Wednesday, September 30

Strange Visitor

I didn’t intend to stop for more than one night in Aydin, but I hadn’t reckoned on the fulsomeness of Turkish hospitality. One of the professors from this town's university visited my house in Bristol last year, so I dropped by to say hello on my way north - I’m not allowed to leave until I’ve been properly shown around.

Aydin is largely made up of newish pastel-coloured concrete tower blocks and mosques, visitors do not come here. Before I go out on the street I put on clothes that I think are properly sober, I look in the mirror and think 'would a Turkish person wear that?’ and I think they might, but people are falling off their bicycles trying to get a better look at me, so I guess that I must appear as an odd cartoonish figure in this landscape. If I look back at the women I pass, they have often stopped in the street and turned to watch me, when they see me they smile and wave, which is nice but slightly unnerving.

I am leaving tomorrow but not before I have made a supper party, my mouth made the suggestion before my brain could stop it and now I’m a bit daunted by the prospect of cooking for a roomful of Turkish academics, possibly they are all daunted by the thought that I might make them eat toad in the hole and spotted dick.

Aydin is known for it’s figs so I’m going to make this tagliatelle dish with figs, lemon and chilli (it’s good, try it) followed by chicken and spinach salad with roast peppers.

This morning I went to the market with its streets of vegetable stalls piled high with produce. The other shoppers are all pushing big overflowing trolleys, I try and buy just one handful of chilli peppers and I get laughed at, it’s not worth charging me for such a small amount, nor the single lime - then some ladies stop me and ask me something - I can’t understand, so one of the women makes a call on her mobile and passes the handset to me so that I can speak to a young girl trying to translate her mother’s question

My mother wants to know ... whasserangum afffersezzem ...

... actually I can’t remember the exact sounds made after that first bit, but it was incomprehensible, we flounder around trying out sounds on each other until the phone runs out of battery, we part company with none of us any the wiser.

Mudbathing Postscript
There seemed to be demand for an image of the mud baths, I'm the one wallowing.

If you stand up in this warm salty compound it's thigh deep but lie down in it and you bob on the surface - weird, and cool, when you want to de-mud you can just dive into the lake on the other side of the wall.


  1. Fantastic, Lulu! Oh, what I would give to be wallowing in mud right now. :)

  2. Did you ever determine what, if any, fashion faux pas you might have been committed?

    Thanks for the mud bath pix. That looks like fun!

  3. ow, sugar! the recipe (and those that followed) is divine! thanks for including the link. i have to agree with everyone, that mudbath looks divine! xoxoxox

  4. (settles in a corner and passes out the pills)

    I bookmarked the recipe because I thought if you said it was good then, seeing as how you've cooked for rock royalty, it must be good.

    You do know a lot of very varied people - but to offer to cook for people whilst you are away from home and your beloved kitchen - you must be very very confident. I like all my own stuff around me when we do banquets. Wish I'd been there.

  5. Turkey. For most of us ... the far side of the moon. Only (according to you) with more peppers. And you're having fun!

  6. How did it go? You must be cooking as I write this on Wednesday evening at 7.10pm with a glass of rosé and some pretzels in front of me. Did you get to have any Imam Bayildi?
    I too find it extremely hard traveling on my own. It's always a nice grounding experience to cook though. More power to your arm Baby. xxx Lots of love.

  7. Yeah nice mud Lulu, is it like swimming with whales?

  8. Spotted dick?

    I thought you had to call it Spotted Richard now.

  9. Mud, Mud Glorious Mud
    There's nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
    So follow me follow
    Down to the hollow
    And there we shall wallow in glooooorious MUD!

    Rolf Harris has obviously been there and done that too!

    You are the singularly most inspirational person I know!!

  10. I am agog, again, Lulu, at your daring. Is there any substance into which you will not jump with foreigners personally unknown to you? Maybe you shouldn't answer that.

    I love the art you concocted for this post. My friend Denise (the Swelle Life blog) is facing a UK citizenship soon and I told her that I had learned here that you can get spotted dick in a can in the UK- in case that's on the test.

    I hope your dinner goes swimmingly and that you don't wind up with some kind of rash.

  11. You're so brave! Really impressed with your mud-wallowing, spotted dick serving bravura!!

  12. Katrocket - you are far too busy, you need mud

    xl - my friends said that it was quite normal to stare - at strangers especially, but we couldn't guess what the woman was asking me

    Savannah - I think the fig tagliatelle is just your cup of tea

    Frenchie - it is much nicer to have all you own stuff at hand, this kitchen was a nightmare (not a single sharp knife, no big pan). I just do very simple stuff in these circs.

    Mr Red - Turkey does seem on the far side of the moon actually, but it is fun.

    JoeyJoJoJoJoJoJo - It went fabulously - especially when I showed them how to get into Youtube using a proxy.

  13. Inkspot - it's more like swimming with elephants

    MJ - You're quite right, a ruling that passed while I was away, the Richard Heads at Central Information forgot to let me know

    Careful Ange you're showing your roots.
    Wow that accolade is something coming from you

    K - I haven't tested all available substances with foreigners yet - when I have I'll let you know which ones I won't do again.

    Daisy mud-wallowing, spotted dick serving bravura

    I'm sure there's a good spoonerism to be had there.

  14. here in the states there is "mud-wrestling" where in a beer joint a small pit of mud is set up and two gals in bikinis tackle each other. all the men stand around holding bottles of beer so they have something firm in their hands (yes, i said that and i mean it) watching the tarts and waiting for bikinis to slide off.

    we probably could find you a venue and you can earn some money while getting a mud treatment.

    which brings me to....
    do you get mud in areas you don't really want mud in?

    like Woolfoot - did the cultures come back growing anything?

    i would LOVE to be able to give a "bunch of yanks" a can of spotted dick for christmas. would one just google it to find an outlet?

  15. Deborah: Most big U.S. cities have a shop dedicated to British ex-patriates where they can purchase UK groceries.

    If not, try shopping online.

  16. Why Lulu, you're lovely! (-:

    And yet another ta for the fig tagliatelle link.

  17. Fantastic post. This is what travelling should be all about, mud baths, strange clothing (what better than wearing it yourself) and cooking using local markets.

    Doff of the hat to Lulu!

  18. It must have been extrordinarily intimidating having all of the Miss Turkey finalists sitting on the bench? What pluck!

  19. Mmm, like the look of the mud. There's something very flattering about the effect that a layer of mud has on a figure, I find.

  20. Deb - will pass on the wrestling idea, I like my mud treatment to be calming experiences.

    It took ages to get the mud out of my ears.

    MJ - you are a goldmine of information darling

    Hi Glory - have you tried it yet?

    Kevin - glad to hear you like muddy girls x

    Hi Mrs Cow

    Donn - The girls were happy to have a foil.

    Gadj - It's also handy because you can stick things onto the mud that you are likely to need later in the day - spare Gypsy Cream biscuits and so on...

  21. J'ai zappé complètement la Turquie , les turques ,pour ne regarder que la photo ( trop drôle :))
    La gadoue cela rend fou , cela rentre partout...par le bas/par le haut ...

    I zappé completely Turkey, Turkish, to look at only the photograph
    The sludge that makes insane, that returns everywhere bottom/the top ...

    Petula Or...Bis répétita

    Bisous sans la boue !!!! ;)

  22. Oh, the mud-bath looks so cool.
    Happy to hear that you are leaving the offensive British recipes off the menu. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first read that on a menu. How rude!!!

  23. Muddy kisses to you too Crabby dearest!

    Met Mum - Do you think the Victorians knew what a dick was - spotted or otherwise?

  24. Ange: "Mud, mud, glorious mud..."

    Shouldn't Flanders and Swann get a credit?

  25. "Prosze nie uzywac degazowek"
    is Polish for "Please do not use thinning scissors" (my Polish teacher had to call her hairdresser to find out what they were called). You never know when that might come in handy.

    The mudbath picture looks like part of it has been desaturated! Did it make your skin all soft?

  26. BB - you know I do believe it is - my soul has never been smoother

    Hello Berowne - Did Flanders and Swann cover that one too? - did they use a wobble board?

    Daphne - The mud dries out on the edges, one is supposed to stand around until a shell has encrusted on one's body and then small boys have to chip you out with teaspoons. Yes I'm completely soft darling

  27. Is there sign at the pool saying no bombing and no heavy petting?

  28. Lulu LaBonne: "Did Flanders and Swann cover that one too?"

    Cover it? They wrote it.

  29. Emerson - I couldn't tell because the signs are all in Turkish, the only Turkish sign I do know is 'dur' which means 'Stop'.

    Blimey Berowne - does that mean they're older than Rolf harris?

  30. "Blimey Berowne - does that mean they're older than Rolf Harris?"

    Corblimey, mate! (Yank trying to sound British.) They do go back a few years, no doubt about it.


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