Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hocaköy Kurban Bayramı: Photo Essay

Host Family 4 years later...
This week I returned to Hocaköy, to celebrate Kurban Bayramı, the Muslim holiday of sacrifice. I first spent some time in the small village near İnegöl in highschool while doing an exchange program through "EIL," a very positive experience for me that perhaps defined my relationship with Turkey today.  It was fun to return to the village, something that I have done several times since my first trip there.
Hocaköy Playground
The playground I built with my American peers is still standing, and it was exciting to see so many friends including my original host-family from the program.  I was lucky to meet an interesting and like-minded traveler at a couchsurfing meetup in İstanbul. Rahde Franke is traveling the world  on a grant from the Watson Fellowship studying open-fire cooking. His account of the day can be found here. I decided to invite him to come with me to Hocaköy for the holidays as I thought it might be rewarding for him as much of the holiday revolves around meat. . . I really enjoyed my first village bayram, and while it may have a bit tough to bear the sights, smells, and most of all sounds associated with the sacrifice of the two cows that I witnessed, I thought it was an important experience. We so often forget where our food comes from, and it was actually quite nice to see the whole process through personally. Between two hours, I saw a walking cow and then had food in my mouth.  Without further ado, here are some photos of Bayram in Hocaköy, other photos I took in the village that are unrelated to the holiday can be found here.

(There are some rather bloody and graphic photos below, You've been warned.) A very graphic video of the event can be seen here.
3 men begin to wrestle the cow to the ground.

The cow's last minutes as a knife is sharpened

Sisters and mother watch from above.

Preparing for the slaughter.

Alim watches the slaughter

Alim watches the slaughter

Cleaning up

Burak skins as his mother watches proudly

Salting the pelt


Post-sacrificial meat stored in an attic
A truck of disposed cowheads



Returning to Hocaköy: Fall Photos

Oynat, Turkey

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey
Mamara Ferry. Yalova, Turkey. 

A tractor illuminated at night. Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Suat. İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Hocaköy, İnegöl, Turkey. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Walking in Fatih & Fisherman Friends

Today I went to collect my residency permit from the Bus Station to Hell that is the central Istanbul police station. . . After some waiting, I got it and had some time on my hands to walk. I was hoping to walk to Fener or Balat but I got hopelessly lost and suspect I didn't really make it to those areas. I wandered through Fatih and eventually found myself deep in Çarşamba, perhaps one of Istanbul's most religiously conservative areas. While I blend in fairly well where I live in Beyoğlu, I didn't necessarily feel unwelcome in Çarşamba, but certain very much foreign with the shortest beard and the longest hair of anyone in the immediate vicinity.  The experience was a good wake-up call from the trap that so many forigners, including myself, fall into by understanding Beyoğlu as a reflection of Istanbul as a whole.
 Typical fish boat... (Photo by "Nickim")
As I wandered rather aimlessly, I was lucky to see the distant Galata tower in a small exposed bit of sky between buildings. I used this to get my bearings and made my way down to the Golden Horn, an inlet off the Bosporus. As I was walking I spotted a boat advertising "Historical Eminönü Fishery," which is not at all an atypical sight in Istanbul.
The fish boat I found...
This boat was a bit out of place though... first of all it wasn't in Eminönü as its sign said. Also, it lacked the florid decorations that are so closely associated with the classic Eminönü Balık Ekmek sandwich. There were three men eating on the boat and I asked them if I could take their photo. After quite a bit of snapping, I began to leave only to be interrupted by them asking me in Turkish "Where are you going?!" as they beckoned me to come aboard. They fed me fresh hamsi: delicious Turkish fried anchovies and we talked for about 3 hours. One of the men, Yunus, has seen more cities in the US as a sailor than I have, and we got along particularly well.
New Turkish fisherman friends. Arif, Yunus, & "The Captain"

I'm starting to learn after this and the antiques salesman that I met how my camera can be a very good tool in starting conversations that otherwise wouldn't happen. Additionally, such acts of kindness and hospitality have never happened to me in the US, and every time strangers here offer me food and engage me in conversation it is really inspiring to me as no one I've met in the US would act quite the same way.

Here are the day's photos:

Balıkcı. Golden Horn, İstanbul.

Captain Yunus. Golden Horn, İstanbul
Fatih, İstanbul

Fatih, İstanbul
Dönerci & Spectator. Taksim, İstanbul

Tophane, İstanbul

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Photos: Çukurcuma (and some other places...)

Tepebaşı, İstanbul

Avni's Chain Doll. Çukurcuma, İstanbul

Stairs. Galatasaray, İstanbul

Roof Man. Çukurcuma, İstanbul

Scaffolding. Çukurcuma, İstanbul

Window Man. İstanbul

Demonstration & Antiques

poor-quality iPhone Photo
Yesterday the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayip Erdoğan visited my school. Security was incredibly heavy, split between leather coat wearing, pointy shoed secret police guys and storm-trooper style riot police. There was a large demonstration on the quad against his party, the AKP which they chanted "Tayip Amerikaya, Fethullah'ya yanına git!" or "Tayip, goto America by Fetuhllah's side," a reference to a
poor-quality iPhone photo
belief that the Turkish government is highly influenced by the controversial Turkish  preacher of sorts, Fethullah Gülen (who happens to live in Pennsylvania of all places). Eventually the PM left, and some the protesters formed a line directly in front of the riot police's formation, causing them to retreat in a rather anticlimactic fashion.

Today I took a small walk to Çukucuma to take photos, something that I often do on weekends. The area is a center for "antiques," although not the typical kind  that you'd find in tourist bazaars. It's more the salvaged random-junk variety of antique, which I suppose I much prefer over ridiculous overpriced and completely fake "Ottoman artifacts." As   I was walking around, I saw a man through a door, and I approached him asking if I could take his photo, something that in this case led to a two hour long conversation and better photos than the one I had originally hoped to take. Due to really poor lighting, very few of my photos came out well enough to share, but there is one that I'm proud of that I will include in the next post with other new, worthwhile photographic additions.
Interior of antiques warehouse

I entered the warehouse to find a large, damp room full of assorted domestic and industrial detritus. The centerpiece of the room were two large completely wooden objects that looked a lot like horse carts, but turned out to be some kind of wool carding machine (I think). Around the machines were various chairs, the man's very own paintings (some of which from when I was 15), mismatched chairs and couches, blacksmithing tools, and salvaged wooden beams and doors. While at first I could figure out how this was a viable business, I later figured out that all the shops on the street serve different functions, and while this warehouse serves as a clearing house of sorts for newly acquired stuff (for lack of a better word), other nearby shops serve to fix, refurbish, finish or sell the items.

My new friend...
The man I met, spoke with a thick Erzurum accent and was eager to talk to me and patient to speak slowly with me. Our conversation began when he stated enthusiastically, upon learning that I'm from America, "OH! I hate America!" Somehow he seemed to make an exception for me, and we got along quite well.  He gave a Turkish geography lesson by reciting all the cities in Turkey, interspersed with occasional praise for Edger Allan Poe and Salvador Dalí. In the middle of our Turkish chats, he would sometimes break into English and say "Islam... GOOD!" and give a hearty thumbs-up sign. "America... BAD!" (A frown and a generous thumbs-down). The conversation then went somewhere rather unpredictable and even more enthusiastic than the last two proclamations.  "Marlin Brando... GOOD!!" he said. "Better than Al Pacino, better than De Niro,  better than Michael Jackson." At this point the man stood up and limped to a pile of salvaged wood, from which he retrieved a number of soggy Marlin Brando posters and proudly showed them to me.

I really enjoyed talking to this man, and look forward to seeing him again. Finally, if you have made it to the end of this post, check out the collage I made in my art class... (I think it may have scared the substitute professor slightly)
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