Monday, May 7, 2012

Home of the Adana Kebap

The bulk of our time in Turkey is here in Adana, since we obviously can't go out traveling all over for a straight three weeks, since Spencer's dad still has to work and his youngest sister Krystal is still in school. Spencer's parents live on Incirlik Air Base (just outside of the city), which is actually a Turkish base that allows the U.S. to work out of. We're not allowed to take any picture of the base, on the base, or about the base, so I technically can't even show you a picture of their house.
The first day in Adana we went to the weekly market. It's really simple, just little booths set up along both sides of a wide street, mostly vegetables and a few clothes and trinkets. I forgot to take pictures :( but maybe I'll take some this week, it happens every Thursday. The fruits and vegetables are beautiful and are so delicious. We have fresh produce to snack on every day....yum. These guys were taking a lunch break and even offered us some of their food. I took it, and it was SPICY, but SO GOOD. In Turkey there is a lot of raw vegetables and meat flavored with salcha (spicy pepper paste) and other spices and herbs (particularly cumin and parsley) wrapped in pita-like bread.

Other fun things we've done in Adana:
Puddle jumping in the pouring rain and lightning with Krystal (these pictures are misleading, it was some serious rain),

Trying more Turkish food at random Base events for people that we don't know,

Bowling (Somehow no pictures were taken? How did that happen?), card and board games, and lots and lots of ping pong in the backyard.

But my favorite so far? Turkish rugs! Spencer's mom took us to a shop where Vedat, the store owner, taught us all about Turkish rugs. Well, as much as he could teach us in an hour anyways. It was so fascinating though, and I am now qualified to roughly price a handmade Turkish rug. Handmades are wicked expensive (for perspective, a 1x1.5 foot handmade cost about $600) but there are also machine made rugs that are also beautiful and MUCH cheaper. We weren't planning on getting one, but...

Somehow we ended up with three! The pictures just don't do them justice. They are beautiful and so soft and the colors are so rich and I LOVE THEM! I know, we're ridiculous, but let me explain. Vedat knows Spencer's mom pretty well, and she has brought him a lot of business. Plus, he's just super cool and friendly. Anyways. The large square rug is usually $280, the runner is usually $230, and the round (the rolled up one, we haven't found a place for it yet) is usually $150. HOWEVER, for us, he priced the large rug at $150, the runner at $50 and then when we weren't sure and were debating, he threw in the round FOR FREE as a wedding gift. Spencer's mom has learned a lot about the rugs in the year she's been here and has talked to a lot of people about prices and such, and she was shocked that he gave us such a good deal. And we've since shown others the rugs and they have confirmed that not only did we get a great deal, but we also chose a really beautiful, authentic Turkish pattern instead of a Westernized design. Thank you Vedat!

Spencer's parents are going to keep the rugs for us, since they obviously won't fit in our bags and we are going to China in four months and don't want to stick them in dusty, hot storage for a year. Sigh, I  will miss them.

One thing I have learned here, is that the people are beyond generous. People are constantly offering us things, shop owners offer you drinks (for free) and if you are there long enough they sometimes offer food. People love to give directions or offer you tastes of their produce or spices as you shop. People are often inviting us to come to dinner with them or to show us around their favorite sights. They are a truly unselfish people, and I hope when I leave here that some of that will have rubbed off on me.

P.S. A kebap is how the Turkish spell kebab, and the Adana kebap has been my favorite Turkish food thus far...

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