6.11.2006

Saddam's Tailor

Shortly after talking to the Turkish children in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul we all went to the few sights around the area and grabbed some Kofte, or Turkish meatball, with a girl we had met a few hours ago prior along with the children.
Now I had been looking into getting some suits for the impending job and decided Istanbul would be the place to get it done. Being a religious BBC reader, I remembered an interesting bit about Saddam Hussein's tailor was based in Istanbul and tried to seek him out. Now Istanbul is a city of 10-20 million people and all I had was the district this guys shop was in: Laleli.
So, back to my Cairo days I wandered around aimlessly with a sheet of paper in hand with the word Cesur, the tailor, on it soon finding out that my Turkish was shoddy at best and it was actually pronounced, Jesoor.
After inquiring to several blank stairs, ambiguous finger pointing, and some reputable tips I findly made my way down the street and found Saddam's tailor, Recep Cesur. As I walked down the stairs into the small shop I knew I was in for an experience. About three men and a maid/attendant were sitting around table sipping coffee. One looked characteristically Turkish, one Pakistani, and the last Arab. The youngest was speaking a dialect of Arabic and had massive scarring on his face, I couldn't help but thinking he was from Iraq.
As the small talk continued Saddam's tailor came out, put down his prayer rug and put on a cap, and began to pray. Now I was definitely used to people praying around me after Egypt but I still felt invasive at best.
As I described what I was looking for I was immediately asked where I was from; they assumed England because I said I had read about them on the BBC. "America," I said, and it looked like their jaws hit the floor.
I was a little uneasy but kept my cool, looked through some fabrics and was measured. "Where do you work," they asked. "I will work at HSBC in a few months." The middle-aged guy translated to the head tailor, Recep, and they both smiled. I guess business was good.
The Saddam's tailor experience was a trip. When I head back to Istanbul I will go back, get fitted, and take a trip to their factory. I'm hoping its just business as usual.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Aaron said...

too good for the throwbacks at marshalls eh?

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Blogger Michael said...

I will be there shortly this month, can you please provide more detail on how to find Jesoor?

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