Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Dalyan, Mediterranean Paradise

Iztuzu Beach, Dalyan nesting place for endangered Caretta Caretta turtles    

In the morning, between 8:30 and 9:30, 3 huge old Nile turtles come up to the dock on the river to be fed.  They love cheese and hard-boiled eggs.  They talk to us.  A garglely throaty hiss.  All around them schools of tiny fish and little fish and medium-size fish dart this way and that,

and across from the dock ancient Pontic tombs carved into the cliff-side loom in mystery.

As he throws pieces of egg to the turtles, my friend Ferhan wonders aloud as to why the Kings were buried there.  He says that maybe when he's ready to die he'll climb into one of the tombs and rest with the kings. 

Little boats slide down the river on their way to the sea.

The public boat to Iztuzu beach stops at the dock for me.  I climb in, take a seat at the front.  The boat slips through channels of high grasses.  Ciffs with Pontic tombs to our right, lilac-misted mountains to our left.

Tonight, back in the little town by the river, I'll eat fresh mussels stuffed by the lady across the road and watch the sunset on the river.

Monday, 6 August 2012

         Summer Fruit in Turkey    Oh the JOY     of Summer Fruit in Turkey      Oh the JOY!

Peach juice is dripping down my chin.  Down my right arm.  I stand over the kitchen sink slurping ecstatically, sucking the sweet juice from a ripe peach the size of a small melon.  A peach rosy and firm and juicy. 

The peaches have been fabulous this year.  Bigger than I've ever seen peaches.  Deeper in color and flavor.

And the cherries.  Well, it's been a bumper crop.  Dark burgundy red, almost purple cherries.  Firm and sweet and juicy with an intense flavor that screams the very essence of cherryness.  There's always a bowl chilling in my fridge.

And the melons? I am almost speechless as to the joy of melons.  But I must shout to the heavens - like liquid sunshine and honey injected into an ugly rough tan globe.  Or the ones that are hard on the outside, striated in green and yellow, and inside a pale green that flows into an apricot yellow as it nears its center.  A taste that personifies ultimate palatal delight.

And all so cheap from my local manav, greengrocer's which is run by a Kurdish family.  When I walk in one man always shouts: "Hello Madame!"  He says something in Turkish and asks how to say it in English.  I fill my backpack with fresh produce, pay the equivalent of $5, and saunter the shady back streets, through the hot sticky Istanbul  afternoon, to devour my produce at home.  In complete and utter joy