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More Time on the Beach

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

 

Hello all,

 

After my weeklong trip to the beach for Bayram, I returned home for just two nights before packing up again. For the past four days my entire group of 16 has been on yet another beach (this one on the Aegean Sea) staying at a tiny family owned pansiyon. 

 

We weren't exactly in a village, as the nearest market was 25 minutes away and all the food was either caught fresh or grown in the backyard garden (except the bread which was delivered daily). It was just another weekend in one of the worlds many paradises. 

 

 

Like an idiot, I forgot to actually take a picture of our pansiyon, but these pictures were literally taken from the entrance (notice the sunset).

 

We were on the far west coast of Turkey, on the Aegean Sea. The people in this area are famous among Turks for their laid back ways. We would often be trying to set up our schedule and our events would be scheduled for times like "after the sunset," "in the afternoon," and "whenever I wake up." We even ran into a little bit of a hiccup when we were set for a 9 am breakfast the morning after daylight savings. When our directors mentioned this to Ümur (one of the pansiyon workers) he denied that such a thing even existed. As you might be able to guess, the pansiyon didn't have a clock at all. 

 

Conor and I with the portly Ümur, who's concept of time is based entirely on when he gets hungry. My kinda guy. 

 

The Aegean coast is also one of the world capitals for olive oil. In fact, most "Italian" olive oils we buy in the states are mostly Turkish. Since the Turks have no concept of branding, they harvest and process their olives, only to ship them over to Italy, where they are blended with no more than 10% Italian oils. They are then bottled and sold as Italian olive oil, but in reality, most of it comes from Turkey. 

 

So, in the spirit of the lands, the group went out to our pansiyon's private olive field and spent one afternoon picking them, which was a total blast and in about 2 hours we harvested 96 kilos of olives to be processed into oil. 

 

 

Life in the real world Olive Garden

 

We even had the privilege of touring the factory that presses the olives into oil. 

 

 

They start by being separated from their leaves

 

They are then washed and sent down into a presser

 

Through some technique that I didn't fully understand, they are able to mash the fruit of the olive while separating out the pit and skin

 

They then press the fruit and filter the remains. The darker pool on the left is the leftovers, and the golden pool on the right is the olive oil. 

 

The end product is golden goodness

 

They then dump all the leftovers (pits,skins, and fully pressed fruits) in the back. They sell this big pile of stuff to families, who use it to heat their homes in the winter. The olive leftovers actually have a higher caloric value than coal, so it is both cleaner and better at heating than fossil fuels. 

 

This is what the pile of dirt is up close. You can still see some pieces of pits and stuff in my hand. 

 

We even had a little tasting of different types of olive oil. The water bottle on the far left is the made from the olives that we picked ourselves. 

 

The pansiyon's owner Coškun (pronounced Joshkuhn) was so pleased with our harvest that he invited our entire group to the village wedding party that was happening that night (village is used to represent every person living nearby. Basically if you can hear about events in the village, then you are a part of them). It's pretty rare for a group of Americans to be invited to something like that and it was a total delight. All the women were dressed in very traditional garb. 

 

Apparently at Turkish weddings the women all get out and dance....

 

While the men stand on the outside and smoke cigarettes. 

 

However, I was dancing and I got to meet the bride and groom themselves

 

The village was thrilled to have American visitors, and we were welcomed ceremoniously.

 

We also got to visit a number of cool ruin sites including the ancient city of Troy. Troy is roughly 5000 years old, and is made famous by Brad Pitt. 

 

And of course it's horse. 

 

Otherwise we sorta just hung out on the beach, and passed the days by slowly. Honestly, we were there for 3 days and I totally understand why these people don't use clocks, it's so relaxing to not have to worry about time. Ironically, my watch broke while I was there, which I am interpreting as a sign from the Gods that I can continue ignoring the hours. 

 

Some more pictures:

 

We had a big BBQ, and they taught us some great Turkish recipes for appetizers (watch out Mom, I'm gonna come home and be a master chef). 

 

 

We also ate the best ice cream I've had in Turkey. 

 

As well as a cheese desert called Peynir Helva. These Turks really do know what's what when it comes to desert. 

 

 

Conor and I at the Assos ruins (Greek). And yes, I did wear the kitten shirt to a 3000 year old historic site. 

 

Sooner or later I'll actually spend some time in class or something.

 

From where time is whatever you want it to be,

Griff

 

Griffin
Marketing • Boulder, CO

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