Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Orientation - A Trip to the Market at Umütköy
The covered market at Umütköy goes on every Saturday in Ankara. This was my first time venturing out with my limited Turkish, trying to strike up deals. And it was so much fun! I have a little cheater notebook with Turkish phrases written in it. So before I go up to a vendor, I'd memorize how to ask for 2 kilograms of something. The only problem was if they said anything back to me, I wouldn't understand, and we would have to resort to holding up fingers and gesturing. But it was so fun feeling foolish and helpless, and only having the vocabulary of a 4-year-old!
The produce was so fresh and brightly colored. I could have taken pictures all afternoon if not for the Kurdish men who worked there that were trying to get in my pictures and give me their phone numbers in my little notebook. (They don't see many foreigners very often at this market). When they found out we couldn't understand Turkish, they would start hollering inappropriate (I'm sure) things in Turkish to their friends at the next stand, and then they'd stare and laugh and say more inappropriate things, and my friend Shauna and I would just laugh and smile like idiots and keep walking. At least inappropriate laughs, tones, and looks are universal, and I can understand those.
Compared to the expensive malls in the rich area we live in, we were all gleeful at the prices and the freshness of the produce, nuts, grains, dried fruits, bread, and cheese. And it was the custom to try everything. Anything I glanced at was given to me to try. I ate my first fresh fig, and I'm hooked.