3.17.2013

Mystic Coffee in Konya



So I've been Turkey Trotting this weekend. This time to Konya.  I'm presently dreading the return trip tonight. We are taking refuge in Starbucks doing some work, etc before we have to hop on the all-nighter bus back to where we dwell in  Gaziantep.

Konya, like most cities in Turkey, has a beautiful historic district. From an outsider POV, the rest of most cities appear very much the same; a sea of apartment buildings dotted with strip-like malls. Much like suburban America I suppose. 

Getting around Konya is quite easy. There is an excellent tramvay that passes directly by the otogar for a most efficient and pleasant travel experience. It even runs 24 hours-which came in handy since we arrived in Konya at 5am. As we were riding on the tram, sunrise came and went and it was quite a mystical experience. I knew the weekend was going to be smashing at this point. 

We got off the tram and started sleep-walking towards our Rumi Hotel. We were ready to play hardball with them as check-in time isn't until 10 am, but the dude was totally cool and we were snuggled into our beds by 7 am and soon sleeping soundly. After an 8+ hour bus ride, which included lots of restless sleeping, it is still an awkward experience. Bus travel in Turkey is as good as it gets anywhere that I've travelled, yet it's never really 'restful.' 

Now, I'm pretty good about bus travel. My mobile medicine cabinet is top notch, quite efficient and vast- as I know my needs: minimal amounts of water, ear plugs, toe socks and flip flops, 1 800 mg ibuprofen, 1/2 a muscle relaxant OR 1/2 a Valium for maximum sleep, sunglasses, chapstick, iPod with jazz, a scarf, Tiger Balm and a blow-up pillow.  That pretty much covers it - in terms of being as comfortable as possible. Also a commanding presence (more necessary when traveling alone) helps. I'll just leave that last one like that and you all can interpret it as you like. 

So we were up and at it on Saturday morning and headed straight out to get some food. We had a few good leads -especially 1 from the guy at the information center. He told us to find this traditional Ottoman Era food restaurant. It was a bit of a search, but well worth our efforts! The food was insane. So delicious and unusual. Let me just say that after living in Turkey for a few years, the meat selection gets a bit repetitious and boring. Enough so that I could become a vegetarian again very easily...

The weather was super. big blue sky with white, puffy clouds dotting the sky- perfect for a photo op. The day could not have been more brilliant. Shopping was glorious (when isn't shopping glorious for a chick) and I ended up with 3 silk scarves and a load of jewelry - mostly for friends back home in Hawaii... Get ready you guys, cause Holly-Santa isn't coming back empty-handed! By the way, I'll be needing places to stay for long periods of time... 

We spent the day cruising the streets - taking photos and checking out the architecture and walking,walking, walking. I had a mission to hit up the archaeology museum. It was a chore indeed as NOBODY that we asked, which was many, knew where it was. Now, Turkish people are very friendly and want to help you when you ask for help- even if they don't know the answer or in our case, the right direction to head in... I'm talking business people, policemen, 4-star hotel people- NOBODY knew where the archaeology museum was. This seemed so strange to me-especially since Çatalhöyük, the world's oldest Neolithic settlement site, is a mere 30 miles away...

Frustrating, but I prevailed in the end. We finally found it, but it was 5 pm and was closing. I said, "I just want the museum shop" because I at least wanted a book on the site, but the dude said there wasn't one... 

So, exhausted and dejected, we trotted back to our hotel to take a disco-nap and then head out to the Mevlana Sufi cultural center to take in a performance. After a few episodes of Golden Girls (thanks Rasmieyh for that), we headed out in all our finery. I finally wore this totes cool dress I got when I was with Miss Simone shopping last summer on Maui. It is long, black, cap-sleeves and casual-chic. Of course, I only had my converse high tops... But I werked it... One needs confidence to pull this off- as well as a flask filled with rum...

We walked and enjoyed the fresh evening air. Arriving early, we took in a lecture by this Pakistani scholar on Sufism and the story of Rumi and Shemsi al Tabriz- which I already knew. We snuck out to get some prime seats for the show. This is code for easy access seats to leave before the masses would pour out... It was most excellent (mystical) and we did indeed exit stage left in due time. 

Feeling so smug and proud of ourselves, we headed outside on the long-ish walk back to the hotel. Something was different though. It was FREEZING suddenly. Sheepishly, we hailed a taxi and made our way back. 

We were starving at this point and caught a late supper. I finally tried this Etli Ekmek that everybody told me I just had to try... It was decent. I mean, I was hungry and it was food. I can say with fierce honestly that Gaziantep Lamacun is way more awesome with its spicy appeal. Back at the hotel, exhausted, we hung out and watched another Golden Girls episode and passed out. 

Today we headed to the Mevlana Museum. I was kinda snowing out... Weird. We bundled up for another day of sightseeing and headed to Aladdin Camii up on Aladdin Tepebasi. Lots of sweet tea gardens and a view of the city, yet we were yearning for something more... Something called COFFEE. I mean real coffee. R had some work she needed to do, and I can always entertain myself in a Starbucks. Equipped with an iPad, iPod, and iPhone- here we stay awaiting our chariot (Metro Turizm all-nighter bus). L-fez you should be proud of me as I have secured at least a 2-week supply of brown sugar. What can I say, I do partake in some guilty pleasures. R was particularly interested in the Splenda supply as well. So, 'thicker than thieves, we went about our business as usual. 

That's about it with my adventures here folks.