Hamam and impromptu birthday party

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


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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

As Nanny is winding up her stay, we are trying to mark the last few things off our "to-do" list. One of them was for me to go down to the Bodrum hamam on my own and luxuriate for an hour or so. Nanny and the kids left for the beach at the same time I got in the car and headed south. I parked in the lot next to the hamam and walked down to the castle to try again to pick up Nanny's jewelry. No luck: Monday is his day off. Then I trekked back up the hill to the hamam where I was happy to get clean. I picked a quiet day/time because I was the only person on the marble slab sweating it all out. It gave me the opportunity to consider the notion that it would be an excellent place to do an NPR audio post card. There were so many different water sounds going on. There was a steady flow of water from the brass tap into the cracked sink below, the sharp slap of the wet peshdemal (Turkish hamam towel) onto the marble slab and the splash of water being flung against super-heated skin from a plastic bowl. If you had really good hearing, I guess you could also pick up the drips of sweat slipping down and off your body. At any rate, I'm adding that to my notion about another good audio post card. At Hieropolis there was a walkway made up of broken pieces of marble that made distinct and musical clinks as people walked across them. While I am outfitted with plenty of excellent camera gear, I don't have much for recording decent quality sound--oh well.

Back to the hamam. I got the whole shebang including the massage and it was excellent. I also learned that the Turkish word for shower is "doosh." The only downside of getting the oil massage is that they do it after you are all clean so you leave feeling pretty greasy. I can't complain though.

My other errand that I had to run was to pick up a birthday present for Amishay. He turned 10 yesterday, so he's only 2 weeks older than Josh. I really don't have a great sense of where to buy things here--there are so many tourist trap places--so I headed back to MM Migros where I hit the jackpot. They had some toys and some PC games. We knew that Amishay likes computer games so I picked out one that Josh has and likes called Age of Empires that allows you to build and defend an empire. I think Rome and the Aztec civilizations are two choices. It was 10 Lira, which I thought was a pretty good price.

When I returned home I caught the kids at the bottom of the hill and they were delighted to hop in the car and drive past Nanny up to the house. I had asked them to find out what time the tentatively planned party was going to start when they were at the beach. They learned that Amishay changed his mind and decided to have his party when he got home so he could invite his school friends. Oh well. During the afternoon we met and hung out with one of our landlords while he was working in his garden at our house. We offered cold, water, juice and advice and he gave us a diversion. Dinner was a baked chicken again because we like the chickens here so much--maybe they are free-range, I don't know.

After dinner we wrapped up Amishay's game with a few of the ring pops that we brought and walked down the hill to drop off his gift. We arrived as they were finishing dinner and they hopped up, despite our strong protests, to make four additional seats at the table (Nanny stayed home) and served us Ayran (a salty yogurt drink), kofte (Turkish meatballs) and pasta. We ate as much as we could to be polite, but we were all still pretty full from dinner. The next thing we knew, Amishay's grandparents and his little brother hopped in the car to go buy a cake. Tea was poured, neighbors were beckoned to come up from the street and we were in the middle of an impromptu birthday party. I think by the time all was said and done there were more than 20 people. We met our friend Eileen's brother and his family (his wife is Welsh) and a few other people. The Welsh woman, Victoria, commented that Turkish people frequently cook more than they need at meals because you never know if you might want to feed an extra 4 people who walk by. She said she thinks that's why they have bigger pots and bowls than folks in the UK do; an interesting idea.

Amishay loved his gift (excellent luck) and the kids played that for a while. People wandered in and out and we finally cut loose to go home after learning a few more Turkish words and eating some watermelon, about 10:30. It's important to be flexible here. You never know when you are going to leave for 30 minutes and be gone for 4 hours. It's all great. We love it.

Alex: There are lots of little kittens and cats here and we have named every single one of them. Yesterday we finished our cat puzzle that mom bought us. It says "Catworld" and it has all these cats. One of them is named Turkish Von Can. Now that's what I call ironic!
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