Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Katie and I wanted to see the whirling dervishes while we were here and as we suspected there isn't a way to see them that isn't completely touristy so we embraced it. There was a more ceremonial option but just because they pretended it was a spiritual ceremony doesn't change the fact they were simply doing it for money so let's do the one that includes free alcohol and belly dancing! We were picked up promptly at the scheduled time and had to pick up one other party. Our driver seemed to be near tears that the other group wasn't ready on time which while refreshing after being in Africa seemed a bit over emotional given the circumstance. He drove like an absolute maniac and got us there in time to for the dervishes. We sat with our new Brazilian friends, three middle aged women who came to Turkey because a side plot of a soap opera takes place in Cappadocia. We were instructed not to eat or talk by our driver during the "ceremony" and especially no pictures. The Brazilians and virtually everyone else ignored this request. They spun for 2-3 min during two heavily produced new agey songs. The food and drink were all you can eat and they didn't hold back. Two 1.5 liter bottles of wine as well as ouzo were already on the table. Guests around us were ordering entire bottles of vodka at no cost to them. We had a selection of Turkish tapas that as expected were pretty mediocre. So we drank and learned all about the intricate plot lines of this Brazilian soap. We watched some dancing that was heralded as traditional but we suspected was made up because who would know better? We could swear the "dervishes" were also dancing in the napkin dance. The evening closed with the belly dancer. The crowd was good and drunk by this time and the hooting commenced. She seemed to be used to this, there's probably not a whole lotta variation of folks in this scene. She hand picked three spectators. A pot bellied Brit, an aging chinaman and a young Japanese girl. She dressed them up and toyed with them and the crowd ate it up. It felt like they had turned on a strobe light, the flashes were so great. As soon as her show ended, our soberish driver beckoned and 2-300 of us squeezed down the narrow hall. Our quick thinking Brazilian friend grabbed a half empty bottle of wine which we passed around and slugged down the whole way home to keep our minds off the speed of our vehicle. Made it home safe and sound and were sure to pack extra water for the hiking through the valleys today.
We just arrived in Cappadocia, land of the fairy chimneys and hot air balloons. Jake informs me that the balloon rides are not in the budget, but I'm sure we'll find plenty of other things to fill our memory cards. Just about to head to "Turkish night" with fire breathers, whirling dervishes, and sword throwers. Expect more pictures soon!
Saturday, May 18, 2013
You may notice that we've just added about a million posts today. Blogger finally got their act together and made a much more user friendly app allowing us to beef up previous posts (we've made some changes to our posts from Santorini till now) and has now made adding pictures a whole lot easier, although it's screwed up our spacing and captions, our apologies.
But Watch out; our blog is about to get good (really just meaning we might finally post with some regularity)!
In Malawi you would occasionally get a "maprizey," typically something like one free tomato if you buy 5 or an extra handful of rice. I love this type of thing. However, I was never prepared for Turkey's maprizey culture. I love it even more. You get free bread with dinners (it's €1 in Greece), restaurants bring out free appetizers, free tea at the end of meals. Jake and I were walking through a square where they were passing out free Turkish flags, of course Jake eagerly went running to collect it (I seriously think I should start checking to make sure he hasn't secretly cancelled our tickets home). The hotel owner loves Jake so much that he made him a free omelet this morning saying that Jake's smile "brings him much positive energy and luck for his business." They bring out free popcorn or other snacks if you just order drinks, or free shots at the end of dinner. Sometimes they just wave you through instead of charging you for tickets. And, as the final and best maprizey of Turkish culture, the townspeople make free fried donuts for everyone to celebrate the anniversary of a loved one's funeral, which is pretty much every day. Can you imagine a bag of 5 donuts every day there was a funeral? Personally, I can think of no better way to honor the life of a loved one then with free donuts. Although, this tradition also explains the abundance of free outdoor exercise facilities.