Day 12 – Gonen and Isparta

Day 12 – Saturday – July 23, 2011

I got up a little late on Saturday knowing that I wouldn’t be going up to the mountain.  Today I would be photographing all of the pottery collected so far.  I needed to setup the lighting just right.  Bilge told me that it was laundry day so I packed up all my dirty laundry quickly because this would be my last chance for it.

Shooting pottery is tricky – have to set the light and color just right and the stuff is very small.  You shoot it was the label – without the label – as a group – as individuals – the front – sometimes the back.

Right int he middle of shooting we hear this huge pop and start to smell smoke and burning plastic.  I panic because of all the equipment I have plugged in but its just the light fixture in the room (which has been out already for days so I didn’t realize it was on).  The smell was awful and we had to open the windows to air out the room.

As a backdrop we have been using black poster board but it gets pretty dirty pretty fast because of the pottery and they didn’t have any clean ones so we were going to have to drive into Isparta after lunch to the only office supply store in Isparta to get some extras.

Arzu has really been opening up.  She has always been very friendly – but I think she has been worried about her English.  She also never lets me take her picture.  In the middle of shooting she turns to me and says “When are you going to take my picture?”  I laughed and said I had been trying and she said that she would let me know when she felt her hair was right.

As we walked to lunch (we eat at this little restaurant across the way that is normally closed during the summer and where the prepare our food) dreaming of various foods Arzu said “I want Burger King”.  Me too.  We were joined for our lunch of veggies and rice (or in my case rice) by the other Turkish students who had come down from the mountain due to the appearance of some dogs.  They aren’t wild dogs but worse they are sheep herding and I guess very territorial without the shepherds around.  Funnily the Germans stayed up on the mountain to do more scans and no one was sure why it was ok for them to stay but not the others.

As I ate my rice thinking about what I would be eating  in a few days – they brought out the next best thing to pizza. Left over pizza!  Oh it was just what I needed!

As I sit at lunch I like to watch the people as they go by.  We rarely see pedestrians or bicycles.  We normally see cars and either motorcycles or mopeds that are packed with people and things.  Its amazing what we have seen come by on a motorcycle – family of four – a father and a baby – 2 guys and shovel!  Because the area is rural we often see tractors going by as transportation – especially on market day you will see tons of people riding a tractor or a motorcycle pulling a wagon – whatever it takes to get people to the market!

So we drove into Isparta for posterboard – it was me Bert, Arzu and our driver Yusuf.  Yusuf is a great guy and every time I even look at something out the window (and especially when I point my camera out the windows) he slows down or stops.  Its funny – it is helpful but it doesn’t always help.  I told Arzu we should make him take us to Burger King but she thought better of it.

We stopped at a little corner store which I am told is the only place in Isparta to buy poster board and got some thing black sheets of paper for 0.30TL each.  I also got another little notebook to take notes in.

Arzu had other errands to run in Isparta and every time we pulled over you could feel how hot it was.  I was beginning to wonder if the rental car even had AC and then Yusuf started to blast it on me.  It was great.  But the moment we started moving again – the windows came down and it turned off.  I don’t think its the gas either I think its just cultural – windows down – air flowing.

Driving around Isparta was fun – at one point we saw these cars wrapped in flowers and ribbons honking loudly – it was a wedding party and they were driving and taking photos.  I guess they drive through town kinda like a parade to show off.

Arzu stopped at the butcher’s to pick up dinner but we had to wait so we circled the block a few times.  They showed me yet another Hamam in Isparta and a soup restaurant in the shape of a boat (which I swear was a boat) and a fleet of Domino’s Motorcycles (they deliver).  All of the sudden Arzu jumps up very excited – the car pulls over and she runs out and gives Merve (one of the Turkish students at the site) a hug – Merve hops in the car and we drive her three blocks and drop her off again.  It was totally unplanned – we literally just bumped into her!

At the gas station on the way home I got some think that looked like malted milk balls (even in the same type of container) but they weren’t and a pomegranate sparkling water that was very good (so was the not-malted milk balls).

Dinner was very fun.  The German professor Kai and his daughter Amelia joined us.  I like Amelia because she is very sweet and he German is slow enough that I can sometimes understand her.

The schnitzel was awesome!  The flavor was so unique! It was totally covered in seasonings.  Bilge told me that the butcher puts it on but that she has her own direction of what she has him put on it.  We also had fries and salad and smoked eggplant – which I know was smoked cause she made me taste it – and yes I still do not like eggplant.

They kept feeding us – I had three helpings – Uygar had four!

As we sat around we could hear a party coming from the area that they have the bazaar.  Bilge said it was a village wedding and that if we wanted we could go.  We all decided it sounded fun and as we got closer Bilge said that there were in fact two celebrations one was a rehearsal dinner and the other a real wedding.  The rehearsal dinner was fun and it was packed with people.

We then went to the wedding.  It was even more packed.  Bilge said that it was wedding season because people don’t get married during Ramadan.  We watched the dancing at the second wedding (which filled the bazaar area) and this kid came around to offer us wedding cake (we all passed).  Of course who do we run into at the wedding? Abdullah!  He told Bert that he was a cousin or something.

Bilge was very pleased.  She explained that the dancing was very traditional – we watched the father dance with each other and everyone having a good time.  There was a DJ who I thought was mixing everything but when I watched carefully I noticed that he was singing live and playing the keyboard to some backing tracks – it really was a one man show – and very good.

Before we left Bilge handed someone an envelope which contained a present from us and we went back to the field house. Sunday is technically my day off but since I leave on Monday Bilge said we would discuss my day at breakfast.

It was a beautiful starry night and I tried to get some picture of it before I went to bed.

I took some video at the rehearsal and the wedding – just a few samples for flavor:

Images from Day 12 (also read the captions!)
(click here if you don’t see the image thumbnails)