The Village of Ortahisar, continued

previous: Village Main Street
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Crazy Ali

Wonderful Crazy Ali's store sits in a little square at the end of the main street of the old village. Behind him is the towering rock formation -- the "castle" or "hisar" of Ortahisar -- that is about the only thing the travel guides bother to mention when they mention this village at all.

They should write about Ali's store and Ali himself -- not really a merchant but a poet who stands at this counter where you see him, writing poems of remarkable beauty. If he believes you have a soul, he'll sit down with you at a table, order tea, and read one to you. (I don't know if he's going to thank me for telling you about it. Please wait to be invited.) Ali's voice is so beautiful, and his smile so full of good humor that he could make a laundry list sound warm and touching, but I'm here to tell you he's written poems of the finest quality.

The things he sells are beautiful too, but he never makes the slightest effort to sell them. In fact, when I occasionally buy something, I feel I've interrupted what we're doing. He's completely honest and ethical, and his prices are very good, so if you're there, trust the first price. He doesn't negotiate.

next: Independence Day...