Sunday, August 16, 2015

For the Foodie

This is for all you foodies out there
 Juice is served at the meals

 The round thing is chicken with ground walnuts all rolled up
very tasty. Then to the left of that is an olive tray.
Above that is eggplant rolled up with something in it
A cheese platter
and up at the top zucchini pancakes

 To the left BBQ lamb - delightful
The chicken roll ups

 Tomatoes, Peppers and Cucumber

 Chicken with eggplant and potatoes

 An assortment of bread served at breakfast

The cheese I ate every morning - I went to
the store and took a picture of it so
I can find it here in the U.S.

A walk through the village

 Ayten & Farhod walking down the lane

Sitting at the Bus Stop
The kids are more than ready to head home!

 Ayten's Uncle's house where she used to stay
when she visited as a child
 The water well 

A view of the house from the back. No one
lives there anymore so it is falling 
into disrepair.

 The next door neighbor's barn

 The next door neighbor - she was
happy to see Ayten again. I know it
doesn't look like it but she really was!

 This is outside her back door - notice
the shoes lined up? Her home was very neat
and clean.

Walking toward the village market we saw
this man selling grapes out of his car

The village store - when the owner found out I was from the U.S.
he said "I love you" - then he looked at Yusif and said
that is all the english I know!

 views from the bus stop

 village life as seen from the bus stop

 walking to the market

 random ass in the road

the animal from above makes it across the street

And that folks is what goes on in a small village in 
the mountains of Azerbaijan!

A mish mash of "stuff"

I was thinking yesterday that I have been here for almost two weeks and I have not had

  • any chips
  • cracker
  • diet coke (i have had maybe 6 cokes)
  • white bread
  • coffee
  • sweetner
basically nothing processed - and guess what? I don't feel a damn bit different and I bet I gained weight. So much for the processed theory! Funny thing I don't really miss any of that stuff. Don't get me wrong I'll eat it as soon as I get home but all I can honestly say I miss is Ice. They don't use much of it. I'm even getting used to having my drinks without it. Last night I was making a glass of water and Nez open the freezer and I said "You don't have to get any ice" she looked at me and said "yes, I get ice for you" I said "Oh hell, I'm an Azerbaijaini now - I'll drink it without ice" She laughed and laughed.

This morning Nez cut open a fresh melon. It's one I have never seen before. She sliced it and it was white inside. I tasted it and it is very, very sweet. I said "Nez what kind of melon is this?" She said "melon" I said "Yes - what kind of melon?" she said " azerbaijan we call all melons just melons" So I have no idea what I'm eating!

On our way home from the country I saw all of these little kitchens on the roadside. I said "What's going on here?" Yusif said "They are selling homemade bread." I said "can we stop and get some?"

 There were probably 20 or so of these little bread stands
on the side of the road.

Here are pictures of 3 of them

The last one I got a picture of....

And here is the bread we bought - 
2 loafs - $1.00
It was hot from the oven and delish!!!

This is a picture of a store that was along 
the side of the road. I wanted a picture of
that broom - I was amazed that people
use those kind of brooms!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ah - it's a country kind of life

Animals - everywhere. Damnest thing I’ve ever seen. Goats, cows, chicken and sometimes a dog - last night there were rabbits running around! Apparently these animals know when it’s time to come home because they go home every night. I am going to video tape this spectacle if I can.

This is our first night at the country home. I will write more about it later - right now i”m going to bed - it’s 11:00 - we just had dinner at 10:30 b/c we got here late and one of the cousins that live in the village brought over the best green beans I have ever eaten and I’d like to find out what she did to them, and then she made hamburger with tomatoes, peppers (I picked them out) and olives I think. Then some spices and it was pretty good too! Of course - you guessed it cucumbers and tomatoes, feta with flat bread - that is a staple I think. I think it’s like our salad.

Life is very simple here - we are staying the summer home that Ayten's Father built on his family's property. It is in a little, tiny village nestled in the mountains. Again - most of my pictures are on my camera and I will update later. To get to the bathroom you have to go outside - that is kind of a bummer - especially when it's in the middle of the night and you hear some kind of animals in that direction, but "Buck up" and get on with it.

This is the scene outside the gate of our house.

The kitchen
That small stove produces some mighty fine food!
another view


Dining room

Chifferobe in living room - very old 
and beautiful

China cabinet - they only come here once a year
but they keep beautiful dishes and linens
on hand.

The kids with an uncle picking Hazelnuts. 
There are no lawn mowers here, nor weed eaters
or leaf blowers - they just let the grass grow - when and if
and animal comes to eat it then it will get cut! 

This is gate - every home has one in 
the country and in the city.

Upon entering a home you remove your shoes
and put on slippers. I was enamored by the broom and 
the mop. To use the mop you just put a clean, damp rag
over the bottom and wipe the floor. The floors aren't that
dirty because everyone leaves their shoes at the door
I really like this idea - we need to institute
it in America.

This is one of Ayten's Aunt's that lives in the village
Lots and lots of women wear scarves - this 
lady had 5 kids - all of them live
in the city now. She lives alone, but goes
and stays with a daughter in the winter when
it's too hard for her to light a fire everyday
to keep warm. She liked to come over and just 
be near me. We were always looking at one
another smiling. She seemed like a very nice women.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Restaurants in the country

There are restaurants everywhere - and I mean everywhere. Basically it’s a big yard and there are all kinds of tables and chairs, each in their own little patio and roof. These are like dining room tables and chairs. Not outdoor furniture. There is always a table cloth on the table. Lunch or Dinner always starts with something like this: a first course of quartered tomatoes, quartered cucumbers, feta cheese, flat bread and maybe eggplant spread and some other spicy spread that i didn’t try. Then they bring meat - good meat and lots of it. The first night we had lamb and chicken. Today we had I don’t know what kind of meat but it was cooked in like a really thin pita and it was really, really good. Then they had another pita one that was filled with greens - you put some feta on it. Ayten thought it was better than the meat ones. I didn’t care for the veggie one. Now all of this always served on china with silverware. Glasses are used when they serve the drinks and it’s always water, sparkling water and then other kinds of stuff that I have no idea what it is but some of it is pretty good. Today they served this really sweet cherry juice so I added sparkling water to it and it was very good. Breakfast was the best feta cheese I have ever had, butter, honey and flat bread. Then they served eggs that were delish. Of course it goes without saying tea at every meal. Oh and there is always a play ground within the restaurant so the kids can eat and play at the same time  - genius! Too bad most of my restaurant pictures are on my camera and you'll have to wait because then you'll get to see some very interesting pictures. But here is what I had on my phone:

This was one of my favorite restaurants . One of the dining rooms almost looks like a tree house.

 This was the dining room we ate in. Really good food too!
 This time we had those those pita breads filled with meat and heated up -
and then the next course was Azberjain Raviloi!
And it would take some Italians I know back a few paces

This was some of the decorations at the restaurant. Notice the samovar in the center. They are pretty cool - there is some sort of heating element in there and you fill it with hot water. Then you have a tea pot with really strong tea in it. You fill your cup 3/4 full of hot water and top it off with the tea. The thing hanging from the tree is an old fashioned butter churn.

We wanted to have "A tea" and so they set up a table and chairs for us.

Farhod wanting to grab the biggest rock he can find to throw in the lake.

The houses in the background are for rent - notice the view of 
the mountains. Beautiful country!

No Javi is not going to the bathroom - he is holding a very heavy rock!

This is the last place we ate on our road trip. It reminded me of a state park. Ayten was
not happy about it - said it was too dirty. It was not my favorite place, but I have to 
say they had the best fresh tomatoes I have tasted all year.

Another view - I have to admit at this place I was a little concerned about food standards of which there are none out here in the countryside.

If you wanted to you could go for a horse back ride before or after lunch.
'Cause that's how they roll here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A ride in a Soviet Jeep

There was a waterfall that Yusif wanted me to see. When we got to the base of the mountain we hired a jeep to take us to the waterfall. Yusif said "Now you can say you have ridden in a military vehicle produced by the Soviets"

After the cold war ended some enterprising men bought up the old military jeeps
and now some are used to take lazy Americans up the mountain!

The waterfall that we took our lives in our hands to view.

Many people drove part way up or hiked the whole way - what amazed me the most was that, as Americans we have an "outfit" for everything. Gym shorts, tennis shoes and t-shirts for a treck like this. Not so with our friends on the other side of the globe. They just go!

Even in a dress and good shoes  they hike.

I loved this one - the little girl got down the hill - layed on a rock and
sucked her thumb - she had enough!

Lots and lots of people going all the way up

This is Ayten's cousin who lives in the village we visited. The day we went on this adventure I said to Yusif "Let's bring Vergood (the little boy) with us, he probably doesn't get to go many places." Yusif didn't seem to pleased with this idea so I said the same thing to Sardar he said "I am not opposed." So we brought him - he was a delight to have on the trip. So helpful and kind and always smiling.

Farhod, Manzar and Javi

Aytena and Yusif making it safely back down with their precious cargo.

A picture of our driver - the man never said a word nor cracked a smile. 
Me thinks he was a left over for the Soviet days!