Istanbul apartment: a tour!

I’ve started to upload my photos of Istanbul including some pix of our temporary apartment in Osmanbey/Nişantaşı, so I thought I’d give a little tour.

Our street is lined with wholesale fabric shops, making me think of Tim Gunn saying, “Teşekkür ederim, Mood!” every time I walk by. Each afternoon, the fabric salesmen stand outside smoking and drinking tea intensely, and staring at me as I walk home like I’m the Queen of England.

Apartment view

Inside, there’s a fancy video intercom and many, many cabinets for my few, few things. This past weekend, a cleaner (standard in a corporate apartment, but the first time in my adult life that I’ve had one, ironic as I desperately needed cleaning help in Brooklyn) came in for the first time and literally put every shoe, book, salt shaker, and piece of paper into a cabinet, prompting a memory game treasure hunt each time I’m looking for something.

The bathroom is unremarkable, no bathtub (you always miss them when you don’t have one) but a neat space age-ish shower and heated floors (this is a remarkable feat of engineering, all bathrooms should be so lucky):

The bedroom is small with still more cabinets in lieu of a real closet and top-to-bottom IKEA but the major downside is the lack of a full wall between the bedroom and living room, giving guests a nice earful of snoring.

Moving onto the kitchen, home to (wait for it…) more cabinets and bewildering Turkish appliances.

Today I discovered a stash of instruction manuals (all in Turkish), among them, this fascinating notice about what sounds it is okay for my refrigerator to make:

What's not ok? Wine bottles banging together, apparently.

Finally, the living room and nerve center of the apartment.

Take note of your future digs, visitors.

My desk, where the magic happens.

I sit here by the hour armed with a Turkish-English dictionary, a 600-page detailed map, and my finally-stable internet connection looking in search of visa information, sushi recommendations, Turkish label and instruction translations, and where the hell to buy an alarm clock (more on this to come, the current bane of my existence). The TV has over 800 channels, but very few in English, but there are multiple “Sexy, Sexy Ladies” channels, in Arabic, Turkish, or Italian. We managed to watch the LOST finale (SO frustrating) via a VPN and working our way through Breaking Bad season 3 (SO good) on iTunes.

You may have noticed a washing machine on the way in? I just about fell on that weeping when I saw it, I was so grateful. See, it turns out that self-service laundromats are not a thing here, most Turks have laundry in their apartment and dry cleaners are fairly prevalent. After 2 weeks here, H desperately needed laundry done, so after discussing it with one of the airport hotel managers, I ended up taking a cab to a mall and paying a fraction less than the hotel to have a couple of shirts and socks done. I had expected it to be a pay-by-the-pound sort of deal, but they sorted through my laundry bag piece by piece as I stood mortified and elected not to have my underwear hang in a Turkish dry cleaner’s shop in a mall. At any rate, laundry still had to be done and was ultimately the catalyst for our temporary move into this apartment. So I get here after my weekend in Milan and before I wash all our clothes in delight, I discover I have NO IDEA how to use the machines. With some help from my phrasebook, I made this schematic in an attempt to translate (still not completed):

Squeeze and pump = spin cycle?

If anyone Turkish wants to help me out, here is the dryer:

I have figured out enough of the settings to manage not to ruin anything so far, but have found that the “energy-efficient” European machines take AGES to work. One small load take at least 4 hours to wash and dry. I’m sure I’ll buy a drying rack for the next apartment rather than use ineffectual dryer, but I’m still surprised at the time investment. Still, not complaining, it rules having laundry in your apartment!

That’s all for today, it’s after 5pm on a Friday and soon the call to prayer will be calling me for cocktails.

6 responses to “Istanbul apartment: a tour!

  1. Are the fabric guys trying to sell SUPER COOL and cheap fabric?

    Your apartment looks super nice. Consider me jealous of all your cabinets. We had to turn our coat closet into a pantry at our house.

  2. Camels & Chocolate

    When I lived in Denmark and Holland, I found deciphering the washer and dryer the hardest part!

  3. Can’t be any help on the Turkish translation, but try doing smaller loads – usually speeds up the drying time on my similar dryer. Doesn’t do much for how long it takes to get it all done, but at least it saves me the ‘time to move this load to the dryer…what?!? previous dryer load still not effing done?!?’ experience.

    Apartment looks great – are you planning on staying there your whole time in Istanbul?

  4. Your washing machine notes are hilarious. One of those things you just don’t think about until you’re faced with it. I suppose you’ll pick up Turkish fast just out of a necessity so thats a plus.

    I’m with Leila about the small loads. We have one of those joint washer dryer deals at the shore and you have to really limit what you put in there for it to work. And even then it comes out a tiny bit damp.

    Love your updates – keep them coming.

  5. Miss Expatria

    YOU HAVE A DRYER??? Ugh, so jealous.

  6. Wow the apartment looks great! so nice! best of luck with the new HQs 🙂

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