“American Time”

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Refers to spending half-a-day (or more) to go somewhere to do only one thing. So I learned from Catherine and the Dragon, who didn’t quite imply that my slow and apparently aimless touristic wanderings were taxing to their no-nonsense, take-care-of-business Taiwanese sensibilities. 🙂
We began with At Meydam in Sultanhamet and then Suleymaniye, a.k.a. the Blue Mosque (above). I didn’t enter, as the posted rules requested “no shorts”. I doubted that there was serious policing occurring but felt no problem respecting the request to respect the religious space. I wandered around the exterior, discovering the foot-washing area and getting picked up by a carpet salesman who very much wanted me to come drink some free tea. I was rescued, and we continued our search for the Basilica Cistern.
It is pretty cool. They’ve spiced it up with some colored lights to illuminate the regularly-spaced columns, bring some of the fish into visibility, and instill more mystery to the sideways and upside down Medusa heads. It is amazing to me to imagine the space as it must have been in use: full of water, rather than mostly drained, completely dark. Symbols immersed &emdash; physically present in the space and to some extent (?) active in the imaginations of those who built the structure and consumed its water.
We had a mellow lunch and marched on to discover that the museums are all closed on Mondays. The nerve! 🙂
We walked some of the grounds around Topkapi Palace before deciding some down time was a nice idea. We were So Right! We met up with Spark for the evening and he tour-guided us at rapid-pace along a river cruise, through a delicious dinner – and fireworks! – (despite the need to negotiate the bill down to the price we’d understood originally), and several Plans for evening entertainment. Plan A was dispensed with because of time (we were too late). Plan B was the river cruise so that was done, Plan B1 started to sound complicated, Plan C required quick action and finally, Plan D won. We dispersed to our respective rest.

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