(For my Tri-Cities Friends..the scenery is very similar )Thanks to Eric's getting some mechanical fixes on my bicycle, today I was finally brave enough to ride out of town. After pedaling for about 10 minutes, I left the noise, dirt, and bustle of the city and found myself in the heart of apricot farmland, sharing the one-lane road with, donkey carts, tractors, chickens, stray dogs, and numerous children playing in the road
There were a few sights that left impressions. First was a Turkish woman struggling to keep upright a wheelbarrow that was loaded with a 6-foot tall load of sticks while her husband stood right next to her and supervised. Next was the group of boys playing out in a meadow who came running across a large field to say "Hello, What's your name?" and when I ask the same question in return and I could actually pronounce their names. (thanks to a week at school trying to pronounce names.) Last was the disappointment at not being able to stop for a chai in the beautiful town square at Battlegazi because it was completely dominated by men. Being a Saturday morning, all the women were home pushing wheelbarrows and plowing fields by hand with a hoe while the men were out sipping tea and playing backgammon.
Also, I got the answers to two burning questions. I've been wondering where the pide bakeries (bread) located every block or so get all the wood for their brick ovens that run all day and night. There aren't many trees around here. And, second, I've been wondering it the apricot orchards use chemical fertilizers. Based upon what I saw today, the wood for the furnaces comes from the pruned apricot trees, and the apricot trees are fertilized with mounds of natural cow fertilizer from the dairy farms.