Thursday, January 14, 2010

ottoman western

Dinner at a Turkish restaurant.
Tilly and I decided that Thursday was the night to watch Yahşi Batı, the Turkish cowboy comedy I've been dying to see. We decided to catch a quick bite before the movie, at one of the many Turkish restaurants around Istiklal— I won't tell you which one, because I don't want to upset anyone that might work there or frequent the place. I'll just tell you it's a small place behind Istiklal, and it's painted green.

I was excited about dinner when it was gently placed on the table— black-eyed peas in olive oil, dolmas stuffed with barley, spinach gözleme, and savoury leeks. My first bite of the peas was met with a delicious curry-like flavour and a loud and disturbing crunch. I immediately (and as discreetly and lady-like as possible) spat out my mouth's contents into a napkin to discover a small stone was lying amongst the peas, masquerading as something edible— and now my tooth hurt.

The rest of dinner was stone-free and tasty, but I was soon disturbed again. What should have been between 16 and 20 lira, was a shocking 31 lira! I had a suspicion upon entering the establishment that we might get treated like tourists, as we were speaking English and there weren't any prices listed anywhere, but I chose to have faith in the waiter and the guy behind the counter because, well, I like to think the best of people.

We handed over our cash with a couple of questions and frowns. The guys just smiled. It happens. Sometimes you just get taken advantage of, and there's nothing you can do about it.

As we weaved down a crowded Istiklal, we marvelled at how many cinemas there were to choose from. We finally settled on Rüya Sineması, which had yellow paper signs advertising "Halk Günü 8TL". Lucky for us, Thursdays were "public days" for this little theatre, when ticket prices plunge to a mere eight lira. We bought our tickets from a very nice lady, and headed through the dark musty passage to the theatre. Tilly bought a coffee at the snack stand as I ran upstairs to use the tuvalet.

On occasion, it is not unusual to be asked by an old man or woman sitting at a table in front of the toilets, for anywhere from a few kuruş to one lira to use the toilet. This usually happens in the metro and bus stations, but you can come across it in some restaurants and as I now know, some cinemas too. It always helps to have some coins on hand.

Everything in the theatre was a different shade of brown, and there was something very 1970s about it— which I loved. Apart from us, there was only one other person there, which was very exciting to me, as I get some funny thrill out of being in an empty theatre. It feels like I can do whatever I want with no one there, but I never actually do anything except watch the movie. I guess I just like knowing that I can act like a maniac if I choose to.

Still shot of Turkish comedy Yahsi Bati.Still shot of Turkish comedy Yahsi Bati.
As I expected, lots of jokes and dialogue flew over my head, but the movie was hilarious! Loads of cultural jokes, slapsticky antics and quite a bit of hiding objects in a particular orifice humour— which was not expected. I really enjoyed it, but I definitely want to find a DVD with subtitles so I can figure out why a few things happened. I still don't get the whole sheriff/priest thing or how our heroes ended up in the Native American camp...


Istanbul Diary said...

...or Kebap Western.

szaza said...

HAHAHA! Oh yes— Kebap Western!
I love it.