Monday, September 19, 2016

A Few More Stars of Antalya

No Matches Needed, Works Everytime!
Sometimes on a trip you have a Marco Polo experience.   We all want to be in pursuit of something new and different.   Two years ago my wife and I  thought we would find it hiking to the famous fire holes called, Chimera Yanartas.   This is a special place where fire comes out of volcanic holes, you could actually barbecue a chicken over those.  You have to climb a steep hill, on a rocky path, not for seniors.  However,  before the steep path, along the dusty road,  we had a real hit and run moment

It was a pleasant walking where along one side of the road were small farms, while on the other side was complete wilderness.   The only sound were the cicadas and the putt putt of an old tractor.  We passed a very  old cemetery and then a mosque and orchards covered with blossoms.  Rounding the bend we see a home made sign proclaiming “gozleme”.   We had enjoyed eating gozleme a week before when in cappadocia, but did not expect it on the south coast of Turkey.  We made a plan to stop on the way back and have lunch in the farmyard.

Grandma Makes The Dough
Gozelme is not a dream of Carlo Petrinin and his slow food gourmet enthusiasts, but more of a mainstream menu item to be plundered by hungry tourists and inhabitants of villages in the east of Turkey.  Describing gozelme, one would say it has the appearance of a quesadilla with fresh ingredients trapped inside, and here we are at a farm that has its own  field of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onions.   As planned, we stopped, we plundered, we tasted, we enjoyed!  

So this winter we sat, like two hungry vultures, contemplating another road stop at that farm to enjoy a  summer meal.  More than once we discussed how there was no way we would miss a revisit to this lady’s farm and her gozleme.    Thankfully we were able to make another memorable visit.  

                                      Two weeks ago.

crazy driver
We arrived at the farm and I was glad to get off that three wheeled scooter. The rented scooter had just about killed both of us, as Orietta struggled to keep the scooter from always veering right.   I got very religious a few times when she came inches from running into a barbed wire fence, then missed a few cars and nearly ran over some teenagers on the way to the beach.   To control the darn thing we had to go as slow as one could walk.  It didn’t help that there was too much weight in the back.

rolling it out
The farm lady’s smile told me she was enjoying watching our pathetic scooter circus act.     The farm lady was also smiling because we did not choose to stop across the road where there was a brand new restaurant and pension, her competition.  We were not attracted by that shiny and clean restaurant with a cultured garden.  We were headed the other direction into the back yard of a farm where the chickens run free and people sit to eat at an old picnic table.  This would be our slow food moment.  Gozleme Heaven.

The lady listened quietly while we proceeded to try to explain, using Italian, English and sign language, that we were making a repeat visit.   The sun was baking the countryside, so we were glad to sit under two huge trees and order our choices. We sat, listening to the chickens and drinking Turkish black tea made from a large teapot over a fire.  The lady disappeared into the rows of vegetables while her mother began to knead the dough.  A younger girl, apparently representing the third generation began to prepare the stove.

Rolled onto the stick
Gozelme is made from a very soft dough, then rolled flat into a very thin circle with a wooden roller similar to a broomstick.   (I have seen Orietta’s mother using the same thing making lasagna pasta.)  We watch a technique of rolling the dough by going at 12, 2, 4, 6, around the clock to make a nice circle.  She rolls up the circle on the stick a few times to get the dough super thin.  (Doesn’t look like that would work, but it does.)  Then she rolls the circle around and around the stick and then rolls it off onto  a hot rounded, metal cooker.  The cooker- - Imagine a wok turned upside, that’s the picture!    A few moments later with a quick flip, then she added ingredients, and we were ready to devour and enjoy.  
You can see the results and I know we will go back again next summer.

The historical center of old Antalya is interesting but one big tourist trap.  It is interesting with an old clock tower where groups of old men sit and discuss the day.  You can hear the tram jingle the bell as it stops right across from a mosque, and if you turn in the other direction you see the  bazaar where the salesman will pester you to look at their products.  We make a stop at a shop that  features a huge amount of spices and tea, and we purchased a kilo of Turkish black tea, some sumak and apple tea mix.   Then we went outside along the street where there is a tiny cookie shop

Always a smile and a cookie
I wanted to see if the smiling owner had some cookies I had bought last trip.  I knew where to look and sure enough he had a pile of them.  You can smell them from outside the shop, and I would vote that they are the best in all Antalya.  That smile and the taste of the cookies are inseparable!  

The light brown appearance of the cookie suggests something less tasty, but the taste is of an interesting almond flavor, and not overbearing sweetness.   Since we are leaving the next day we buy 8 to bring home.  The closest thing I can think of to this cookie is called Alzac.  In Italy I use a recipe for making a soft almond biscotti that has a similar taste and texture.  I used to find a similar cookie in Trader Joe’s in California.  Miss that place!  

                                          Another star of Antalya. 

Award Winning Take Our BBQ
Farther out from the center of Antalya , a brief tram ride away, is a small restaurant that does a huge take-out business!  Gazikent Restaurant is at Kızıltoprak, Mevlana Cd. No:12, 07300 Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turchia.  

Counting the Cash
I stumbled onto this place two years ago when Orietta was in a hospital two blocks away and I was out looking for something good to bring back to her.  I found a super place two steps above a hole in the wall, but let’s face it, a lot of Turkish eateries, have the same look.  You cannot be afraid.  John Candy, John Belushi (remember them?) and Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa,  would eat here!   They would do a killer business if they opened a branch in my village.  
We sit while the phone goes nuts, orders keep coming in.  (This place does delivery at noon.)  the workers clumbsily stumble over each other, while the owner counts out the change.  Near the back, the barbecue expert is racking up speared meat ready to cook.   
Pizza Guy and His Dough
Near the front, the  pizza guy is stoking the fire, and placing and replacing the Turkish pizzas, then he is working the softball size dough. He never stops to rest, it is one big pizza marathon.  It’s hot and he is sticking to the task with his long stick to push pizzas around.

There is a large glass counter which displays the meat ready to be cooked.  The meat appears to be infused with a spicy, tomato barbecue flavor.   

Pictures Help A Lot In Turkey
The menu suggests many selections, and with no trepidation we pick several.  Pictures on the menu solve the translation problem.  No Efes beer to be found here, like many restaurants in Antalya, the owners are Muslim and refuse to sell alcohol products.  We submit to drink ayran, a tasty yogurt drink we cannot find in Italy, - while we wait patiently, knowing from previous experience what to expect.  To be honest, it is not a submission to drink Ayran and it is the first thing we drink when arriving in Turkey.  

Our plates arrive and we dive in.  My wife tells me that we must return next year, but I already had that on our schedule.

One more blog post on the people of Turkey.  It will be about a hard working fellow called Umit who works at a successful beach restaurant. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Increasing Cast of Characters, Antalya

Personal cooler
Today’s blog post is dedicated to my readers, I know you are hoping for something to read something a bit more exciting than watching a chess match.    My confession?   At times while writing I really feel like a goat-herder in a foreign land.   My English teachers never favored my prose!   I didn’t try hard enough.  Are you old enough to remember Casey Stengel?    He said it best, “Without losers, where would the winners be?”   I never liked the Yankees, but Casey was quite a character.  Only Yogi could top him. That’s Yogi Berra, for any of you under 55.   

Herb Vendor
Today, it is the people.  The  spirited people we met in the past few weeks are working on me.  These are people who make you feel that they are not thinking,  come back when you can’t stay so long.  They are  super friendly, gratified to talk about their work and life.  

I really enjoy stopping and talking to the working folks in a new city.  Sitting a few moments with the guy who picks up the trash at the Kremlin in Kazan, and using sign language more than speaking, I make a friend.   
Coffee Roasting Shop
On another occasion, not quite so enjoyable, but equally interesting, I sit with an undercover detective while  he interrogates me on how I was just robbed.   He is dressed exactly like the four big guys who robbed me on the bus.  To describe him I would say, he looks almost homeless.  I jokingly mention this to him, and his face changes to one of wariness.   Then he realizes that I was complimenting him on his effective undercover look and gives me a smile.  
The investigation continues and then he closes his small tablet.  Now that he is finished with me, it’s my chance for a cross-examination about his work and how he goes about it.  He’s trapped and he is not getting away until I unload the torrent of questions from my mind.   During his interrogation, we both have a laugh or two, while he removes some stereotypes I have about Russian police.  Also removed is some the gloomy feeling one has after such an experience.   (BTW, After three weeks, we have been informed that my wallet has been found and is being sent.)

Got Knives!

50 Year Owner
Two years ago while wandering through the artisan area in the center of  Antalya I discovered a knife shop.   It was a gem of a shop where the owner makes knives and cleavers for cooking.  The display had many of different sizes of cleavers, and I chose a fairly large one.   Now when I use the cleaver, I remind myself to go back for a few knives.  I just had to go back and see how his knives felt in my hand.   (I am the cook in our house)  So on the return trip, I chose two large knives that felt comfortable and balanced.   

While there we forged a link with the two artisans, the father, who owned ran the shop for 50 years, and his son.  We learned that the father came from Ankara, the Turkish capital, where his father had a knife shop.  Three generations later they are the real deal, super knife makers.  
The son sits behind a grinding wheel, sharpening knives for another customer.  This customer knows some English and  grabs me by the arm, takes me to the wall where there are certificates and photos hanging.  He beckons to the older owner and relates to  the father/owner that I am from America.  (As if he didn’t know, — ha!)  The father goes to the wall and points to an old black and white photo of his father, the originator of this establishment.  Next to this photo they proudly display both a photo of the George Washington of Turkey, Ataturk and the flag of Turkey.  
While the customer is excitedly telling me about his uncle who lives in America, he is speaking in Turkish to the older owner what I am asking.  They are proud of their shop, and the customer is also proud.  Everyone feels important.  While the younger owner sits at the wheel and sharpens my knives he warns me several times that they will be sharp.  Then he shows me his display case with a special knife with art work burned onto the blade.  I ask to buy it, and he says that it is specially made for display only.  This is the knife I really want!  You  see the photos of our two new friends.  We will be back next summer, for sure.

When Orietta and I made a special trip to a market in Kumluca we discovered a wonderful market with the most perfectly ripened vegetables we had ever seen.  The photos speak of this! 
Every one is ripe!
This market was fairly large and the vendors were people who have  small gardens and bring their produce to sell.  It’s all mom and pop operations and you can see from these photos that the vegetables were perfect.  
Bag of figs
Every vendor wanted to talk about their produce and inquired to know where we were from, and why we were there.  
We had a mind to find some figs, sumak and isot biber, which are dark chili flakes.
We walked the whole market and at the other end of the market, outside the roof,  there was an old fellow who had carved a few utensils from wood and he had laid them out on a small mat.  Clearly he wasn’t part of the market, but was selling just outside where he did not have to pay the area rental fee.  We took an interest in his work, and he had a proud smile.   His work is now being used in our kitchen.  We will look for  him next summer.   Let's hope that things will calm down in Turkey, and tourists will feel safe to visit.   The problems they have had has not helped the tourist industry.

We take so many photos, it’s good that we don’t use negative film anymore. We can just shoot away with both the camera and the phone. 

I wish I could show all the photos, but with my blog software it makes it a bit too difficult.  What you get is what you pay for, and this is a free blog spot.  We  come away with some amazing photos, and my wife's big camera really is the perfect tool.   

Working our way back towards the exit we take a few shots and then  all of a sudden a young fellow steps in front of my camera, and proudly poses with a big smile.  We humor him with a few shots, and questions.  He keeps changing his pose for us.

He does not seem to bothered by the heat, but we are.  It is over a hundred degrees with humidity.  Time to find a place with air conditioning and something cool to drink.   August is a hot month for the Antalya area, and we are glad that most of our time will be at the beach in Cerali, one of the most beautiful beaches in the area.  We like it so well that  this is our second visit.

Just outside the market we have lunch, a doner kabob, for only two euros, our cheapest lunch of the trip with the cleanest bathroom of the trip.   And with super AC!

The unsung hero of the day is the Antalya tram driver.  Sitting in his cubicle, with no air conditioning, in a temperature way over a hundred, he jingles the  bell to warn people off the track and stops long enough for the old folks to get on and off the tram safely.  I think how it would feel to sit as a driver of a tram for a entire career .   (I think I was lucky.)   Everyday, as a teacher, was different for me, but for him,  every day it is the track and the route.  He must always be alert and not have a lapse of attentiveness.  Two stars in my book. 
Large Sunflower Seeds

It is the people of Turkey who make it special.  I hope you will consider a visit some day.  

One more blog post on the people of Turkey, then I have some things to say about Talliin and Riga.   After that the blog will return to Italy.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Stars of Kazan

Kazan, Russia
Growing up in the 50’s I never thought I would ever sleep in the home of a Russian person.  We were taught to expect the worst between our countries. The silly  practice of diving under our desks at school to protect ourselves from the nuclear blast, did not make for positive thoughts towards the Soviet Union and the Russian people.   Yet, trends have evolved over time, the sea has calmed and now, regardless of the leaders, the internet brings everyone closer together.

Here we are, carried like a tornado in the Wizard of Oz, into the warm home of our Russian friends, Albert and Alfiya, and we apply a branding iron to our friendship.  Albert and Alfiya are  real stars,  unofficial ambassadors of Kazan in Tatarstan.   Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan, and the eighth largest city in Russia. 
Alfiya, Orietta and Albert

We were treated to three wonderful days with long conversations where we learned so much about the day to day life in Russia.  We heard the good and the bad, we reacted, we listened, the whole experience was engaging, and yes, we answered questions about America, and our friendship grew.  That is the subject of this blog, and I hope you will enjoy this glimpse into the Russian experience.

Albert is a doctor of medicine, as is his charming wife, Alfiya.  We learned about their work, Alfiya works in the cancer ward of her hospital, and Albert is an administrator in a private health clinic.  They both work long hours, for example, Albert works 6 days a week.   We were shocked to learn that doctors in Russia are not paid salaries close to medical doctors in the United States.  They have learned to make the most of their weekends, and vacations.  While we were there they received notice that they had been granted new travel visas to America, and we had occasion to celebrate!  They appreciate America  and have traveled to the states several times.     

Salmon Caviar
We arrived late at night and were surprised to find a huge spread of food ready to be tasted when we arrived at their home.  It was quite overwhelming as the table began to be covered with goodies from the American size refrigerator.  Albert had purchased many different brands of Russian beer, pastries sweet and not, and he prepared caviar on toast.  The photo shows this better.

The following morning I hear Albert in the kitchen and we are catered to a terrific breakfast.  Albert jokes about  Denny’s breakfast menu, as he likes a big breakfast when in America, so we are treated to the same, Russian style.  He clearly enjoys working in the kitchen and he tried to make us feel at home.  We learned that when eating in Russia, pacing is important.  
Looking around their modern kitchen, they had all the things we have in Italy, microwave, cappuccino maker, large oven and so on.  Their kitchen was actually a lot bigger than our Italian kitchen, and they have a window that looks out onto a large forested area.  We asked about this area and Albert says that it is owned by a man who was planning a large construction project, but he fell out of grace with Putin and left the country.  We hear this “out of favor” kind of story more than once while there.  
Working Hard in Modern Kitchen

On one plate Albert has placed some hot dogs that he has boiled.  I am a fan of a good hot dog.  We are able to find German hot dogs, the white kind that are famous in Munich, in a store  called Lidl near our village.  Every time I bite into a hot dog I go back to taking my kids to a ball game to see the Oakland A’s.  So I am happy to try a Kazan dog.  OMG….Seriously this is the best hot dog I have ever eaten!  In fact, I must say that this is the best food we have eaten on this trip, and believe me we have tried a lot of foods.   

Dynamite Dogs
There is something about these little gems that makes me want more.  I make Albert promise that when he comes to Italy for a visit, he smuggles some of these in his suitcase.  Just the right amount of smokiness!  They are that good!   I know this photo  does not do them justice, they look like plain hot dogs, but they are the number one dog in the  world!!!

Kul-Sharif Mosque
We are driven to the center of Kazan, and find it to be a modern city, looking much different from St. Petersburg where we had just spent several days.  There is a pleasant river setting in the  center, and we parked and walked up to the Kremlin for a short tour and some photo moments.   We find out that Ivan the Terrible built the town hall over the ruins of the castle.  The buildings and structures here are beautiful.   Nearby you can see Kul-Sharif Mosque, which is a postcard in itself.    For more info on Kazan’s Kremlin go to:

Cheese Inside
We were taken nearby to a restaurant that features food from Tatarstan.  Albert made choices we should try, and we feasted!  The next day we  went to a Georgian restaurant, which is different that Tartar food.    Here are some foods we tasted during our visit.

Borscht made by Alfiya

Dumplings With Meat

The cuisine of Kazan has a lot of dumpling type dishes.   We also find so many types of these in the supermarket.  

Sviyazhsk Church
The second day we were driven far from Kazan to see the Volga River.   We parked at the edge of an island called Sviyazhsk (try to pronounce that) where we walked up 4 flights of stairs to find small village and monastery.  In 1551 it was built as a fortress and used as a military base of the Russian army during the siege of Kazan (1552).  Albert explained that this monastery was also used as a prison  and that during WWII it held prisoners of war.  The houses were made of wood with typical Russian trim.  

Vendor In Costume

On the far side was a small area for selling locally made souvenirs, and we were treated to a performance of a sword battle with two men in costumes of armour.  It was not a Universal Studios battle, these guys were really whacking each other.  Once they stopped while a helmet was turned back around.  
They also had to stop for a few minutes as one fellow received a blow and felt a bit of pain.  I am not sure they were friends.

Albert, Barbecue Chef

Somehow that night Albert found the energy to put on a barbecue using his Tandyr, or Tandoor, which his brother had given as a gift. Albert had been telling us for months how he was practicing to perfect the results.  We had seen a lot of photos, but now we got to taste the real thing.  The results we tasted were perfect!   The large Tandyr is heated with fire, and when the fire dies there is a basket and a grill that is hung inside and then the lid is closed.  What is trapped inside becomes so soft and flavorful.   That Tandyr brings it all together perfectly!  I only wish I could own one of these, but unfortunately, my little terrace would not be a good place for one.  You can see on the right it as Albert is starting process.

Alfiya Smiles All The Time

These few days we are getting to know each other and I am seeing such pleasant sides to them both.  Alfiya is such a kind woman, and she doesn’t have to try to be friendly, it is in her spirit to be so.  She is glad to talk about life in Russia, the past and the now.  She tells us a lot about her grandparents, her family and what life was like when they were students in the times of the Soviet Union.  She is the kind of person you want to have as your next door neighbor.

Albert never seems to tire of trying his best to be graceful.  He tells us about his work, his doctoral classes, and we learn why doctors want to be surgeons in Russia.  He talks about his family and he drives to where they lived as teenagers.   Every moment during our visit he tries to help us see, taste, and feel life in Kazan.  
In the years that we have been communicating on the internet, his English has improved immensely.   I can remember skyping them and Albert had to stop and think of the correct words, or how to say something.  Not anymore! He has worked really hard to learn English.  Now he speaks without having to process languages back and forth.  This is a real skill.  Albert could live in America without language problems.  Alfiya is also competent in English   She is also learning Spanish.  Their knowledge of English has helped us to know them better and helped our friendship grow.   I think America should adopt them.

House of Lenin (Student)
After picking up their American travel visas, Albert drove while Alfiya navigated to the home of Lenin who spent one year in Kazan studying to be a lawyer.  Albert admitted that he had never been to this house aswe walked to the gate for photos.  I never thought that Lenin had lived here, I am  clueless on Lenin in the first place.  
Lenin’s body can still be seen in the Kremlin in Moscow.  I was there some years ago, and he looks like he could just sit up and walk away.  It looks quite a bit like the movie Snow White, where she is under a glass cover.  I don’t know how they do that, nor does anyone else, as it is a secret.  I would like to see George Washington like this.  

Colorful Choices
One of our final excursions is to a supermarket.  Albert knows that I always make it a point to visit a market in a foreign country.
Lots of Selection

 I want to see what people eat, what is available, how much fresh produce they have, the cheeses, the beers, and the pastries.  Pictured here is what we saw.

They had a great selection of foods.  The only thing I noticed is that it seemed that the produce area was smaller than I expected.  They had a a whole counter of imported cheeses, multiple shelves of beers, mostly from out of Russia, and lots of meats, such as what you see here.  It was difficult to decide which photos to use.

 Look, Frito Lay is there!
America moves in to grab a part of the Russian economy.
Can you believe that in the middle of Russia you would see this display?  Come On!
BTW Frito Lay made its move into Turkey several years ago and is now doing the same in Italy, as is Doritos.
Now we know that the Russian people are beginning to snack!  What company is next to travel far?

More Food Shots.
Dumplings To Go

Can You Believe...Cheetos!
Gracious Tour Guides
There are moments in one’s life that shine.  Being allowed to know Albert and Alfiya in their home is one of those.   I am sure that it was not easy for them to accept us, as we only knew each other by messages and Skype Videos.  However, all that apprehension was blown away by super hospitality and graciousness.  We are blessed with such good friends in Albert and Alfiya.   I hope that they will visit us soon.

I also hope that this blog post has opened your world to see real people, the good people of the modern city of Kazan.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Star of Antalya, Turkey

Turkish Baglamas Hanging From Ceiling
I am a people watcher.  The people we met during our vacation were a real source of peace.   There were so many “regular” people, ones trying their best to make a go of it, and spreading a little kindness on their way.  That’s refreshing as we are all trapped inside a big space that media controls, and we tend to see the negative aspects of the world.

I would like you to meet a few “normal” people in the next few posts.  For readers who come here to learn about Italy, I apologize for the deviation, but I feel a need to discuss the people I met during my vacation.  With so much hate in the world being shown on a day to day basis, it’s good to have a down to earth look at our fellow world citizens.  We have especially been watching Turkey these past few months.  The average working people are real stars, they work hard to have a better life, they do good things for the world, and they desire peace for all.  

Eren In His Shop
While in Antalya, Turkey I wanted to revisit Eren Toprak’s  baglama shop where I bought my first baglama two years ago.  A baglama is a funky looking guitar with four strings, and it has a fret that allows notes that are between the keys found on the piano, hence the out of tune sounds to our western ears when we hear it.  The baglama is rounded on the back of the strumming area, rather than flat like a guitar.  It is used a lot in folk music, but also in modern Turkish pop music.  It is a challenge for me, a trombonist to learn baglama.  On my last visit, Eren took me inside his workshop where he was carving and forming baglamas.  Believe me, this is a real technique that is to be respected.   There is a lot of work in forming the rounded part.

                                                       The Visit
We take  the tram from the old center of Antalya and in  5 minutes we arrive a few steps from his shop.  We are greeted with a big smile, and I see that he is trying hard to remember me, and suddenly he remembers my previous visit.  First off he offers us tea or coffee, which is a custom of all shop owners in Turkey.   We sit down with his friend who is also a musician.  We talk about baglamas, his performances, and then his family.  We struggle and use a lot of sign language.  He uses German, which helps a bit.  His wife arrives with their daughter.   He asks me how I am doing on the baglama, and I admit that I am lacking, but enjoying trying to play it.  I look at my wife, Orietta to see if she is bored, listening to two musicians talk about music, but she is not as she can see this man who is outwardly kind and gentle.   He has the spirit of a man who loves music and wants to share his gift with others.  We are kindred spirits, for sure.
                        Google only accepted lowest quality of video, sorry.

After some conversation, he suddenly gets up and picks up a baglama behind his desk.  I know what is coming so I grab my phone and set up a video.  This is what you see here.  A few strums to check the tuning and he sits and immediately begins to sing and play.  About half way through he begins to thump a rhythm while strumming (something I struggle to do).  We sit, the mini concert is irresistibly charming.  Secretly I was hoping he would play as he is an expert and a trained musician at the University in Istanbul.  I have recorded this performance and hope it can be heard on your device.  
You can see his happy face, he loves music and loves playing for people.  You can see the face of Turkey.  The face of a many people we met along the way.  

Eren sells a lot of baglamas to tourists who want something interesting to take home.  On my last visit there was a couple from Germany, and the wife was not a musician but wanted a baglama.  I watched the process as she was shown various ones and he played them all.  Eventually, she picked one.  This year his business in this respect has been hit hard with first the explosion in the airport in Istanbul and then the attempt to take over the government has scared most of the foreign tourists away.  All of Turkey is suffering in this way.  They need tourist dollars.  There is no way this can be fixed, the people of Turkey are on a roller coaster ride they cannot get off.  We can only feel compassion for them.

The concert is not over, however, as he moves to a Korg piano, which has Arabian drum loops, and he pushes a few buttons, turns on a microphone and begins to sing Turkish pop, while the piano is banging out a rhythm most of us would  think to be belly dancing drum music.  In his shop, the sound is loud and people walking by on the street slow and take a good look.  We are grooving Turkish!!!  We are treated to three songs and more conversation.  We use a lot more sign language, and he uses more German, thank goodness I was forced to take German when working on my graduate degree.    I look for a large drum I have wanted to bring home, but I do not  see any in his shop.  He signals, “Wait” and disappears into his workshop, and  comes out with a large drum.  It is exactly what I wanted, and he makes a sale while I consider how it will fit in my suitcase.  My wife is being kind right then.  She is not saying much.  (Earlier we stopped at a craft store, and this has saved me.)

We have one other  place to go, a knife shop where they make chef’s knives.  (Next blog post)  So we say goodbye and promise to return next summer.  We shake hands, thank him for the drinks, the drum, and wish him well.  He does the same, and we step out into 100-degree heat heading for our next stop.  It was a good day.  My hope for Eren is that his world will be calm and the tourists will return.  
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