Salt Lakes, Whirling Derwishes and a Rap Song

It’s been almost a month since i was writing here, and there was so much happening since then, that i don’t really know where to start or how to split all this up in several posts. Since Ankara we hitchhiked and cycled already around 1500km. We went to Aksaray, where we originally just wanted to stay over night and ended up staying one week and recording a song together with our new friend and rapper Eser. In between we hitchhiked to Konya and saw the famous whirling Derwishes and after that spend another week in the otherwordly Kapadokya. But there alone i will probably write in a seperate post after, since i took so many pictures, so i will keep it at that for now.

Tuz Gölü – Literally “Salt Lake” is a huge lake in Central Turkey. Although it is huge, in most parts it is actually very shallow. What you see on the picture is not a sand beach but really just salt and you can walk over it, far into the lake. The owner of the gas station there, who, like so many people we met here, happened to live in Germany for a long time told us it is so shallow, he once crossed the whole lake with his car!
Thats how your legs looks like after you take a walk in there.
After hitchhiking to Aksaray on a pickup we took this pictures. This is our whole luggage right there.
Mobile library in Aksaray
Ulu Camii – the “great mosque” in Aksaray
Next to the Mosque there are these tables. When someone dies, their coffins will be presented to the public and the Ceremony will be held. If several people die at the same time they will be laid next to each other and one ceremony will be held for these people together. The plate behind the table holds the information about the deceased like their name, their fathers and mothers name, birthplace and date. The plate on the left are the prayers for the deceased. Interestingly, this was the only time i saw this construction in Turkey.
The centre of the Mevlevi Order, a Sufi-Order with their centre in Konya, also known as the “Wherling Derwishes”, because of their musical rituals, where they spin around their own axis for an extended time, in order to come closer to god.
A few exhibits which show the standard gear of a Mevlevi derwish. The item in the middle is not a weapon, but actually a kind of stand, where the derwishes would rest their head on when they are tired, in order to rest without taking a real nap.
This chamber seems to host some Quran readings sometimes. There is one microfone in the room, definitely enough to require a 20-channel mixer 😉
At the center of the complex there is this mausoleum with the tombs of the most important Dedes (literally “grandfather”, but that’s how the Mevlevis called the initiated members of their order). The significant turbans the Derwishes are wearing, are symbolizing their gravestones, that’s why these Turbans are placed on top of their coffins.
Hsiang-Hsin really wanted to see the ceremony of the whirling derwishes. But when we decided to hitchhike to Konya for a daytrip we didn’t know if there will be a possibility to see it. It turned out that every week on a Saturday there is one ceremony which is open to the public and free of charge. And of course we were there on a Saturday so we were lucky to be spectator in this impressive ceremony. Although it is seen as a prayer and by no means as a form of entertainment, i must say they did a quite massive show wich included the architecture, light show and music.
When we wanted to board a Tram it turned out that we need some special card for that. Unwilling to buy a car for one single ride, we asked this nice lady if she can help us. We ment that we give her the money for the ride directly, but she just swiped us in and refused to take money. In the following ride we chatted a lot, with our limited turkish and her not existing english. She was visiting her daughter in Konya and invited us to stay with her that night. We were actually planning to hitchhike back that evening, but as the ceremony ended quite late, we gave her a call and crashed her daughters home. Another example of turkish hospitality! (Apart from the fact, that i am not sure how i would react if my mother is going to visit me at home and suddenly brings in two strangers she met on the street and invites them to stay with me ;))
Back in Aksaray: I already told you about they Çiğ Köfte here, where they often put a lot of different Veggies inside. This Komagene Store had something wich looked a lot like Sorrel (Sauerampfer), one of my favourite wild herbs!
…And thats how the Dürüm is packed! The sentence in the mouth of the hungry guy means “I can never get enough”.
When i was playing street music in Aksaray, this guy came up to me and was interested in my instrument. Funnily i saw him the other day and was impressed by his clever lo-fi amplification system, an old headset-microphone just stuck in his clarinette, plugged into a fist-size amp. Nice to have some tech-talk with a colleaugue 😉
Our friend Eser in the studio. In the background MC Malikah is rapping in her part of our Collaboration Track. Will be released soon!

In Aksaray Hsiang-Hsin also got her axis fixed. Since Ankara she had mysterious problems with her backwheel, she could barely push the bike, because the chain was jumping all the time. After hitchhiking to the Salt Lake we were stuck at a gas station there over night. The people there let us sleep inside and the owner actually lived many years in Germany, running a Bicycle Import-Export. What a coincidence! He also had the tools there, so he had a look at Hsiang-Hsins bike. The whole axis was just split in two! A wonder the wheel was still turning… Of course he didn’t have a spare axis there, so the next day, upon arrival in Aksaray, we pushed it to a local bike workshop and the guy there pulled a almost show-like repair manoeuvre. It would have been worth to film, but he was done in two minutes, before we could even close our mouths. Great! So after this we were finally ready to cycle again and hit the road to Capadocya…


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