Up and out early in the little town that the D-K Turkey Guide thought was a real prize, but it’s not a big market town (in spite of the name Baypazari— “Pazar” is where our word “bazaar” comes from and usually means “market,” but perhaps “Bay” is the Turkish word for mediocre).
The usual collection of stuff spilling out of stores onto sidewalks, but nothing terribly interesting.
You may not have expected a report on shovels, but you would have been wrong about that.
I’ve been hoping to catch a picture of the shovels here as they have these very interesting (and much easier on feet or shoes) cross pieces for standing on to put more oomph into the digging.
And clearly, you can also buy just a replacement little platform, too.
Another way they are smarter than we are.
I did sneak a couple of street shots to show you a couple of cultural things.
Here’s a very typical older woman doing her early AM shopping. I wanted to share what most of the older local women wear. In the cities, rather than towns or villages, they are more apt to wear ankle-length long coats.
And here’s a cultural change pictureâ€”not a great shot at all, but it shows three young women— two dressed in a pretty standard western culture outfit, the third a little more traditional and the older generation wearing traditional clothing.
You just kind of wonder how many of the current cohort of twenty-something young women will wind up dressing like the older women dress now.
When I hit the main square about 6:30, it was full of the little local busses (dolmus) and they were just about exclusively full of traditionally dressed women (some with huge loads of stuff in plastic gunny sacks almost the size of a traditional bale of hay) and there were about 35 guys clumped by age, generally, standing around on the sidewalks.
And I watched for a while, and the busses pulled out for all over the region, and the guys just hung around smoking and visiting for over an hour, until after I went in to eat breakfast and pack up to go.
I was talking, E-T/T-E dictionary out and being used on both sides, with the young (modern dress) woman at the hotel reception desk about the social situation.
She got to the word on the T-E side that meant “rural.” Then the Turkish word that means “traditional.”
So I wrote
on a piece of paper and she agreed.
There used to be a joke that ran like this:
“We are about to land at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Please re-set your watches to 1973.”
but this is a lot more than that.
Put ‘Er There, Pardner
I headed out across country, mostly south then west, through some pretty Wyoming landscapeâ€”some green fields, some rocky hills but I’m pretty sure I never saw a marble quarry in Wyoming.
So, you want buy pot?
And I’m bombing along, going through a little town called Sorken, and here’s all these people tending some pretty odd firesâ€”and it’s about 80 to start with.
There were about three different fires with different groups of people tending them, and were about 800 square feet eachâ€” 20 by 40 and so I went back.
Well, of course, it was the women tending the fires and the guys supervising and they were firing terra-cotta pots.
And so I’m schmoozing with them in my 80 words of Turkish and the Tourist Pantomime and I learned they fire them like this for about five hours and then the pots have to sit for about a week, and then get sold at the little stand down by the road.
And yes, I bought (a) pot.
When I got the pot, the kid who spoke the most English said,
“Thanks, very thanks,”
which is probably way ahead of where my Turkish is even after almost two months.
At a larger town, where I ate lunch, there was a really old mosque, and I was the only one in there, and it’s got wooden posts rather than the standard masonry columns.
More Authentic Stuff
And on my way into town I drove past something in the road that looked like a scrap of a rug, but I did a double-take, turned around and drove back to check it out as it seemed a little more than a scrap.
And there was a guy standing there by the side of the road, and I figure he’d lost it off his truck, and he’d gone back to get it.
But when I went back, circling past it again, he hadn’t moved and he’d had every chance â€” no traffic except me orbiting the thing, other than the big truck that drove over it on its way past, so I pulled another U-turn and stopped and scooped it up.
And this is it.
It’s about 1 by 3 feet, and is made from old rug scraps, and each end is double with an opening in the edge facing into the center, so it’s a kind of donkey saddlebags, except the ends are pretty flat, so there’s not a lot of room for a lot of stuff.
Here’s one end,and here’s the other.
And here’s about what you get for $25 in Eskisehir, Turkey. There’s a nice three-star bathroom, too, and wi-fi in the room.
Homage to Susan
As I was bombing along in the hills today, I went past a very old Muslim cemetery that was full of irises, and I remembered the drizzly, rainy Saturday last year when Susan and I were coming back from Mostar, in Bosnia, and had just finished shooting some kids and a huge wisteria in this town along the road, and we’re just hitting the road again when she starts sliding the car to the side of the road, hitting the turn signals, down-shifting, and braking all at the same time.
“What?” I said.
“Muslim cemetery,” she said. “Full of irises.”
So were out in the damp weeds and wet grass shooting irises for almost an hour.
It was great.
And finally, a couple of what I’d call “workshop images” to round out the day.
Originally written for Two Minutes in Turkey