Our first invitation to a Turkish home

Trip Start Jul 01, 2007
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Trip End Sep 02, 2007


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Thursday, August 2, 2007

We didn't blog yesterday because we were very busy and got home uncharacteristically late. We were late getting home in a good way. Let me explain.

Yesterday we went to the pool in the morning and met up with Josh's friend Amishay (this is not the correct spelling, btw, but the best I could do without a Turkish keyboard) at the beach in the afternoon. Kate and I really enjoyed watching Amishay's mother and father swinging his little brother (maybe 18 months old) to sleep in a towel while singing to him. Afterward he slept on a beach lounge chair for about an hour-so cute! He's just a little round ball of baby in a Speedo.

Amishay's mother and I worked our way through a conversation using a dictionary. When we left, she invited us all over for tea and ice cream at 8pm. We came home and had chicken with fresh tomato sauce and manti (a kind of Turkish tortellini).

We walked over for our date at 8pm and didn't have too much trouble finding the house. We pantomimed and worked our way through some pleasantries. The kids learned how to kiss people on both cheeks for greeting. We also saw a baby swing that holds kids up to about 40 pounds. It was pretty impressive and they use it to swing toddlers to sleep. We walked over to the local minimart and Kate picked out a container of ice cream. After our ice cream, a family friend who speaks English came by to join us for a while and we were able to translate something more like a real conversation for much of the evening and we had a grand time. The kids split their time between playing a backgammon-like game, roaming the neighborhood like wild dogs and playing on the computer. The adults (Amishay's mother, his grandmother and their friend and I) drank tea which is served with a pot that has two compartments. The top brews very strong tea and the bottom holds hot water that is used to dilute the tea to the strength that you like. It's always served with sugar cubes on the side and no milk or lemon. There were also pretzel sticks. We finally rolled on home around 11pm. I think everyone really had a nice time and we all slept very hard.

Kate: Yesterday we went to Josh's beach friend Amishay's house. Amishay and his friend John were waiting for us on his front porch, which made it easier to find the house. Amishay and Josh taught me a game that is played on a backgammon board called, we think, Taula. Each player sets up the board by putting three pieces on the first 3 lines and then two pieces on the next 3 lines. The extra piece goes on the right side. Then you roll the dice to try and move the pieces out in front of each other. After you have done that, you bear off like backgammon. If you roll doubles, you get to bear all of them off. The first player to clear their board wins. I beat Amishay's grandmother 4 games to 3.

While we were there, we walked to a new market that we hadn't been to before and bought some ice cream called Krem Karmel. After we finished it, it smelled of s'mores. After the ice cream, Amishay took us for a nighttime tour of his neighborhood and we went down to the beach at night. It turns out that it is a favorite spot for fishermen at night. It was a long way up and down hills and steps and by the time we got back to the house, our faces were all red. They also served us tea.
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