One Night in Anatolia: Jam Session/BBQ 2012

Another blazing hot morning here on the Anatolian Plains...

I've my morning coffee and lounging on my lanai (deck in Hawaiian) overlooking the Yeni Cami (New Mosque in Turkish) and the small rise that is Karataş neighborhood. Admittedly, the view looks much better at night... All I see now, in the searing sunlight, is a sea of rectangular apartment buildings separated only by some shrubbery strewn about here and there... So, this is the setting for this morning's blog.

Today's title is a tribute to Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" film that I watched this past week. The plot: a group of men (suspects, police, ditch diggers w/shovels,etc) set out one dark evening in search of a body somewhere on the Anatolian steppes. It is one long night that evolves from a simple crime viewers don't yet know about to intense character development through little language, but with excellent cinematography. Village people are called up to prepare a late feast for the weary crime solvers, etc.

There are but a few females in the movie, yet the movie is most definitely about females as the few scenes they appear in are full of moody, uncomfortable, perhaps unassuming intensity. The ending is outrageous in its silence- the last 5 minutes anyway. Unexpected and it blew me away. The abrupt ending adds to its intrigue. Ceylan leaves viewers wanting more. I will say it is an intellectual movie and the moviegoer that is looking for fast-paced action will become disenchanted quite rapidly. Too bad for them that they couldn't see the layers of depth of this slowly evolving film...

I digress, back to my moving picture show- One Night in Anatolia: Jam Session 2012. Now this show evolved rather quickly in contrast. To set the scene, last weekend I bought a small BBQ as I have a large lanai (remember, "deck" in Hawaiian). At our lovely Tuesday Farmer's Market I purchased a shit ton (Urban Dictionary defines as, "a lot of a certain thing, can be used as an estimated numerical reference") of vegetables in anticipation of grilling them on the BBQ. I got this brainstorm the previous weekend at Elizabeth's flat in Ortaköy (a lovely Bosphrous neighborhood in Istanbul) when she hosted a BBQ on her deck for Miss Vicki's birthday.

So Solo_ojo & Wardo were over at my flat playing music, and it just evolved from there. Grilled veggies and hamburgers were soon at our fingertips- along with the requisite Efes Unfiltered beers- which only us yabancı partook in... Some other co-stars soon appeared and a good time was had by all. It was one of those rare Anatolian evenings where I suddenly really felt at home here in the Cradle of Civilization.

This place is, after all, off the beaten track. Not many 'yabancı' (foreigner in Turkish) visit this area let alone settle here and work... Yet it is this very reason that I do enjoy this place. An oxymoron I suppose. It's all here, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful...

Of course, it is Ramazan (the Muslim holy lunar month of fasting), so all the denizens here are extra animated in the evenings, after polishing off a scrumptious Iftar (the meal for breaking of the daily fasting at sundown). Everybody stays up extra late and eats/drinks into the night because once sunrise occurs, the fasting begins again. As well, these past few years Iftar has occurred during the hot summers so this is extra difficult with no drinking even water during daylight.

Now, I will say one thing about charcoal briquets here in the Fertile Crescent... It is most important to buy ONLY the expensive ones. I bought the cheaper ones and suffered from my shopper indiscretion immensely... Must have spent 20 minutes glued to the BBQ simply trying to keep the flame alive with lighter fluid as the coals did not want to comply with their job description. At any rate, I prevailed, yet I was unable to indulge in the Jam Session 2012 with my ukulele (a Hawaiian stringed instrument).

End result: a good time was had by all. I had my first successful BBQ here in Gaziantep! All attendants were happy and full. Now, I do like to have a cozy flat filled with memories from all my flats I have lived in around the globe. Davido noticed this immediately and commented as such. This, of course, always makes the hostess smile. On this note, it seems most EFL teachers like to live rather frugally- as well with furnishings. Of course I do not understand this concept. no matter where I live, I like to feel 'comfy'. If not, you never really feel part of the community as I understand things.

So, I'll leave you with some documentation of the evening. Not much character development in my moving picture show mind you. That is insider information for this post I suppose. :

the stage

shadow play: hostess


evening slowly evolving

bright lights, big city

reflections upon bright lights, big city...

my foot as an accompaniment



Yeni Cami

my perspective