Yesterday Alex needed to buy a new power cord for her Mac so I decided to tag along to see where my Mac would need to go if it gets sick, and also to see a new neighborhood.
We decided to meet at the metro station in Taksim Square, which is the main square in Istanbul. I live very close to it and have been winding my way to and around it ever since I arrived. But yesterday I took a different route, needing to check out a few of the shops on the way. I left my apartment, turned right, went downhill for about one block, then starting climbing a steep, steep hill. I'm at a loss to describe how steep this hill is, probably 45 degrees. I passed cafes, a hair salon, groceries, the rental agent recommended to me, and lots of other things I began to be too winded to notice or care about. I climbed and climbed and next thing I knew, I was in Taksim Square! No turns, no confusion of twisting streets. I would have laughed if I’d had any breath left to laugh with. I had no idea I lived this close to the square. The ascent is exhausting but there is good stuff on this street and it will be so much easier to go home this way. I feel like a complete dork for just figuring this out.
After flopping exhausted and damp into a hotel cafe for coffee and water and then running all around the square trying to find jeton (the tokens for the subway) I meet Alex and after a short metro ride we are in Sisli. Sisli is supposed to be a very nice area with cafes and shops, but we arrive in the middle of a lot of busy, wide roads. Following the directions Alex has been given we walk along a busy highway and finally see the Apple logo. We climb two flights to the small office where luckily one of the guys speaks English. He is very helpful and friendly so we chat with him for a bit. He is surprised when I can say his name properly. Finally a word I can say correctly, and a genuine compliment as opposed to all the compliments that come because people are sincerely pleased that you even try to approximate their language.
The only downside to our Apple fieldtrip is the expense. I have heard that electronics are expensive in Turkey. Alex pays about $160 plus 18% sales tax for her power cord and we are both shocked at the price. I find the same thing online for about $120.
We walk back in the direction of the metro and decide to check out the new mall, Cevahir. I have been wanting to go to a mall because they are apparently hugely popular in Istanbul and I am really curious to see what they are like. It turns out it's not so different from malls in the US. We do have to go through a metal detector and put our bags through an x-ray machine, but other than that it's a mall, but a nice one. Very bright with 5 or 6 levels of stores surrounding a sky-lighted central courtyard. There is a Cineplex and lots and lots of places to eat including McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Sbarro, but there are lots of Turkish restaurants too. I don’t recognize the names of most of the shops with the exception of Zara and Adidas, but I’m happy to find plenty of places where I can buy things like bras and brands of makeup I recognize. Of course I now know I can also just go to the Body Shop off Taksim Square as I did the other night, but it’s good to have options.
We shop for a bit. I need a white tank because I accidentally left a load of whites at the Chinese laundry in Brooklyn, so I also need to replace my favorite white fluffy slippers. Alex and I both find lots we like in a department store called Debenham’s so we browse for awhile and spend a good part of the afternoon looking there and in some of the smaller stores.
Finally, exhausted, we walk back to the metro for the short ride back and head our separate ways. I stop for take-out on the way home and then feeling like I’ve been too lazy spend part of the night unpacking and arranging my things and doing laundry. It’s very nice to clear some space and have my luggage out of sight.