Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wet winter weekend

The rain, it raineth every day
Upon the just and unjust fella;
But mostly on the just, because
The unjust has the just's umbrella.

Beloved Wife and Goat headed off to Istanbul for the UAE National Day long weekend. Despite dire warnings from the Authorities that over-decorating cars and engaging in impromptu parades would be regarded with a very dim view, it was generally considered over at the Crumbling Villa that simply avoiding the mayhem was a more acceptable option.

The Goat hopes that everyone enjoyed the UAE's 41st birthday celebrations.

The wonderful thing that is the internet revealed that going away for the weekend was also an excellent choice for anyone who didn't fancy experiencing torrential downpours and the flooding that followed. Facebook was briefly full of photo stories of blocked drains, flooded houses, surfing in the streets. Yes, really: there was a video of a Toyota Land Cruiser driving down the road with someone water-skiing on a surfboard behind. The Crumbling Villa remains mercifully waterproof, except for one small area in the bathroom that the landlord has failed to fix for over two years and counting.

Not that escaping to Istanbul involved an escape from wet weather. It always rains in Istanbul when the Goat visits. At least because wet weather is more common in Turkey, the infrastructure is better able to cope with a deluge than the UAE where rain is regular but very rare.

The Goat took his waterproof motorbike jacket and a flat cap, and spendthrift Beloved Wife lashed out around Dh5 on an umbrella. Most of the walking was timed to miss the showers, and when it rained, there were indoor things to do.

It does seem bizarre to think that one sunny morning, for the rain wasn't constant, Goat and Beloved Wife hid in the Cistern, an underground water tank with no sunlight and constant drips from the vaulted roof. The "No Big Cameras or Tripods Without Paying an Additional Fee" was not enforced, and the Goat's gorilla pod was great for wrapping around handrails during long-exposure shots.

Over at Hagia Sofiya, once a church, then a mosque, now a museum, tripods were absolutely forbidden, and had to be surrendered to Security. This is when a very steady hand, VR (vibration reduction) lenses, and ISO Auto comes in very useful. It's the first time the Goat has been in Hagia Sofiya and it's not been full of scaffolding.
The nave of Hagia Sofiya: Part church, part mosque, part museum
Beloved Wife wanted to see the mosaics at Chora museum, which turned out to be a long taxi ride away. As usual, mosaic details were stunning. Curiously, the taxi ride back was a lot shorter. Other public transport, the trams, were cheap and easy to use, and obviously very crowded because of the wet weather.

Madonna and Child, Chora Museum

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar were both open, and extremely crowded owing to the wet weather. Beloved Wife engaged in Christmas shopping, and also compared rug prices with what had been quoted elsewhere. One of her colleagues has worked as a rugmonger in Istanbul, and that was the shop that offered the best value by an order of magnitude. Guess what the Crumbling Villa household got for Christmas.

Meershaum pipes in the Egyptian Bazaar
Lights for sale in the Grand Bazaar
Carpet detail
Apart from spices, rugs, genuine fake designer handbags, and coloured lamps, Istanbul is famous for meerschaum pipes. But the Goat could't find one anywhere where the face on the front had a beard and horns. Plenty of stunning dragons, grizzled old men, buffalo and horses, and even a unicorn for the pipe smoker who's very secure in his sexuality. But no goats, at least, not in Istanbul.
Neither hide nor hair in Istanbul


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

stunning photos and great commentary. thank you. tmil


The opinions expressed in this weblog are the works of the Grumpy Goat, and are not necessarily the opinions shared by any person or organisation who may be referenced. Come to that, the opinions may not even be those of the Grumpy Goat, who could just be playing Devil's Advocate. Some posts may be of parody or satyrical [sic] nature. Nothing herein should be taken too seriously. The Grumpy Goat would prefer that offensive language or opinions not be posted in the comments. Offensive comments may be subject to deletion at the Grumpy Goat's sole discretion. The Grumpy Goat is not responsible for the content of other blogs or websites that are linked from this weblog. No goats were harmed in the making of this blog. Any resemblance to individuals or organisations mentioned herein and those that actually exist may or may not be intentional. May contain nuts.