Once again, I seem to be eating. We were traveling through Israel and the West Bank with my sister, who works for a NGO and has spent a lot of time there. She introduced us to shawarma. Seriously good stuff!
We stayed in Jericho in the West Bank for a few nights and had shawarma at a place in town. The restaurant had a cart on the street where they kept the food warm and prepared the shawarma. As we stood there on the street, we watched the tourists drive by in their air-conditioned buses. Sitting high above the streets and looking down on the activity. Never a part of it. Just looking on and not getting to really experience any of it. What a pity, to be so close and miss the opportunity to come to a better understanding of the people in the countries that you are visiting.
Wait a minute, he only had three of the flat bread that he needed. There were four of us. He told us that he needed to get some more. We stood on the sidewalk and talked and watched everything that was going on around us while we waited. The needed bread arrived. We didn’t see how the bread got there but were too hungry to spend much time thinking about it. When I was looking at my photos, I saw the delivery man that brought the bread.
I think we might have been distracted by the truck loads of Palestinian Forces driving by.
Everyone knows that after a good meal a cup of coffee is needed and here’s the guy for you. Starbucks Palestinian style.
Our cruise had a scheduled stop in Kusadasi, Turkey for visiting ancient Ephesus. We signed up for a 4-8 person tour of the historical, Christian sites in the area. As it turned out, we were the only ones that signed up for the tour. What a great deal! For the price of a group tour, we had a guide and driver all to ourselves.
It was one of those days that you remember long after you return home. If we didn’t have the pictures, we might doubt that it had ever happened. Seeing the remains of Biblical Ephesus and the other sites has given us a greater understanding of the Bible. Now when we read about Ephesus, we have pictures to put with it.
One of the things that really made the day was the lunch stop. Our guide asked us if we had any preferences or dislikes and we told him we wanted to try some local foods. He knew just the place. Bizim Ev Hanimeli Restaurant is buffet style serving Turkish food cooked by “Mama”. So many dishes with yogurt, eggplant, zucchini! Did I say that is was fantastic? It was all so good. They have two eating areas: one they seem to steer the tourist groups to and the other seems to be for the locals. You can buy Mama’s cookbook on their website. Sitting outside in the sunshine with the hanging strings of garlic, onions, dried red peppers, and dried eggplant eating food unlike any I had ever eaten was amazing.
Hmm, I might be seeing a pattern here. It seems like I might really enjoy sitting outside, in the sunshine eating or drinking coffee.
I love Europe. I love the architecture and the history. My husband, while he enjoys Europe, loves sunshine. Puerto Rico is the perfect compromise. We flew there in January and I remember splashing through the standing water on the tarmac as we ran to the plane. About seventeen hours later, we disembarked into the sunshine of Puerto Rico.
We spent a week of our time there in a vacation rental close to the El Yunque rain forest. I loved listening to the Coquí frogs and picking grapefruit off of the trees for breakfast. Our “landlord” brought us a variety of things that grow to eat. They seem to eat a lot of roots. Some were good and others were, well, not so good.
From there we moved to a hotel that was close to Old San Juan. We enjoyed exploring the area, visiting the forts, and dreaming of pirates. It was very interesting trying the local cuisine.
One of the memories I treasure most were the breakfasts we shared at Hacienda San Jose. The lazy ocean-front mornings were fantastic. Any time that I can sit and sip coffee and watch water I’m happy.