OK, no dancing is involved, but I like the title and rugs figure prominently in this post. We just finished a multi-day rain spell, with rain as mist at times but more recently as a downpour. Add to that the fact that groundskeepers just trimmed the nearby junipers which released a wonderful fragrance and I started thinking these have been just like days in Western Washington. A walk downhill yesterday for coffee started my morning and I was pleasantly surprised to see a friend who was out earlier than I in search of caffeine. The walk back uphill was followed immediately by Turkish lessons then a trip to Ulus, the old, historic shopping area in town.
I was on a mission–to purchase a large rug for my living room and possibly a smaller rug for my bedroom. The target–Torun Ticaret, a small shop run by a most delightful man, Sefa Torun, and his father. It was my second time to the shop and still I was overwhelmed by the types and quantities of rugs. And don’t they all look lovely in the shop? I somehow narrowed my choices for the living room down to three: one from Turkey of cream, olive green, and muted red which would fit well with the color scheme of my university-issued furniture, and two from Iran which were thicker and of higher quality, both with cream, maroon, and blue coloring.
Lunch was in order to ponder my choices and kofte was what my friend and I wanted. Do you think there was enough food?
While seated outdoors at the cafe, we spotted several teachers from our school and pointed them in the direction of the rug shop. When we returned to see about my carpets, it became a mess of seven Americans, Canadians, and South Africans sipping tea and oohing and aahing over the wool and silk carpets and the kilims. I decided on the small carpet and was contemplating the three larger rugs when the store owner offered to drive us home along with the four carpets. He explained that as the lighting and wall colors would be different in the lojman as compared to in the store, I should take time to lay out the rugs in my own living space. He would then pick up the unwanted items today. What a deal, and he wouldn’t even take payment for the small rug which I definitely would keep. So in my living room last night sat four rugs with a retail value of $4800, just waiting for me to choose one or another. No money exchanged hands and the rug merchant had only my business card with which to find me tomorrow. Such a trusting guy. Would this happen in the States?
The rug from Turkey was quickly nixed so I was down to two choices. I messaged friends on campus to stop in for a look and to give an opinion on which they liked best. As it happened, my neighbor Michello was having a group of folks over to watch a rugby match so I hollered at them to come take a peek at my possible purchases. I thought I had made my choice but a short time ago changed my mind when I realized the design and colors of the rug that would be returning to the shop are very much like a rug I purchased in Ankara 27 years ago and still own. Here are the rugs that were the final contenders to adorn my living room:
The winner …
the rug on the left. The closeup shows detail of the inner-most border at the center of the rug. Notice the bright white design that looks somewhat like bird wings, or horns on a steer, or ____________ (you insert the design your brain comes up with).
The white stitching is not wool, as most of the carpet is made with, but silk. That stitching really pops when viewing the carpet from different angles and in different types and intensities of light. As I type, my curtains are open and the 4pm skies are overcast; the rug’s major area looks rust-colored. Yesterday when the rug was laid out in my living room for the first time, it was a couple hours earlier with bright sunny skies and the hue was most certainly maroon.
Today Sefa carried away the two rugs that did not make it onto my top-two list and along with them, 48 percent of the Turkish lira (TL) that he is owed. Because my Turkish bank has a daily withdrawal limit of 3500 TL which is less than half the amount I needed and the fact that I prefer to pay cash to small vendors, I will withdraw more TL tomorrow and head back to Ulus to complete the transaction. Sefa offered to drive to campus either tomorrow or Tuesday to pick up the rest of the payment if that was convenient for me but the way I look at it, this makes for a good excuse for yet another adventure in Ulus. No more shopping is planned but plans have a way of getting changed once I walk into that wonderful old part of the city. Stay tuned.