Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Cats Have it Good Here

We love cat friendly cities and there are more cats here than anywhere we have ever been. It may have something to do with being on the water and those cats are everywhere…on the roofs, under the table, though we haven’t seen any praying in the mosques. This was a day for mosques. We were determined to get to each one, the Blue Mosque and the Suleymaniye while they were open(they are closed for prayer). This is the first time we’ve been in a Moslem country. The Adhan or call to prayer is broadcast 5 times a day from the speakers on the minaret. We are staying in an area with many mosques. The American family from DC we hung out with on occasion on the “roof” informed us that it is not an echo we hear but that different mosques are not synchronized and therefore we hear it all going off at once. The sound is really quite moving.

Take off your shoes, put them in plastic bags, and borrow one of the shawls hanging outside if your head and shoulders are not covered. The Blue Mosque is breathtaking. The tiles and colors are incredible. The women have a separate section to pray behind a screen in the back. A woman making silk carpets on the street invited me for a quick lesson on how to double knot the thread and cut. What skill and workmanship goes into making these rugs.

We headed to the fish market on foot where we saw some kids playing soccer. You know Raf, we had to stop and watch, they were so cute. The cats were out in full force, when we got to the fish market, they were waiting for the boats to come in with the catch of the day and some kids were swimming in their underpants, posing for our camera. After a look around and no business in the restaurants except busses of Japanese tourists, we headed to the Suleymaniye Mosque for a bite on the property (the original kitchens of the mosque in a beautiful courtyard) for another delicious meal. This is the largest mosque here and we practically had it to ourselves. Not too many tourists so we could really enjoy it in quiet.

No dinner but we found a cool bar and hung out for a night cap. Went to sleep to the sound of cats in heat.