Sunday, July 13, 2008

Just a Bowl of Cherries

Current Location: Finike, Turkey
Current Position: 36 17.63 N 30 08.98 E
Next Destination: Turkey Coast (between Finike & Marmaris)

At last we made it through the Red Sea … another body of water under our belts and a huge sigh of relief. While Egypt may have tested my patience at times, the Red Sea as a whole was fantastic. Yes, we had to work for it and yes we got pounded a few times, but in the end I’m happy we decided to go through the Red Sea. I feel that it was a very unique opportunity and that I have now seen a different view of a somewhat conflicted part of the world.

We arrived in Finike, Turkey on July 5th. Already I’m in love. Green hills, blue water, puffy white clouds, and more fresh fruit than one could ever eat. We’ve been in the marina longer then we intended (don’t we just always seem to get stuck) … the downside is we will owe a small fortune when we go to leave, but on the upside, we were around for the Saturday market. What you may not know about me is that I’m obsessed with food. So a large market of goods I haven’t seen in awhile really “floats my boat”.

Fabulous. That’s the word for it. The first thing that hits you is the smell … gorgeous scents lofting through the air – seriously it smelled sooo good I feel that only a poet could accurately describe it. The peaches alone made my mouth water, and when we bit into one right then and there, juices dripped off our chins and both us could hardly contain our moans. I’m sure the local vendor now thinks Americans have never tasted a peach before! Honestly, I’ve NEVER eaten such a tasty peach.

Next up were the cherries. WOW! Oh man they are so good – we got a whole kilogram. And capsicums (bell peppers to those back home) … finally nice firm, un-wilted capsicums and they had red ones too (my favorite). Fresh basil and huge piles of spices were around every corner. And there was real lettuce, not just cabbage! Apples, pears, plums, grapes, and oranges … the list just goes on and on. To top it all off, not only were the prices listed (so we knew we weren’t getting the ‘white price’), but things were very affordable too. I thought for sure I had it wrong when I got a gigantic bag of cucumbers (probably 20 small guys) for only 1 lyre! [We later learned that Russia had recently banned certain Turkish produce imports, so there was a surplus supply. Luckily the ban has just been lifted, so business should get back to normal for the locals].

It was the kind of market where we could just hold out some money and know the vendor would only take what was due! I probably went overboard, we’ll now have to eat fresh fruits and vegetables ten times a day to ensure nothing goes bad … but it was so fantastic I couldn’t help myself.

There were also stalls of goat cheeses, yogurt, & olives, warm breads, and roasted nuts. Everyone was friendly, offering up tastes & samples. It was so colorful we came back an hour later with the camera. As always we were cautious with the photo taking, always asking for permission. It’s interesting the mixed responses you get, some people are very adamant with a strong “NO”, while others want you to take multiple photographs of them. Many thought I was strange when I focused the camera on the fruits & vegetable rather than the people … I mean who hasn’t seen a bunch of tomatoes before???

As Chris and I sit in the cockpit with a bowl of cherries between us we can’t help but think of the old saying, “Life’s just a bowl of cherries”. Ain’t it true???

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