Saturday April 21, 2012
|Pendik Saturday Market|
Today we decided to to venture out on our own to Pendik to go to a local farmer's/flea market which to my understanding is only there on Saturdays. The shuttle picks up in front of the hotel and the hospital about every hour on Saturdays. Schedules are available for this particular shuttle in Anadolu Hospital. It started to rain on the way there and I stupidly forgot my coat so when we got their I was freezing and had to buy a jacket. Luckily it was mostly covered and it stopped within a half hour.
The market is incredible. There are aisles of fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, olives, cheeses, and pickled items. There is also a myriad of shoes, handbags, clothes, undergarments, perfumes, and even goldfish for sale. Most of the vendors are men, young and old. Everyone was incredibly nice and they seemed to pride themselves in their products. The walkways were clean and the tables were set up with items meticulously stacked from the shirts down to crates of neatly lined strawberries.
|Grapes leaves for stuffing... I might have to buy some next time!|
|Wonderful tomatoes neatly stacked|
|Walnuts, beans, and dried fruit.|
|John and one of the many stands of strawberries|
Since we are doing dome cooking we bought beautiful strawberries, lemons, curly peppers, cherry tomatoes and a container of berries that look like a long skinny blackberry. Turkey is known for its pistachios so we also came home with 1/2 kilo. It is helpful to have a converter on your phone to get an idea of how much you are buying.
|We had to haggle for these...2 TL for 4 lemons approx. 25cents each|
|The curly peppers: we had to try and figure out if the were hot or not|
|All of these items were pickled in these barrels|
|Click on the video above|
|They remove the leaves and the chokes and soak the vegetable so it doesn't turn brown. It was fascinating watching them do this because they are so fast.|
The language barrier makes it very difficult to communicate, but despite that everyone is very gracious. Along the way we met an older man(below) that wanted us to take his picture. We finally figured out that he wanted to see his picture too. He was so excited that he gave us a beautiful bunch of Sarimicak, or garlic, and would not let us pay.
We haggled with some of the men and pretty soon were surrounded by others. John looked at me and said," I think they have discovered we are Americans we better get out now before we spend all of our money". They were all eager to have us try their produce and basically thought they had it sold before we could move. Being that I could live on fruits and vegetables and was in heaven I would have bought it all but John reminded me our refrigerator is dorm size and got me back to reality.
We had a little trouble getting home. We are fly by the seat of our pants kind of people so lets just we didn't plan very well. We had no idea if our shuttle would pick us up or if it stopped there and what time. There were so many vehicles there it would have been impossible to find if it was there. We ended having to walk through the Pendik City Center and ask about every 5 minutes where to go. It was difficult because of the language barrier but if you ask enough people they will get you in the right direction. We had the address and phone number to the hotel/hospital but we didn't want to take a taxi unless we had to because it is so expensive. Everyone was extremely nice and tried to help the best they could. Many even went out of their way to find us someone that spoke English.
While we were searching for a way home we noticed that Pendik is very nice. It has clean streets, lots of shops,street food and people. You could here the call to prayer(ezan) from the minarets at mosque in the center of the city. The chanting is done six times a day and depends on latitude, longitude, sunrise, sunset and the geographical relationship to Mecca, the Holy City of Islam. As I sit here and write I can hear the evening all out my window. If you plan on visiting a mosque I recommend knowing what the times are for prayer or you may not get to go in. That happened to us on our honeymoon.
Click on the video above-this one was shaky sorry, I was really recording the call to prayer
|A park on the way to the city center|
We finally made it to the Dolmus or shared blue taxi bus area where after asking 15 different drivers someone got us on the correct bus. We had to change buses once and the driver kindly made sure we got on the correct one. The fare is cheap at 1 - 1 1/2 Turkish Lira for each ride. We finally made it back to the hospital...well almost, he dropped us off on the entrance ramp to the hospital right on the highway. At that point we were just thankful we could see something we recognized.