Saturday, July 30, 2011

Back tracking, in Turkey

We spent the month of June in southeastern Turkey working on the excavation again. As always, the work is exciting and the adventures are plentiful. The afternoon we spent at the tiny village where many of the workmen who are hired to help excavate the site are from captures the simple joys of our time spent in Turkey:

The village is perched above a dramatic section of the Tigris river and offers stunning views.
After a warm welcome, the archaeologists were invited to sip tea with the village men.
We nibbled on sweet apricots picked off a nearby shady tree.
The village children sat and watched the scene from a distance.
Meanwhile, my son refused to stay still, excited by the chance to practice his newly acquired skill of chasing down, capturing, and coddling baby chicks (and turkeys) to the dismay of the mother hens, and the laughter of the village ladies.
The ladies of the village weren't quite invisible.
They would peer out the windows of the two story concrete house, or stay busy at their work around the cozier mud brick houses.
One striking woman was squatting as she checked on the sheep's milk cheese she was making, which simmered in a large metal pot over an open fire.
We stayed until the sun started to set.
Heartfelt farewells were exchanged as the time came to head to our own village- the archaeologists and workmen had become good friends over the years.
It was dinner time but we had a forty minute drive ahead us.
We were given loaves of homemade bread to keep our stomachs from growling on the dusty drive home.
Bread in mouth, the bumpy dirt road lulled my boy to sleep, stretched out long on the back seat of the minivan.
He fought hard to keep his eyes open so he could take in the endless fields of wheat, corn and cotton that we drove past. He never tires of talking about what he sees out the window, or looking for tractors and the big wheat harvesters he loves so much.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Back tracking, in Rome

I have been away in Turkey again, which I hope explains my long absence. But here I am back in Sicily with a chance to sit down and back track through some summer photos. Being home again feels great - swimming, sun and of course granitas! But several months ago before going to Turkey we spent a few days in Rome, where the cool beverage of choice is an icy grattachecca. We were lucky because it had just gotten warm enough to crave the sweet and sour combination of a limon-cocco shaved ice, one our favorite Roman treats. We made the walk to the father-son grattachecca stand in our old neighborhood. The father's job is to shave the solid block of ice by hand to create a cupfull of the crunchy coldness. The son then gets to work on flavoring the ice with plenty of sugary syrup, the juice of several freshly squeezed lemons, and a handful of fresh chunks of coconut meat. This is more of an edible beverage than a drinkable one (both spoon and straw are needed), and it really cools you down during those hot Roman summers. If you are not a lemon-coco fan (you have to try it at least once, really!) there are other combos with fresh fruit bits or the full range of flavoured syrups to pick from. Okay, now I'm craving something cold, maybe its time for a granita!