The Blue-Eyed Boy from Konya

This morning I had to book an airport transfer for my onward flight to Izmir. Sitting behind a desk wearing an overcoat and a sour, disinterested look on his face was a handsome, young gentleman with the most captivating blue eyes I’d ever seen.

“Hi, I need a transfer to the airport,” I said, in very slow English as this was pertinent information that I had to make sure he got correct.

“What time?” There appeared to be a period between these two words, the way he spoke. He appeared irritated, as if me being there was an inconvenience.

“What time should I leave if I have a flight at 12:00?”

“You can take the 10:50 transfer,” he said.

“I think I’d rather take the 9:45, just in case there is traffic,” I said, not caring if I had to wait around at the airport for a bit.

He picked up the phone and dialed. The conversation with the person on the other line was in Turkish so I had no idea what was being said. “Ok, your transfer is booked for 10:50.”

“I wanted to take the 9:45,” I said again very slowly, becoming a little annoyed myself.

With a bothered sigh, he made another phone call, and again, I had no idea what was being said. “Now it is at 8:45,” he said. I still was not 100% positive that it was.

“Are you having a bad day?” I asked innocently, wanting to charm him to ensure that my transfer was correct.

“No. I am sorry. You were speaking English so fast that I didn’t understand you at first.” Then he smiled.

Bullseye.

After breaking the ice, I found out Mr. Blue Eyed Boy was born in Konya and moved to Istanbul with his family when he was a baby. Konya is the spiritual capital of Turkey, home of the tomb of Jelaluddin Rumi, also known in Turkey as “Mevlana” or, the sainted-one. Rumi was a poet, mystic and the leader of Sufısm – a teacher whose religion was love. His followers became the whirling dervishes, who put themselves in a mystical trance by continuously whirling in a circle, in order to be close to the Divine.

This immediately piqued my interest as I have read some of Rumi’s teachings myself. He asked if I wanted some tea, and since I began to like this guy, I happily obliged. Over tea we bonded over spirituality, Rumi and life in general. Our conversation got pretty deep pretty quickly and his blue eyes kept drawing me in. “I would like to take you to see the whirling dervishes,” he said.

“Really? That would be amazing!” I had always wanted to see a sema, or the dervish whirling ceremony, and being taken to this beautiful event by this beautiful guy from where it all originated really flattered me. It seems I have developed a little bit of a crush!

I was telling him about my experience in Istanbul so far and how I was not really enjoying it as much as I had thought I would. “Go to the Grand Bazaar,” he said. “You will have fun there. It’s very nice.” Since I was planning on going there anyway, I told him that was exactly what I would do. He moved to clean up our glasses and said, “Ok. Go walk around for a bit and come back later. The show starts at 9pm.”

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As I entered the Grand Bazaar I got an instant head rush, and not in a good way. For an introverted person like me who isn’t into crowds, it was my worst nightmare. I knew this going in, but again, who goes to Istanbul and doesn’t go to the Grand Bazaar?!

So much was going on. People, lights, the scent of spices and teas, vendors yelling out to me as I passed their shops, bright colored goods on display. The enormity of it all was overwhelming for me.

Istanbul Grand Bazaar

Inside the Grand Bazaar, photo by stephlulu

One guy selling t-shirts even asked me out for a drink. I was just walking by when he gave me his business card and said “Come back at 9pm and we’ll go have a drink.” Um, yeah right. Like I could even find your shop again if I wanted to!

Yep, I got lost in the Grand Bazaar.

It was like being caught in a maze and not being able to get out. A bit of a panic attack scenario. But I finally found my way out and told myself that I will never go to another bazaar as such. Even if it is a “place to see”, it always ends up being a waste of my time because I don’t ever buy anything.

Once out in the fresh (but cold and rainy) air, I let out a long exhale. I was free at last! But walking around in the cold and rain is not something that I enjoy. I quickly became bored so I went back to my room and showered. I had a few hours until it was time for the show and decided to go back to see Mr. Blue Eyed Boy to find out if we were definitely going tonight. I hope so because I’m really looking forward to it!

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