Tuesday, October 25, 2011
We went to meet k's friend, who suggested we meet at Starbucks. Granted it is an especially beautiful and well placed starbucks, right on the water. Turkish people love Starbucks--it's very upscale and fashionable here, that and some other American place called Gloria jeans. We met some fabulous Korean flight attendants who took many photos of themselves posing with Mina-hilarious. Mina is a big hit.
After a delicious lunch of grilled hemsi we headed back to pick up the package sent from k's parents in the village. First we went to the package pickup place where I was amazed at the things people were shipping; shopping bags taped together, mysterious bundles. Then we went home to meet the delivery--it was a plastic basket stacked with pomegranates with a piece of blanket tied on top(!), 2 metal cans full of liquid fruit syrup and a sack of other stuff including 10-15lbs of dried figs. I couldn't believe you could ship things like this. K says it's normal.
Before dinner I whipped together a cheesecake using a recipe off the Internet and some creative ingredient sourcing. Hopefully its delicious, our host was interested in cheesecake--is this another thing Turkish people love? It's one of the only things k requests that I make him.
Mina was playful and stayed up past her mothers bedtime until 10pm so no blog posts were written until this morning.
Posted by b at 6:58 AM
Sunday, October 23, 2011
We also barely made our plane as the airline mysteriously changed the takeoff time from 11am to 10:20. Aside from that, Turkish Airlines is great--lots of space between seats, delicious snacks and drinks even if the flight is only an hour and very friendly flight attendants. We are so used to mediocrity we don't even know what we are missing.
Another interesting data point about Turkey--in the us when you get on a plane with a baby, people generally look annoyed or look away, hoping you won't sit near them. We got on the plane late and everyone looked ecstatic to see Mina, people were cooing and making funny faces and engaging her all around us. The flight attendants grabbed her and walked up and down the aisle, chatting and playing with her. Turkish people love the babies. Of course she was almost attacked by a big group of Japanese ladies in Istanbul--only the arrival of our luggage saved her from being carried off, so maybe it's just Americans who aren't as enthused with babies.
We had a third breakfast of the day after we arrived at Olga and Mustafa's apartment in Istanbul. All three were different and Turkish breakfast is delicious enough to eat 3 times a day.
Mina tested out sucking directly on the bottled water spout which I thought was a little disgusting but luckily our hosts have a great sense of humor and thought she was hilarious. Mina was highly entertained by both if them.
We did some walking around Istanbul, had coffee in the beautiful garden of the archeological museum and finished off with su buregi and olive oil baklava, 2 of my favorites. Olive oil baklava doesn't sound like it will taste better than butter baklava but it is truly amazing. Su buregi is available in new york but all the versions I've had just make me want the real thing more. It's kind if like lasagna with only a little cheese in it, and not stretchy cheese but more of a not-so-salty feta type, and then a layer of pastry on top. I warned K that we may have to eat burek every day since we're only here for 3 days.
Posted by b at 11:36 AM
Also I wanted to note about the photo from yesterday of the village house with the tractor parked outside: note the solar panels on the roof. Most of the village houses in the west have these to heat water, they are even on some big apartment buildings. Apparently the solar isn't enough for house electricity but works for showers and laundry.
Posted by b at 11:06 AM
Saturday, October 22, 2011
I'm taking way less photos this trip partially since I'm always juggling the baby when I see the perfect shot and maybe I'm getting used to seeing it all, the village life isn't as foreign as it was, still fascinating and somewhat repelling at the same time. There isn't much space for romanticizing country living here.
We went olive picking today which involved packing a huge picnic lunch, including a grill, blankets, a rug, pillows, a watermelon and some other fruit, a bucket of tomatoes and onions, a gas stove for tea and 2-part tea pot of course, a couple of raw chickens, 5 loaves of bread, 2 bottles of soda and water, glasses for tea with spoons and sugar, 4 children and 4 adults. And no, our rental car is not huge--a 4-door hatchback ford. We picked olives and then barbequed and drank tea--it was a very comfortable picnic after a very crowded drive. Mina reclines on her fathers legs eating peeled grapes in one photo.
Later we ditched all the equipment and half the children and drove into manisa. Visiting the weekly bazaar for turkish towels, again without success-Turkish people don't use pestemel towels apparently, only foreigners like me. The bazaar was incredibly crowded--I was pushed by old ladies and young ladies and even multiple little boys, more shoving than I ever encounter in times square or the subway. I guess we arrived at vegetable mark-down time, late afternoon when the fruit and vegetables go on sale. One man bumped me deliberately, recognizing I was a foreign woman and K swore at him in Turkish to his face, forgetting he could understand. K swears at people in New York in Turkish or Zaza as he knows they can't understand--this guy definitely got it.
Then we went for baklava with kaymak on top--I had no idea these 2 things were served together. Kaymak is like creme fraiche, very rich and creamy, it kind of completed the baklava--adding creamy and cutting the super sweetness. Not a diet combination.
It's after dinner now and the other room is full of guests from the village, that are all originally from Siverek so everyone is yelling at each other in zaza. I was helping slice the olives to cure them but have gratefully retired with a sleeping Mina to the other room--amazed at what Mina can sleep through.
Posted by b at 11:27 AM
Friday, October 21, 2011
Mina adored her cousin, Hatice Sena, 16 months, who busily toddled around the whole time, calling Mina 'aya' and giving her kisses on the head. She was really too cute.
Emine's husband works at the school so we visited and I was requested by the English class to answer questions--finally I can accurately answer some questions. I'm perfecting the smiling blankly like I understand thing.
All the neighbor ladies came over to bake their bread in emine's oven--unfortunately I didn't get a photo--the oven is a huge wood burning stone oven about 4 feet wide and the bread was amazing. Big rough round loaves of dense whole wheat but lighter than our whole wheat--they grow and grind the wheat locally and it is so much tastier than ours.
Mina got dressed up in her cousins outfit of burgundy velvet with gold patterns, it also had a little hat with a burgundy veil sewn with coins that Mina refused to wear under any circumstances--she obviously had no idea how cute it was. The outfit was part of some ceremony involving henna that usually takes place when the baby is 6 months. Then she pushed a little wooden walker thing around the yard--since we are not particularly eager for her to walk, at all actually, the walker got stashed away after a few rounds.
We ended the day with a walk around the fields. K lived in this village for a few years as a teen so the walk was accompanied by stories of how he picked tobacco in this field and grapes in that one, no documentary video today unfortunately. We met with a fig tree full of figs and emine fearlessly climbed above my head to pick figs. She is just great.
Posted by b at 10:42 AM
Thursday, October 20, 2011
After the bazaar we drove to the forest service, it was a long way away--apparently Izmir's population is 6 million? A huge city, I had no idea--plus it's really spread out, no highrises as it's on a fault line.
K's friend is head of the forest service for the region but unfortunately was called out to survey a fire by helicopter and was quite late. We visited and left in the dark for emine's village. Mina drove as we were a little tired.
Posted by b at 9:57 AM
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
- Istanbul, small fish and strange packages
- Istanbul, so beautiful...and showers too.
- More picnic photos
- 2nd day in Emine's village
- 1st day in Emine's village
- Izmir bazaar and forest agency
- Ruins of Ephesus and too many antiquities
- Arriving in Selcuk
- Rainy day driving, mud and creepy Ekincik.
- Leaving Cirali and going to Kalkan
- Leaving Alanya, roman ruins and the joys of gettin...
- Last day in Alanya
- More lunch photos
- By the sea in Alanya
- Leaving the village for Ankara
- Day 5
- Day 4
- Day 3 in the village
- Day 2, village style.
- First day in the village
- ▼ October (21)