The Summer of ’12 – Part 1

Edited to add pics. Now stop being mad at me.

The OA likes to say that I have just always been pregnant or nursing which is why we’ve never visited the mad sibling in the US before. He’s right, partly. But mostly, it’s because we were the first to get married and in the last couple of years there’s been a wedding in the family every year, taking up all our leave. No complaints though, because those have been great fun too. And then this year we decided we were going to go before my brother had another baby or decided to move, or something of that sort. And so we did. Observations follow.

Our first stop was Turkey. I fell in love the moment I stepped out of the airport and the Mediterranean breeze caught me. Everyone thinks they have seen the best Turkey has to offer. Each person believes they saw it in a light no one else did. At least that is what I’ve gleaned across conversations. I feel the same way. That it’s MY Turkey. The streets are clean and lined with flowering beds, the monuments sparkle and the bathrooms are clean (yay!). Bombay could have been like this if our country weren’t so overcrowded and dirty. In some ways it reminded me of Delhi, with the huge lawns where families picnicked and reminders of the past nodded benignly in the background. What really amazed me was how stylishly people were dressed. Smart cuts, clean lines, ageless styles. And how beautifully hot pants and hijab coexisted. I’ve never seen it done so seamlessly. At the Blue Mosque we had to cover our heads and I was given a scarf. Being the earnest sort that I am, I spent most of my visit nervously holding the edges together, threatening to strangle myself and in the bargain, sweating profusely. Thankfully I was in a pair of jeans but another lady in shorts had been given a length of fabric to wrap around herself. It kept opening up to reveal her legs and custodians kept stopping by to tell her to cover up. I really admire those who can do it all day. I know that my half hour there was fraught with tension and sweat and very little devotion.

Bollywood follows you everywhere and we chanced upon a team from India shooting a film with Anil Kapoor and Amisha Patel. The starstruck OA insisted on pictures while I acted snooty. We moved on to Top Kapi Palace and saw a strikingly goodlooking couple who were clearly very aware of how fantastic they were. As we neared them, we realised they were Kareena and Saif!

The food everyone said, would be disappointing and unfortunately it was. I didn’t like anything we ate, except the desserts which more than made up for the lack elsewhere. The OA, who lives by his belly was most disheartened. So when I begged and pleaded that he find a job there and move, his only argument was – and what will we eat? You don’t cook and I can’t stand the food. Oh well, you can’t have it all, I guess – hills, beaches, weather, awesome people, great transport system, history, fashion, I could go on.

We sat at cafes and ate, watched people go by and walked the days away. I didn’t have the heart to leave and the only thing that pushed me onwards was the desire to see my nephew. And so we left.

I loved how Turkey was modern yet quaint. Like this pink house down a lane, near our hotel.

My meals were all about the dessert.

The Blue Mosque by night.

My darling brother booked us the executive suite at the hotel and we got this awesome private balcony and view. That’s me having my morning chai on the railing. Later on I looked back and realised that even the nightsuit I am wearing is a gift from him!Β 

The view from the lovely cruise we took.

Feeding birds from our restaurant on the waterfront. Kids were going wild.

These wreaths were the rage and you could tell the tourists from the locals by who was wearing them.

Yes, tourist, that’s me. I bought the Bean a bunch and she’s had a blast dressing up with them.

53 thoughts on “The Summer of ’12 – Part 1

  1. I have been WAITING for your post on the Summer travels and as soon as I saw the notification, got my cup of tea and expected to read a LENGTHY post hehe..this is just a tease…give me more :D! hehe! Welcome back?

    • I wish i could tell you HOW mad I am going. Suffice to say, I’ve started physiotherapy. And am hopefully going to walk like humans were meant to, someday in the near future. Days are full, nights are exhausted. Over and out.

  2. Youre not serious!! You come back from a vacation in TWO different countries and give me, that?! I demand more stories. And pictures.

    And how about some brat and bean updates, while youre at it?

    On a serious note, that sounds fabulous. Hopefully Il get down to reviewing my holiday soon too..

  3. Finally MM… was tired of checking the blog
    this is just a teaser I am hoping…How are kids, Button and his parents πŸ™‚ How is your knee?
    Come on MM, so many questions πŸ™‚ If I know ur number I would have called you by now!!!

  4. Arey these naye naye Musalman really bother me. I carried my shawl but I had my Benazir moments and it didn’t stay and in the end I forgot about it. No one died, we didn’t get lynched and we lived to return the next day. In fact except the pherangs everyone was OK with showing hairlines . Relax!

    • Ab kya. I already spent my half an hour in utter tension that a hair would escape. I don’t fear being lynched. I fear hurting someone’s sentiments. I mean they havent invited you there. You have come of your own free will – so you have to go by their rules.

      • relax..I have been there, not everyone inside a mosque are that sensitive about their religion. My dupatta also fell off a few times, but I was too busy admiring the breathtaking beauty of the mosque to care too much. Generally, they come and politely ask you to cover up, and they understand if you are a tourist.

        • I don’t think its about them saying anything at all. It was less fear, more respect of the fact that there are certain rules. Those who go in should be aware… even to the extent of being extra careful, rather than less.

          • I agree with the spirit behind your feeling that way. In Aurangbad in the very beautiful Ellora caves, a young caucasian lady with shorts on was there with her partner. The clothing was not a problem in my eyes. But what she did was. She lay down on a giant Buddha’s lap as if she was lolling on a beach and asked her partner to click a picture.

            • …I will get by with images of MM plonking herself in the lap of a mighty fit Turkish security guard asking OA to click a pic.
              Yes definitely that

            • Exactly. I’m not sure anyone cares about a strand of hair. But I think its important not to give offence when you go into some place that is culturally different to what you’re used to.

            • “I think its important not to give offence when you go into some place that is culturally different to what you’re used to.”

              Cultural difference matters but not so much. In the example I gave above would the caucasian lady do something of that sort in her own country at a heritage site and a place of worship? I doubt it.

            • Absolutely. But then that is the thing. Most people don’t bother to think of this as a place of worship that is sacred to someone. They think of it as merely a sightseeing option.

  5. ditto…want more…but do take care of ur knee. u dont seem to give it a chance to heal! and from what i hv heard these ligament-muscle-bone thingies need time…at a stretch rest….

    can imagine the day fly by with 2 little ones. am looking fwd to a vaca all by myself too!

    • You MUST. Nothing quite like it. Although I’d suggest you keep it short. After the first three days the novelty wears off and we begin to miss the kids like mad.

  6. Istanbul is fabulous! I quite liked the food too- the vegetarian options were pretty decent, but yes, they did use a fair amount of eggplant which I think you don’t touch!

  7. Are you kidding? Turkey has fabulous food! It’s such a pity you’ve had a bad experience 😦 I’m sure you both love creamy goat cheeses, fresh and juicy salads and chickpeas, walnuts, honey, pomogranates, herbs, spicy lentils and deliciously crisp bread! At least, that’s MY own Turkey from last november. How can it be so different?

  8. Hope the movie is gonna be a really lon…….g one peppered aptly with snaps….this one ended before the warm up…

    • This seems like the those days when only door darshan was there and you have been waiting for long to watch a particular movie, finally the movie starts, you are totally engrossed and suddenly – bijli chali gayi 😦
      Take care of your health
      But come back with a longer post with pics and ur usual style

  9. So wait: 1) You left without calling me
    2) AND missed my birthday.
    You owe me both your children.

  10. 2 chota paragraph, ek itnu sa paragraph aur ek bade paragraph mein tadka diya. Baaki ka post WP khaa gaya kya? Did you get an opportunity to try Turkish chai and coffee? I have heard paeans sung to the type served in Turkey.

  11. you didn’t like the food in Turkey?!!!! Whyyyyyyyy?!
    I loved it, and it wasn’t just me, we went as a group and we all, vegetarians included, loved the fare there! (and the veggies were hare krishna satvik-food eating people, to boot!)

    This is first time I’ve heard anyone say they didn’t like the food in Turkey. Their teste kebabs, their lovely apple tea, their scrumptious breakfasts (one of the hotels we stayed at had a whole honey comb on a huge tray at their buffet table).

  12. heyy i am soo glad you loved it in turkey. i want to visit one day. we have a couple of turkish friends here. love them to pieces. reallyyyy nice people, i agree. we are a regular here at the turkish fest. love the culture, the music, AND THE food!!! πŸ˜€ i really love the food man. their meats are done so well. the hummus, the cheeses, the spicy dips, the breads … yumm! πŸ˜€
    either way, i am glad you loved your trip. nothing more refreshing than a dip into a culture very different from your own.

  13. LOVE the dessert pic and the balcony pic. The dessert looks delectable, and you look so much at peace. πŸ™‚

    You bought wreaths? Were they made of real flowers? They stayed till you came back to India? :O

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