Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | October 12, 2010

molly’s cafe: temporary neighbours

i was thinking about this topic today because some very nice temporary neighbours  left just yesterday.  these days there are a lot of tourist flats in galata and a friend of mine also rents hers out sometimes, as she has another place on the asian side. these last people were staying in that one.  they often came for a meal and were in and out getting books to read, exchanging as they went.  they met john ash here (he comes every day) and when i told them he was a poet, they spent one evening meal both reading his books.  they were very impressed with his poetry and after i told them about his book a byzantine journey, they went out and bought it.  they were a nice retired couple from san francisco and it was interesting to talk to them.

a few weeks  ago there was a family staying in one of the apartments across the street.  they were american, but now live in dubai.  they had two daughters, about 10 and 3.  the girls loved coming here because of the kitties and the parents were happy that the girls had found a comfortable place.  it was also a place for the mom or dad to escape to when the kids were sleeping or were too much.

and look, a nice comment from someone who stayed in those flats: Great to meet Molly next door for a little North American welcome. Aynur very helpful, airport transfer was efficient and reliable. A great alternative to a hotel.
Peter & Sarah (U.S.)

so i will add the link here:


this summer there was a huge saudi family staying upstairs from the cafe.  they actually did not spend one penny in here, but the kids often came to play with the kitties, though one little boy made a big deal of being afraid of them.  one of the fathers spoke pretty good english and often came with questions.  on the weekend a van spilled out even more of the family and their filipina slave.  i call her that because they dumped all this luggage and gave her absolutely no help in carrying it up the stairs.  turkish people would never allow someone to do all the work herself!  i was kind of  disgusted by it, actually.  other than that, they seemed like nice people and it was interesting to  talk to the women.  one was doing a masters degree and was going to be an arabic teacher– to women only of course.  they were fairly difficult customers for the man running the rooms and he was glad to see them go.

there have been people who stayed upstairs for one or two or three months.  they came for a variety of reasons.  one came for dental work in trade for english lessons.  one was part turkish and was reconnecting with family.  another couple had lived here and used their time as a respite while they visited friends.  many other people have come and gone and not made much of an impression on me or the cafe.

i have been very pleased with the customers from across the street, as the flats are close and this is the kind of a place that is comforting for people who are a little overwhelmed by getting around this big city.  i remind them that they are sort of localized, as although the city is huge, they are most likely to just be in the old city and around beyoglu. they might get to ortakoy or perhaps to the asian side, but the main tourist sites are not far from here.

there was one french couple who were staying in sultanahmet but came here almost every day for the week that they were here.  it turned out they were jewish, so we had some interesting conversations about israel and being jewish in istanbul.

another german customer has come here every time he has been in town and now has rented a room upstairs for his stays.

i really like it that molly’s cafe is becoming a focal point for many people.  i am glad to provide a comfortable place for people who are passing through as well as the ones who live here.


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