Day 4 – Gonen Market and Yunus Emre Turbesi
Day 4 – Friday – July 15, 2011
Earlier in the week Bilge was talking to someone and pointed to me and they laughed and smiled. She told me that I was like their own version a famous Turkish Filmmaker and she said some name. Later Pervin made the same remark so I figured I should look him up. When I asked Pervin for the name she blushed and got a little nervous. She explained that he wasn’t a real filmmaker but a fictional character. The name is Cevat Kelle and he is a comedic character of a “well equipped/over equipped cameraman”. I am not offended by this at all – I think it is funny – on more than one occasion I have been called Inspector Gadget and there is no difference here.
So moving forward…
Friday was all about going to the local market. Pervin was going to go with me at 10:30 so she could make the introductions/translations and see if we could find the people who I took photographs of the previous year. However I got up pretty early and Paul asked if I wanted to come to the park with him to look at a milestone. I went with him to the park and sat around reading a book while he tried to decipher the text when a truck pulls up – not just a truck – a truck and a giant shovel thing and they proceeded to unload all of the items that we found 2 days previous. Just swung em out on a harness at the entrance to the park. The park is filled with all sorts of inscriptions and architectural pieces found in the area.
So they ended up leaving the pile of stones near the entrance and Paul continued to try and make an impression of the milestone when a policeman walks up and starts to question us. Of course we have no idea what he is saying but it looks kinda like we are trying to TAKE the stones not drop them off. Now its a silly thing to think we could even move them but they were kinda stacked in the wrong place and Paul has a bunch of stuff laying around this milestone. Paul grabs for his residency permit – the one we spent 4 hours getting and has no practical purpose – and shows it to him. He really enjoyed flipping through it – I don’t think he really cared but it looked like he was having great fun with them. I then showed him my photos of them UNLOADING the objects off the truck and he just smiled and we got the hell out of there. To be honest we think he was more curious than upset but it wasn’t good to linger at that point.
So off to the market we went. Pervin and I both recalled where we had met some people and headed there first. We met one very old lady and I handed her the photograph. She blushed and her friends were all smiles and it was a very tender moment. Now all the other ladies want to see what photos I have. One woman looks over and grabs a photo and starts laughing really hard and Pervin translates “That’s my sister! That’s my sister!” She was somewhere in the market so they went and found her and it was very fun everyone was laughing and having a good time. One lady come up to me and tells me that last year I took her picture and wants to know where “it” is. Oops – I didn’t print EVERY picture. I explain that they didn’t all come out. I also had explained to Pervin that when they tried to thank me for the photo to tell them that this was MY way of thanking THEM for letting me take it. This was very useful as it prevented me from getting bags and bags of free fruit.
There was one man I had met several times and I have a wonderful picture of him rolling a cigarette. They said he left for the day though so I was going to hold onto it. Meanwhile one of the ladies called over this guy and he looked at my pictures and said “that’s my daughter!” and then of the man with the cigarette “that’s my father!”. So he happily took both pictures with him. It was observed by someone that I am only taking pictures of old and young because middle age people are boring to look at. It’s true.
At this point I was feeling pretty good because that was all the pictures I took of people at the market the rest were the nomads up on the mountain and we were going to figure out how to visit them. I looked over and I saw one of them. It was a father who I had photographed his entire family – his kids – his parents – his wife’s family. So I have him like a huge stack and he kept laughing cause he was going through and explaining how each person was related. He told me that I needed to come back up to the mountain so that they could “cut a goat for me”. I told them that we didn’t have time but I appreciated the thought.
He then told me that the horsewoman than I met on the mountain was also in town right now at the local clinic and another gentleman was having tea in the village. So off we went. First to the clinic to see the horsewoman. She really like the photo I think also because it had her horse in it and she hope I would visit her up on the mountain and I told her that maybe next summer.
We headed into the village (and my stack was getting smaller and smaller) and there was the gentleman I met up at the mountain. I also hadn’t noticed that the father (whose daughter and father I had photographed) was guiding us there. I was asked to join them for tea and this seemed like an ideal moment to socialize. They pulled up another table and we sat for tea (my first in Turkey). Just then Bilge pulled up and joined us as well. And a moment later from across the street the Imam joined us and it was a full on party.
The old man pointed at my head and Bilge said he was asking about my ponytail. I told him I cut it off last year in Istanbul because of the heat and he said “You grow your hair long to look like your mother, your grow your mustache long, to look like a man, to look like your father.” Bilge pointed out the importance of the “to look like a man” part of this translation.
We didn’t talk too much but it was a good moment and we drank and he took a picture with me. We said our goodbyes and when we went to pay for the tea (he tried and I tried) but we found out that the father had arranged it all before he left. A local shopkeeper was very interested in this and insisted that I come into his shop and take his photo. I was definitely a hit with the villagers and while they were always pleasant they have since been even warmer to us.
We then went shopping in the market and I really didn’t need anything but you have to see the olive merchants and the fruit merchants (love those white cherries) and the pastry merchants. I did end up getting some Turkish Delight for everyone and this wonderful bread that is almost like a bed sheet that I tried the year before. I first had it in the mountains at the nomads and then I bought some at the store. When I got home with it Bilge was terrified. She told me that it wasn’t cooked and that it needed cooked. She was very glad she caught it before I ate it but then I explained that last year I had eaten it 2 or 3 times. She took it from me and they used it to make some crispy feta cheese things for us – it was almost like an egg roll crispy when cooked – not my finest moment.
The traditional woman all wear the same clothes – the pants are baggy and cloth and look like pajama bottoms and they wear what Americans would call a busy and unattractive pattern. To watch the women shop for it and look at these patterns with a critical eye is hysterical because clearly I can’t see what they can. That’s multiculturalism.
I bumped into Abdullah at the market and he was so excited. Regretfully I was alone so I had no idea what he was saying. Bert came over (who is Dutch) and talked to him in German and he insisted that we buy a watermelon and eat it together. I told him I couldn’t and so he insisted that we go to the park and have some ice-cream. Again I told him I couldn’t so he asked if we could meet later at the park for ice-cream. Bert explained that we didn’t know our schedule and that he didn’t need to thank me any further that it was our pleasure. I found out later that he had stopped Pervin and Gunsu as well offering them ice-cream in the park. Before I leave I really need to have ice-cream with this man. I had mentioned that his wife didn’t want to be photographed she was much younger than him and had a beautiful set of gold teeth (not grills but just very nice golden teeth). I was surprised how much younger she was and it was remarked that he probably bought her. That aside I still can’t but laugh when Pervin told me the gist of the fight that they had when we stopped over “who are these people? whey did you invite them to our house? do they want money from us?” I could have guessed that.
Bilge had noticed that it was the Minister of Culture’s Representative’s Birthday and asked if I could buy her a scarf at the market. While there are many people selling them there was this one lady who I went back to week after week last year and boy did we have a good time at it. I walk up and she looks at me grins from ear to ear and says “America, Archeology”. I tried to buy one scarf and she ended up selling me three! So I figured I would get a picture of her this year – I recall her resisting a little last year. She let me take a picture of her and her scarves but she wanted a better photo so I took a nice portrait of her. She smiled and then told me friend her on Facebook and then gave me her email address.
The rest of the market was just as fun everyone was suddenly eager to have me take photos of their wares or themselves and then a couple of kids ran up and asked for their photo. I had no idea who they were and then Gunsu told me that they were the ones washing the puppies yesterday!
We went back and had lunch and Bilge said we were going to explore some of the outer regions of Gonen that we hadn’t looked at before – these were the places where the people who lived in the mud-brick houses moves from. We took two cars, Paul driving one and the hired driver driving the SUV. It was dirt roads (and AC thank God) all the way and we stopped every so often to look at freshly plowed fields (for pottery) or at the occasional stone (for inscriptions). Paul wanted to follow the road all the way out of town to see where it went but Bilge told him that it stopped at the dam. It was in fact the damn road. Dam road. When we got to the dam it was lovely to see the reservoir but no mud-brick houses. It turns out they were all torn down when they but the dam in.
Paul led us out of the dam road and it really was a bumpy dirty road – we were next going to head to where we knew there was an old settlement still. The other driver overtook us to lead the way but the road got rougher and rougher and we had to turn back as we were in a car – you can kinda see some of this on the map. We took a slightly better road up to the Yunus Emre Turbesi which is a shrine/tomb. A short while down the road – walking really up a man-made stream we found the decomposing ruins of the mud-brick homes. Some of them were just foundations. Its amazing what 50 years will do. There were more white mulberries so I was happy and some really nice photos as well. Paul wanted me to know that much of the history of the region and migration is supposition – its the best that they can explain about the history of the region in the past 100 years but that is ongoing research and not a lot is really known.
Dinner was nice and we had some yummy desserts in addition to the regular type of Halva (which is a sweet tahini paste) there is another type which is more like a gelled sweet Farina – in truth I like them both. One other funny thing at dinner time is that no matter what is for dinner there is a plate of raw onion that is passed around – everyone treats it like it is abig delicacy and really relishes their bit of fresh onion. I of course pass. We had the birthday celebration with dinner and they brought out a big chocolate cake with icing and cherries and all sorts of decoration. I thought it was funny because they had her cut the cake (like we do in America) but they also had her SERVE the cake – and I was really amused at all the work she had to do to get the cake all nice and sliced up. They handed me a huge slice but I couldn’t really eat it – it was laced with some pretty strong alcohol. I had to pick at it and mush it up a little bit so it didn’t too bad but they still asked me if I didn’t like it when I cleaned my dishes.
It was about 8:30 and I told Paul and Bert that I wanted to get a shave in town and asked if they wanted to join me. Paul wasn’t sure if they would be open but I had seen at least 3 barbers in town and almost always someone sitting inside. Paul said he needed a haircut and that he got a great one from this one barber in town 2 years ago. The barber shop was open and he was sitting inside talking to two friends. When we walked in they were all very excited. Paul went first and got a haircut. It turns out of the men sitting there was living in Hamburg as a taxi driver so he talked in German with Bert. It was great – my German might be weak but I can hear conversations like “where are you from?” “what do you do?” “how long have you been doing it?”
Right then the barber turned to Paul and said – “haven’t you been here before” and Paul was like “yeah 2 years ago” and then he was very excited and “Die Welt ist klein” which means “The Worlds is Small”. Someone kept calling (we guessed his wife) and he kept saying something about Archaeology and hanging up. One thing that was very funny was that his voice didn’t match his face – he sounded like Ray Romano with a real Kermit the Frog type voice.
Last year when I was in Turkey and went to get a shave Paul said there was a surprise at the end. I figured he meant when they came at me with the nose hair scissors. He seemed disappointed when I didn’t tell him about them burning the hairs off of my face. I of course was disappointed that he wasn’t going to warn me properly but he didn’t want to spoil my surprise. This year I got to see it first hand. After they finished his haircut he dipped something in a liquid lit it on fire and then proceeded to tap it back and forth around his head to burn off the stray hairs. There are pictures.
After the haircut Paul asked him how much and handed him a 10 Lira bill. The man shook his head, reached into Paul’s wallet and instead took out a 5 Lira bill. That’s right – best haircut Paul has ever had – $3.24.
It was my turn next and Paul went to get drinks and he asked the barber if he wanted a beer. I shouted “No!” as the man was about to straight razor my face! So he got 2 beers and 2 sodas.
The shave was amazing. I had a lot of beard already and he didn’t pre-trim it he just lathered me up (on water he had to heat with a propane heater) and started to shave me. It was great – very few nicks and he was able to stop the bleeding instantly. Mom – since I know you are reading this – he used a new blade for each one of us. He was a true perfectionist getting the side-burns the exact same length, trimming my eyebrows, and shaping my ears and neck. Then came my turn – with the fire. It didn’t hurt but you know that smell of burning hair? It’s very strange when you know its yours and attached to your face.
Paul was a real joker during my shave. He kept saying things like “Now I know how to get Jared to keep quiet” or other silly things to get me to smile. Come to think of it – Paul is a real jerk! Kidding.
Just like with Paul the barber reached into my open wallet and took only a 5 Lira bill. $3.24!
Then Bert got his shave.
The evening ended with the call to prayer coming from the Mosque and I turned to Paul and said:
“You know what? I know that guy!”
I have to show the Imam the panorama this week.
We went back to the field house and went to bed pretty early because Saturday we are going to the fortress on the mountain.
Breakfast is at 6am the SUV leaves at 6:20am!
Images from Day 4 (also read the captions!)
(click here if you don’t see the image thumbnails)