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In search of culture 文化を探しています

January 27, 2008

There were just some parts of Turkish culture that needed to be experienced. Though I’m a staunch non-smoker, I even tried the nargele or water pipe that is ubiquitous throughout Turkey. Unlike what some people think, the only thing that goes in these is flavoured tobacco, not the wacky-tabacky. Another must do (though I had serious reservations at first) was the Turkish bath and massage. I’m glad I did it in the end. My only regret is that it didn’t last longer.

Basically, you get doused with water and then go lay on a marble slab which is heated from below so that you get the sweat flowing. Next, a burly and hirsute Turkish man exfoliates you with a glove coated in black salt. One more dousing and you’re sent off to another burly, hirsute Turkish gent who gives you a soapy massage. Unless you ask him to be gentle he will also proceed to twist you and bend you in ways you weren’t sure were possible, interspersed with energetic slaps to the body finished off with a hearty slap on the ass. I asked him to be gentle so was spared the twisting and ass slapping. After, you go into the lobby area, huddle around the pot-bellied stove wrapped in towels and drink apple tea as you slowly turn into a puddle.
まず、水をかぶれた。次、あ汗がひつよいので熱い大理石に横たわりました。それから、大きな毛深いトルコ人は黒潮を擦り付けました。次、ほかの大きな 毛深いトルコ人は石鹸のマッサジをくれました。最後、タオルケットと向こうはちまきを着てりんご茶を飲んだ。気持ちよかったです。

Post-puddle, we were off to Ephesus. I had imagined Troy to be more like this: statuary, roadways and building remnants. The façade of the Library of Celsus was by far the most impressive aspect though the ancient public toilets were pretty cool too.

Lunch was something we had all been looking forward to. I understand that buffets are the easiest way to go when travelling but our group members had been wondering where the traditional eateries were. Well, we finally found one. Floor seating on Turkish carpets, nargele and an open kitchen where two portly women made the meals by hand. It was the culinary event we had been waiting for.

Of course, no trip to Turkey would be complete without seeing how the famous carpets are made. We were taken to a place which not only makes and sells the carpets but is a training centre to keep the craft alive. The carpets are beautiful but certainly not cheap; the ones I liked started at £1000. No carpet for me this time.

Post puddleLibrary of Celsus facadeEverywhere, cats!Temple of HadrianToiletsWhat we had all been waiting forHome made vittlesCarpet weaversCarpets

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