In light of our recent move, and many requests for pictures of Turkey, I'm going to take you on a short tour of our neighborhood. Are you ready?
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See the park? And the little blue box to the right of it? The little blue box is this:
The Göztepe train station.
If you're standing where I was when taking this photo, turn around, with your back toward the train station, and you'll see this:
The train tracks, heading over to Erenköy.
While looking at the train tracks, glance to your left to see:
The golden arches of McDonald's. We haven't been here yet, but maybe when the weather gets nicer we'll take Lane to play on the play place.
We like the train. It's a much faster way to get to most of the places that we need to go. It's only three or four stops, a 10-15 minute ride, to the two stops we most often need to go. But often the train is running late, since Göztepe is the 20th (or so) stop on the line going in that direction. And sometimes we just miss the train and it's raining, so we opt for the other way we can get to Kadiköy:
Walk down this road (between the train station and the McDonald's),
Pass the natural foods store and the Chicco store and keep going until you come to...
Minibuses! This road is appropriately nicknamed "Minibusyolu" (Minibus Road). It's real name is Fahrettin Kerim Gökay Caddesi (and I have no idea what it means). How many minibuses can you find in this photo?
So we take a minibus a fair amount of the time. The ride usually takes between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on traffic. In the mornings traffic is sparse, so we're likely to take a minibus anywhere we need to go. On Saturday nights we avoid minibuses like the plague.
We're about a 10-15 minute walk away from Minibusyolu, or an 8-12 minute walk from the train station (depending on if we're walking alone or carrying a 20-pound toddler named Lane).
Our apartment building.
We like this apartment complex. Considering that the nearest park is a good 20-minute walk away, it's nice to have a few trees and some grass that Lane can run around on.
The road which our apartment building is on. Follow it up to the road that runs between the train station and the McDonald's and over to Minibusyolu.
Our neighborhood also has a few cool buildings.
This pink building has a "matching" blue building at the other end of the block. The pink building is a bank. The blue building is a dental office.
And the token mosque.
One of two mosques within a 10-minute walk from our apartment building.
And there are a lot of "bakkals," or little grocery stores, in our neighborhood.
The little store that's across from our apartment building.
The men who work here always give Lane treats (usually a mandarin but sometimes bubbles or other fruit). We buy milk and bananas here almost every day and most of our other fruit and vegetables as well. They seem to be a bit more expensive than other stores, but since it's so close it's really nice to not worry about my produce getting bruised or about hauling it very far. I can go each day and buy what I need for dinner, and I can bring Lane on the 10 to 15-minute excursion.
Migros, near the train station. I shop here mostly for more "specialty" things that I can't find at the smaller stores, like celery and couscous.
For most of my other shopping I go out once a month to stock up on things. I bring my granny cart and stock up on heavy stuff: canned goods, milk, pasta, flour, sugar, and so on. Then throughout the month I only have to buy a little of the heavy stuff, and meat, produce, and fresh milk for Lane on a semi-daily basis.
BIM. The discount store.
I buy cereal and cheese at Bim (pronounced "beam"), and sometimes I buy tortillas and crackers. They don't have a large selection, but there are certain things that I know we like that are much cheaper there.
And then we have a couple of other grocery stores around as well, one called Şok and one called Dia. We buy chicken and milk at Dia and canned tomatoes and butter at Şok. It's funny how certain things become the standard for where you'll buy certain products. We only buy milk at Dia because of two reasons. 1) It's a decent price, and 2) For that decent price you still get a pour spout on your box of milk that doesn't break every time you open the milk.
So there's your tour of a typical Istanbul neighborhood! Did I leave anything out?
Oh yes, I almost forgot: what tour of any Turkish neighborhood would be complete without a photo of local goods for sale?
Pumpkin, artichokes, and olives, all for sale out of a man's truck. This would so be illegal in America.
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