotel is quite popular - several people tell me it's their favourite. But I couldn't quite share this opinion on my last visit. With some exceptions I found many of the dancers there rather uninspiring. They were not bad - it's just what I would call "safe dancing". Nothing that moved my soul.
Tango should make you feel something - it can be fun, passionate, athletic or whatever. But if I spend the dance thinking about my shopping list, it's just barely better than having to sit and wait...
Fortunately, this time there were enough dancers who brought that little extra that makes dancing an enjoyable experience. So it was definitely worth the taxi ride.

On Tuesday I met a fellow dancer from England, Charlotte, whom I had met some time ago during a dance festival in Belgium. Ah, the joy of the international bellydance community!
It was her first time in Istanbul and I took her through the basars so her husband could do something non-shopping related :-)
We started in the Spice Basar and then went up to where all the glittler shops are - crystals, sequins, jewellery...
Charlotte's eyes started to sparkle just like the things around her and she went into heavy shopping mode! Well, I also bought some stuff...

We slowly worked our way up to the Grand Basar, past the shops with the impossibly over-decorated gowns. More ruffles, more glitter! And a doll that looks like a zombie...
I got only slightly lost in the basar - nothing new there...
We walked around a bit, found out that Gülseren had moved her shop and then had a well-deserved lunch in one of the little restaurants in the side courts.
After some more walking we found our way to the Ali Baba shop. As usual, Erkan seemed to be waiting just for me. He is my contact there - he grew up in Switzerland, so communication is easy. And he always appreciates that I bring customers with me.
We spent quite some time there, chatting about dance and the current situation of Turkey that he (like other people) is very optimistic about.

I was just browsing through the costumes for curiousity but actually found a quite nice white bra/belt set. Yes, I will not give up looking for a great white costume! And because he gave me a good price and my other two costumes had come cheaper than expected, I bought it! I had just bought two white chiffon skirts in another shop, so it was perfect.
Charlotte on the other hand bought a big bag full of hip scarves for her students.
On the way back to Eminönü I passed by the glitter shops and got some rhinestone brouches to pimp the costume up a bit and now it's very sparkly!

Here's what I bought: All of the above mentioned stuff plus some silk veils, fabrics and accessories.
The original plan had been to go to the hamam afterwards, but as usual the basar adventure had taken much more time than expected, so we parted and I went back to the hotel for a shower and some rest...

The evening was the usual routine of a late dinner and some good tango dancing. By now, some dancers were becoming familiar to me and one of them declared that he was my favourite dancer in Istanbul - well he really is good and we have good "dance harmony" as he calls it.