In all the glorious tumult and madness that lead up to my London/Istanbul escapade I entirely ran out of time to say farewell.
Having completed my first long-haul flight from Cape Town to London and haviıng spent four fast-paced, shoppiıng-fılled days there, I now find myself in the heart of Istanbul, an entirely different (or foreign) affair.
So far it has been a journey of many firsts: first long flight, first grappliıng with the London underground, first Starbucks/Tesco/H&M/Zara/Topshop, first Oyster card, first Turkish language crash course, ferry trip, and certainly the first time I have been called a ‘tired angel’ by a fetching young Turk and approached like a real live tourist. ‘Teşekkürler,’ thank you, I say, and then move swiftly along, but not without some brief appreciation of the fine and distinguished profile possessed by so many of the men here.
Tomorrow we are going to the so-called Tuesday market or bazaar, in search of more hidden gems – jewellery, spices, scarves – and then on to Beyöglu, the hip cultural quarter in old Istanbul that is home to many up and coming designers as well as high street favourites like Mango and H&M. I will post pictures of my finds when I get a chance. It also seems that I may have the opportunity to interview quite a big local designer, so updates on that soon.
London was a shopping eye-opener for me. Spending the day at the Oxford Circus Topshop on a hangover was indeed a humbliıng experience. When I entered the gleaming doorways and was confronted by the four floors of undulating colour and texture I actually felt a little sick. And it wasn’t the prevıous night’s gin. It was sheer intimidation – how would I take it all in and actually make some decisions? Especially with an insatiable craving for orange juice and feet that already ached from the previous day’s wander round Spitalfields? Somehow, I emerged victorious. The highlight was definitely the Celine knock-off clogs I shimmied away with – super high, extra clunky, genuinely dangerous. A trip to Brick Lane later that night confirmed this, as I nearly snapped my right ankle a couple of times, although always with a smile on my face. ‘Worth it,’ I mused.
Pictures up soon, but in the meantime, a few little snapshots of things encountered along the way – Katy and I posiıng like Mods, achingly beautiful and ancient pumps at Spitalfields, Selfridge’s seductions, and a tiny sprinkle of Ottoman spice.