Headed to Turkey with three things on my mind…STMT goods, burnt puddin’, and Turkish Çay. My second trip to Istanbul and super excited to spend Turkey day in Turkey, huntin’ down the goods and droolin’ over a soon-to-be-Thanksgiving dinner. Had no clue what it would be but all I knew? Dessert be burnt pu-u-u-ddin’.
Rode the light rail into town and got lost searching for the hotel, but good thing I did cause I found myself in “Stationary Row.” Feeling a bit cracked out, sleep deprived after a 24+ hour travel day and cravin’ the familiar smell of paper and pencils, resisted the urge to storm through the door of one of the shops!
Checked in and after a minor stop at the corner market, I rushed back to Stationary Row. Placed bets on which shop would be the jackpot and walked into the first spot. Awesome selection of pencils but they were all Faber-Castells made in Turkey. Found an option for the Paper Goods, but I wanted the instant rush, the BOOM! that we feel when we know we’ve scored the winning item. Walked out and walked into the next shop and Whoomp! There it is… spotted the Paper Goods!
Notepads with a 1950’s, muscle car vibe. Love the bold racer stripe running down the front and the oval logo. But what I really love? The binding. Adhesive that’s not hidden by cheap tape, allowing the stack of pages to lie flat on the back cover. Front cover has a squared off, scored spine that perfectly hugs the edge when folded closed.
Spotted the shopkeeper and asked about prices and quantity. Friendly at first but then homie started to get visibly anxious. Another customer walked up to ask a question and homie replied that he had to leave to pray in 10 minutes. Men were rushing by the shop, hollering through the door at the shopkeeper…can only imagine that they were yelling to hurry, to hurry and join them. Told him that I could wait and that I’d return after prayer was finished.
Homie left the shop, and watching him walk into the stream of men was like watching a mass exodus. I walked outside and watched men rushing up the hill. Some entered the mosque while others knelt on the sidewalks, unrolled their carpet and began praying. Walking around, watching men pray, listening to the prayers over the speakers…totally surreal. I walked into another culture but this time, I wasn’t able to get lost in it, I could only step aside and watch. I forgot about sourcing goods and found myself wandering aimlessly. An hour later when prayer was finished, the prayers no longer broadcasted, I discovered that I had actually wandered far from Stationary Row.
Wandered back to the shop and picked up where we had left off. Homie asked why I wanted the old stock, stock that didn’t look “fancy.” He offered me a different selection – glossy covers with motorcycle-ridin’ teddy bears or dogs and cats doing math…um, no thank you. Secured the notepads and started browsing their inventory of Writing Instruments when suddenly he pointed to me then pointed behind the counter. Took it as a sign that I had been granted backstage access and yup, sure did.
Walked behind the counter and walked the entire length of the shop, pulling out boxes of pencils and pens. Then I spotted the Writing Instruments. Pens with a goldenrod body and white pinstripes, the stamped logo and “ofispen” that reads like a typo. Chunky waffle-pattern caps?! Love the lo-fi details of the pens. And love how they look with the notepads!
Walked into the next shop and finally found pencils from a Turkish company. The ironic thing? Half their options were made in China. Yup, China, despite Turkey having a booming pencil industry. Spotted the “Natural” pencils stamped with “Made in Turkey”. Was I feelin’ nostalgic…remembering our amazing trip to Latvia and how all the goods had the vibe of goods from another era, or was I feelin’ like we be celebratin’ BIG ‘cause the STMT X Turkey Kit kicks off our second World Tour. BOOM! Everybody be gettin’ extra love this month – double hit of Writing Goods!
The next day we returned to the first store, where we scored the notepads and pens. Homie smiled when he saw us walk in and barked something at an employee who barked at another employee who went running out of the shop. He returned minutes later with çay for us! Homie told me to stop and rest, to drink the çay before it gets cold.
Drinking çay and taking everything in, I spotted something I missed during our first visit. Pocket rulers! This ain’t no cheap, flimsy plastic shit – I’m talkin’ beveled edges and thick like a prism. These be perfect for making rainbows! I’m on a mission to bring back the fanny pack and pocket protector. This ruler? Perfect addition for my fanny pack! Thanks, Turkey, we be rockin’ the mad style and kickin’ off this cycle BIG!