The Misir Market

After we got stuck surrounded by rainbows of spices, scarves, rugs, Turkish delights, all sorts of nuts, copper coffee pots, cascades of people gushed forth as if coming through the holes drilled in a dam that kept them floating in some kind of theGreat Lakes of Sustainable Humanity. Otherwise, when unleashed and set free, they are as disoriented as farmed fish. The only way to get out was buying something everywhere we stopped, and thus pay our way through a navel of trade, where it seemed to be the only purpose of the human race. Above one fridge it was written in Spanish:

 

Here we cheat less than the British Royal Court and have better quality than Carrefour or the British Royal Court, and we also carry poison for your mother-in-law… 

People made and crafted amazing stuff; people built up this ancient bazaar to stock and put it on display, so that other people could come and see it to believe it, then admire it, buy it, take it home, own it, and use it. It sounds pretty simple if it wasn’t for the enchanting smells and colors. They conjured up those first powerful memories taking me back to my childhood when I drifted away high on cumin, turmeric, cheese, coffee, henna, and sweetmeat made of sesame oil, grape juice, nuts and honey. Without them, life would be pretty dull. Like songs without music. Ludwig Van conducted his symphony deaf until someone tapped him on the shoulder, and then he turned around to face standing ovations he couldn’t hear. Being unable to perceive the enchanting Misir Market’s odors is like being a dog without a nose…

L.V. has been dead now for a long while, and his predicament never occurred again. Instead, one can still come to Istanbul and get baptized by the only religion that keeps boiling over like unsettling restless bubbles. Humanity. Since it exists, there’s a whole hullabaloo that follows. You might call it a yarn, but cats like to play with it. Everything seems to have a purpose and reason behind, but when you see all those people flowing like a river of clothed flesh through and around the Misir Market, continuing up and down the labyrinth of winding lanes that take you to Sultan Ahmet, or Pierre Loti, then you know the rest of the world is a bleak metaphor of life that genuinely happens here…

Fifteen million civilians, not carrying guns. They mill around, they trade, they sell everything under the sun, and if there’s nothing else to do—they fish. A line of rods hanging over the Galata Bridge, as they patiently wait for Europe to open its Pearly Gates. But they don’t shoot anybody instead, they don’t mug lone elders, they don’t kidnap kids or molest them, at least not as much as Australians in their Lucky Country do—one in four girls, and one in seven boys. No, they go there and sell kebab to those that have no time or nerves or someone to cook for, or cook with, lest we forget the mothers of hangover ruling half of the population.

After gulping grilled fish in half a little bread at the foot of the Golden Horn, I took dozens of photos of those rocking boats with huge barbecues and vigorous Turks in their national outfits withstanding acts of God for centuries. They live in an obstructed dream about entering a new kingdom that stems from ancient blue evil eyes. The crusaders replaced their shields, swords and shining armors with suits and laptops, but they can do nothing about this pure happening—these boats rock like decorated chariots of fire, feeding the hungry with dignity. The view is magnificent. New Orleans and its po’ boys, and all the fish and chips in the world, are just a chain of imitators that don’t know any better. All their cathedrals are still beneath the Tower of Christ that dominates the skyline of the old Genovese settlement. Did the Turks pull it down? Had they erased it from their memory? No, they included and beautified it, surrounding it with divine mosques, as their slender minarets support the almighty sky as if it were crucified from one end of the horizon to the other.

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