Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.

Turkish Horse

Posted by Andy Hockley on 10 July, 2008

A week or so ago, I was talked into going to the Turkish Horse shop with/by the wife. The Turkish Horse shop is the place where you can go and rummage through bins full of clothes to maybe find something you might consider wearing on an especially dark day in a particularly deserted part of Spitzbergen in December. These clothes (it is said) come from England, and apparently this gives them a special cachet or je ne sais quois (it is perhaps indicative of something that the only two words/phrases I could think of to use there were French and not English at all. It certainly ought to indicate that England would not be the place one would commonly go to to find stylish clothes). I may have mentioned this place before, and its intriguing business model, based I suspect on flogging off clothes donated to charity by unsuspecting people in the UK.

[I should perhaps at this juncture mention that the shop is not actually called a Turkish Horse shop, this is just me being “amusingly” daddish and perverting the Hungarian word turkáló, which is what these shops are actually called. (I think it means “rummage” or something really)]

Anyway, we went on a Monday morning and the place was packed, as that is the day of the new and exciting stock. It was a very strange experience. Mostly because people obviously take it so seriously (I’ve heard people when asked what their hobbies are, answer “Turkálózni” – or “Turkish Horseplay” as I would like to translate it). This seriousness is manifested by the fact that this is a shop, packed full of people, the vast majority of whom are women, and there is no talking. At all. Not a murmur, not a little side chat, not a pair of friends talking about the weekend. Nothing. It’s really really disturbing. The pair of us were quite out of place actually discussing things and chatting and laughing and we got some fairly hostile glances thrown our way.

Anyway, we managed to actually get a few nice things for the family, plus I got to experience a side of local culture which I hadn’t previously experienced, so it was all good, really. Can’t see it becoming my hobby, though.

3 Responses to “Turkish Horse”

  1. cilike said

    Dahrling, I laughed so hard!
    Did you know, you committed an hilarious bilingual joke? Did you do it on purpose?

    “Turkál” has nothing to do with Turkey, or horses; it means to rummage, to browse, to search. To poke your hands into a pile of stuff.
    Turkáló is the place to do your rummaging, browsing.
    Turkálózni is to rummage for an extended period of time.
    By the way, you can “turkál” your nose (pick it, that is) and you can “turkál másnak a dolgában” (poke your nose into other people’s business)

    Cecilia from California
    Granddaughter of Kolozsvar-born grandmother

  2. Andy Hockley said

    Yes, I did know what it meant, Cecilia (and that the “ló” on the end of “turkáló” has nothing to do with horses, and the “turk” at the beginning has nothing to do with Turkey). I didn’t know the nose expressions, though so thanks for that.

  3. cilike said

    By the way, Andy, have you ever visited Csiksomlyo? There is an old chapel on top of the mountain, and there might still be a real life hermit who sleeps in a coffin. We met him on our visit some years ago.

    In Csikszereda there is a very modest boarding school for Csángó children, supported by donations from Hungarians. These children come from isolated Csángó villages where an ancient form of Hungarian is spoken. (Sort of like Elizabethan English still spoken in the Appalachian Mountains a few decades ago.) These kids are brought to Csikszereda by a retired Székely teacher who organized this project, to school these children in Hungarian, to help preserve their language and culture, and to provide them a means for higher education.

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