Oh boy oh boy, the long waited event is here. We've been hearing about Camel Wrestling from all of our sailor predecessors. Dave came ready to take on those critters.
It turned out that we won't be wrestling. The camels actually compete against each other. Darn!
As in most animal events, it's really more about the people. What a hoot! The sights and smells were really compelling. By in large the majority of the local spectators were men with a few scattered women to help with the food and kids. A complete cornucopia of attire covered the full spectrum from traditional Turkish to punk. Maybe it's really about eating in a festival atmosphere that makes it so lively and fun. All of the crowd carried, brought, cooked and consumed delicious smelling food the whole time. We had parked ourselves on the hillside sandwiched between a colorful array of folks. We were so glad we brought our chairs as advised by Gwen. Surrounded by smoking braziers and barbeques in every direction, our salivary glands were on overload. We were disappointed that we hadn't brought along our own delicious smelling meal. A smoky haze almost obstructed the view of the arena below. Several musicians with clarinets, traditional instruments and drums serenaded the crowd, sometimes playing two or more different melodies at the same time. Complete chaos!
At least some of the crowd was actually watching the event. The "beasts" would be led into the arena and they immediately began pushing and shoving each other. The competitors would push each other with their necks and try and push their opponent to the ground. Nobody seemed to get hurt, only just a little hit on the pride here and there.
Although the camels with bells, whistles, decorations and tassels, all slobbering appropriately were a spectacle, the partying spectators were the highlight. Our friend Tim was beside himself having not thought to bring some raki. He whined constantly until an enterprising young man came around selling it, whew! We shared a bottle to get into the spirit of things.
In a friendly gesture the men in front of us shared some of the tastiest soft shelled almonds we have ever had. Then the gang behind us offered Dave some savory chicken hot off the grill. Oh, he couldn't have been happier. He even shared a few bites with me, bless him. It was so painful to sit there among all of the cooking and eating.
After about three hours of photo taking, snacks and socializing it was time to pile back into our van for a much anticipated late lunch....drool
We took a walk around a hillside village and devoured a tasty lunch at a friendly restaurant. Finally in the late afternoon, we hit the road for our long drive back to the marina. Thanks to our wonderful guide Mevroosh and our driver Tansel.
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