Some thirty years ago while visiting my favourite city, Istanbul, I did some shopping at the Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı). I
decided to bring back these two plates that originate from the kiln city of Kütahya. The quality of ceramic vessels varies
enormously in Turkey, from the cheap touristy things to the amazingly beautiful masterly crafts (not to mention museum
wares going back more than 1000 years). But the thing is, most of these objects, weather from a road-side stall or from a
high-street boutique, seem to be unique: no two are alike, at least if they're handmade, as they tend to be.
At the time I was traveling with a minsiscule budget, so these particular plates wouldn't have costed a lot, but I would have
spent a lot of time choosing them. If I can't remember the final price I got them for, but I do remember that when I got home,
unwrapping the plates, I got interested in the newspaper pages they were wrapped in. I taped one on the wall of my
apartment foyer, and went on to try translating some of the articles, without knowing any Turkish. I ended up not only
managing to decipher one story, but I also memorised the Turkish text of the story, and consequently tried to learn to
pronounce the words as well. Next time I was in Turkey later on, I was in much better position to get started with the basics
of the language.
And by the way, the article was about a 19-year old boy marrying a 86-year old woman.