Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - No comments

Grapenuts roasting on an open fire....

Apparently everyone but us was aware that it was "National Pekmez Making Week" last week. While we were in Cappadocia, everywhere we went we found old ladies bent over huge cast iron "cauldrons" stirring their sticky brew. Pekmez (grape molasses) is a breakfast favourite around here, and when it's time to harvest the grapes, everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets boiling. While exploring the little town of Belisirma, we happened upon a family in the middle of the process and they invited us in to watch, learn, and of course taste. :)

They showed us how they first crush the grapes in a bath-like vat made of stone, and then boil them for six or more hours over the fire. Then they dump the now considerably condensed mixture into a bucket to cool before pouring it into a jar to be stored in the cellar or sold at the market. The whole family was involved in the process and they were so sweet to let us be a part of their tradition!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - No comments

Born to Fly

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."

- Leonardo DaVinci

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - No comments

Land of the Fairy Chimneys

Cappadocia enchants me more every time I visit. Its otherworldly landscape always makes me feel like I am on another planet, and around every corner is a new cave church to marvel at, a new maze of fairy chimneys to explore, a new view that has yet to take my breath away.

This region is renowned for, among other things, its pottery and its carpets, and I had fun learning more about the making of both. We kept going back to drool over the works of art in this one pottery shop - I wanted to buy it all! I had to settle for a few cute clay lanterns for the balcony, but I'll definitely be back. :)

We spent a chunk of time watching a cute little teyze (old lady) weaving a carpet that she said would take her about 3 months to make. Talk about patience and dedication to your craft! She explained how up until recently (and still today in the poorer eastern half of the country), girls would begin weaving carpets at a young age so they would have something to bring into their marriage. These carpets added to their "value" when families negociated marriage contracts and gave the girls security since they didn't have education or skills to bring to the table. These carpets are absolute works of art, and each one tells its own story. (And watching the men toss them across the room and call them flying carpets is highly amusing!)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008 - No comments

Guns, Glitter and Goodies

Bring on the sugar! The four days after Ramadan are known as the Sugar Festival, and aptly so. Most everyone is off school and work, new clothes are bought, relatives visited, old people's hands kissed, and mass amounts of baklava consumed. Much like our Halloween, kids go door to door singing little rhymes and asking for candy.

I spent this Sugar Festival in Adana with friends, and we spent one of our afternoons at the big park downtown. Families picnicked, couples lined up for horse and carriage rides, and little boys tore about en masse, each with a new toy gun. (I swear every kid in the city got a gun for their holiday gift!) Adana has a large population of Kurds, and I was fascinated by the beautiful Kurdish women in their glittery national dress. I asked one lady if her clothes were special for the holiday, but nope, she sparkles like that every day! As always, the camera (coupled with our very obviously NOT Turkish faces) drew crowds everywhere we went. I was more than happy to capture the festivities on film....or, rather, memory card. (Doesn't have the same ring, does it?) :)