The Kurban Bayrami Trip!

From 1 to 4 February is is ‘Kurban Bayrami’ or the ‘Feast of Sacrifice’, commemorating the biblical time when Abraham was going to sacrifice his son for God but then saw a ram with with his horns tangled in the bushes and sacrificed the ram instead. This is one of the two main religious feasts/holidays in Turkey. The other is the end of the holy month of Ramazan (Ramadan) which, for 2004, will occur in November.

For Kurban Bayrami, every adult male or head of household traditionally sacrifices a sheep, goat or cow, killing the animal in a specified fashion. In the period leading up to the holiday herds of animals are commonly seen on vacant suburban land waiting to be sold. Some meat is consumed by the family and the remainding meat and skin is donated to the poor or charity. Some families, particularly in cities in western Turkey, forgo the sacrifice and instead donate money directly to the charities.

Like the end of Ramazan, Kurban Bayrami is a time of travel, of visiting friends and family. If they live in different areas of Turkey, often, this is the only time in the year when people see their extended families. This holiday, most of my neighbour’s family are reuniting together in Mersin from several parts of Turkey. I won’t be there as tonight I am on the bus to Denizli, southwestern Turkey. Choosing the trip was a difficult decision as I love my neighbours. In the end,

For the next five days I will travel with 4 Adana-based international AIESEC trainees. The plan is to visit the world heritage listed Pamukkale followed by the ancient city of Ephesus, Bodrum, Fethiye, Antalya….wherever else… The other participants are planning to travel until next weekend. I am coming back Thursday morning to hold up the fort at work. On Thursday and Friday there will be only 3 workers in the office instead of the usual 6 and only 1 English speaker (myself).

Personally, I am not overly concerned about the sights we see on the trip. My main attraction is travelling with some fun people and getting out of the office for a while.

This will be my first real travel since the trip to Syria in September!

Bayraminiz kutlu olsun!

Happy Holiday!

Speaking of culinary matters…

Taner, the university student son of my neighbours has arrived back in Mersin for the holidays.

On Monday night I ate dinner with Taner and his family. Along with the fantastic moussaka-style eggplant with mince and tomato sauce was a form of pickled broccoli. I had never eaten broccoli like this. Taner (who turned 22 yesterday – happy birthday!!!) also had not eaten broccoli in this style. In fact, this was his first time EVER eating broccoli!

Broccoli was also new for his family and they asked me if I had eaten it before and how it could be cooked. They even wanted me to cook some for them. I plan to do so after the holiday coming up. Broccoli is not uncommon in Mersin and I was amazed Taner had not eaten it before.

The Great Muesli Heist!

Well, no heist really. I only wanted to make an interesting headline about muesli.

Why muesli?

I am in 7th heaven as I have made my own muesli. I waited a week or two for my local market to receive in ‘yulaf ezmesi’ (rolled oats). Ismael abi ordered it especially for me. Yesterday, they finally had it!

Along with rolled oats, my muesli contains:

-sultanas

-almonds

-sesame seeds

-dried apricot

-walnuts

-dried fig; and, best of all,

-hazelnuts

It tastes so good, particularly when topped off with sliced fresh banana!

YUM, YUM, YUM!!!!!

Happy Monday at Work Day!

Allegedly, today is Australia Day. I say allegedly because I did not realise this until I checked a favourite website of mine http://www.themusic.com.au and it was not updated – even after refreshing the page!

I then checked the date and thought, of course, it is Australia Day!

I don’t have anything planned for today. I am much more interested in Kurban Bayrami, beginning on the weekend. I will explain more about this later.

Happy Australia Day to anybody who cares!

Rain

On Thursday it rained continuously until the early evening. In the afternoon I drove Serkan around the city to help him with his duties. Several times it seemed like we were almost aquaplaning. The car (Renault Toros) would not operate properly on LPG so I had to swap it over to petrol.

The Canadian Ambassador Came To Town

On Tuesday night I went with Sevil to the Hilton for a ‘cocktail’ reception with the Canadian Ambassador, Mr. Michael Leir. Accompanying the Ambassador was Mr. Francois Lasalle, the Second Secretary (Commercial). They had come from Ankara to promote Canada and Canadian business. The others in attendance were businessmen, the 3 main mayoral candidates in the upcoming election and 3 or 4 Canadian teachers and partners from the Tarsus American College, Tarsus. One of the partners, Barry, had followed his wife from Qatar where he was working in materials management for a liquid natural gas (LNG) company. I enjoyed chatting with other native English speakers for a change.

Some thoughts I brought from the night:

-How many people do Ambassadors have to sincerely meet and greet each year, even though he/she will never meet almost all of them ever again?

-When will the Australian Ambassador (or any Australian Diplomat) come? I guess I have to ask to find out.