Istanbul - Friendly faces in the bazaar

On Monday I woke up after my required 7 hours of sleep - but still early enough for a slow start. Especially since I didn't have to go out for breakfast but could just munch my cereals.

After 10 AM I went out - here's a mirror selfie using my house door.
I tried again to go to Legend costumes but nobody answered the door. The people in the office on the same floor told me that she had moved but didn't know where to.
They were friendly enough to let me use their WiFi so that I could send a message and ask for the new address.

So I was back out on Taksim square sooner than expected. Like many cities it looks so peaceful in the morning.
I caught the metro and went over to Fatih.
There aren't many palm trees in Istanbul, but this house sure has a lot!
No matter what else my plans are - a trip to Istanbul just wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar!
I found some little bowles that I liked but wrongly assumed that more shops would have them. Wrong! I picked the only model that nobody else has and of course I couldn't find the shop again. Well, next time...
The bazaar is so grand and all the little streets look the same.
But I found one of the shops for dance costumes and had a look inside.
I chatted a little with Ender May, the owner. When I told him about I didn't find Legend Costumes in their usual place he wasn't surprized. Apparently a lot of producers and shops for Oriental dance costumes are either downsizing or closing completely because the demand for costumes has gone down dramatically.
His shop only survives because he also sells other things.

But help was on the way - I just wanted to browse the costumes and ended up finding one that I really liked. Plus he gave me a good price. So here's how I bought my first dance costume on this trip.

The seamstress in the back of the little shop started immediately to work on it so that it would fit me properly.
But the chiffon skirt that came with the costume was a rather flimsy affair so Ender took me to a fabric shop where I chose the material for two different skirts that I could wear with it.
So I will have to go back in about 3 days to pick it up when all is finished.

I wandered around some more and noticed that finely crocheted jewellery is all the rage right now:

Ender had invited me to have lunch with him - and even found his hop again! 
He took me to this great place in the middle of the bazaar.
I had "paper kebap" - yes, it's meat and vegetables wrapped in paper! It was delicious.

I know more people in the bazaar of course. When I first came to Istanbul in 1996 I bought a costume from Gülseren - and I still have it and dance in it sometimes!

She has been in the business for 30 years and has customers from all over the world. When I visited there was a young Australian couple in the shop - and the guy just experienced what it's really like to date a bellydancer... Sitting around in costume shops for hours for example!
Gülseren's daughter practically grew up in the shop and is now helping out when she's not in university.
Enough of the covered bazaar for the day - I continued walking through the maze of the small streets that go downhill towards Eminönü and the Spice Bazaar.
I wanted to buy zippers but hat to find the right street. Everything here is organized by areas. There's the head scarf street, the underwear street, the kitchen utensils street. Now where's the zipper street?
I started asking around and learned that the Turkish word for zipper is fermoir. It makes it easier to ask in Turkish, most people don't have enough English skills to know what a zipper is.
After being sent in 7 different directions, I found the zipper shop! Bought 4 long ones for my balcony pillow cases, and much cheaper than at home!
In case you thought your glitter was enough... Think again!
Most important shop in the bazaar: little Turkish bags!
A guy from the sweets shop took this photo of me in th Spice Bazaar.
And I got to pose with his sweets. In return I bought some. He did the full flirting sales routine that I heard before: "you can pay with a kiss", yadda yadda.... But when he wanted to give me his number in the end "because I want one noght stand with you" I just said No and walked off. Talk about taking it too far!

Oh what a lovely view when you walk out of the busy bazaar streets!
Look, I am here!
Back up on the Galata hill I found the new address of Legend costumes and Asiyeh in some kind of a glitter cave that is her atelier. After some looking around for inspiration I chose my model and colors for a new costume that she will custom make for me. I'll have to go back for a fitting in two days.

On the Internet I had found a yoga studio close to my house that offers massages. My body was soar all over and I went there for an appointment. They gave me one for 1,5 hours later.

Enough time to go to Necmi Usta and order tango shoes! I was only supposed to order two pairs for a friend but then I saw a new style he has. And hey, they are very affordable!

Shoe maker
The massage was great - I'll need another one soon...

This is the glamorous place where I had my super cheap dinner just before catching a taxi to the milonga.
When I just had started to dance tango, 13 years ago, I went to the Monday milonga at the Armada hotel. And several times since then. The last few times I hadn't liked it too much. I remembered it as cold and having boring dancers,

But I was so glad that I gave it another try! The air condition is still freezing though, as always...
It's very posh, in a 5 stars hotel with a marble floor. And you get seated at table. This is how I met Joanna from Rumania. Just to show that I don't only meet men at milongas :-)
We didn't have much time to chat though because we were constantly asked to dance.
So many great dancers with good musicality that night!
When they played the last song I was shocked that it was already 1 AM! It felt as if I had only just started!