Friday, August 21, 2015

Visit with A friend...

Such a joy for us to get to drive just three hours from our city home out into the desert to be in this vineyard-packed land, one of the hottest cities in the world.  I'm *pretty*crazy*grateful that we didn't try to visit here last month when temps were around 120 degrees and there's no electric relief.  (Our friends had this fan but our host was too concerned for our health, not wanting to give us pain in our bones, so she blessed us with not turning it on.)  So grateful it was only around 100 for us while were there this week.

First thing any local mom needs to do to welcome her son and his friends...  Feed Them.  And she fed us well.  A heaping plate of lamb and yellow carrots, polo (rice with more lamb and carrots), and tomato cucumber salad and nan... lots and endless lots of nan.

He told us on the drive out here that there's a pool right across the street from his house.  Turns out it was on the other side of his driveway... the perfect, private, retention pond for saving water for their vineyard and orchard.  (Because the irrigation water only comes through the ditches to their property about twice a month.)  *Pure Bliss* for our kiddos!

Our dear friend and his precious mama... such gracious hosts!!
And at the end of the driveway... the mud house that was built for drying grapes but was being used instead as a home for about a hundred pigeons.  John came alive on this trip as our fearless lover of animals.... so fun to see him grow into this good strength.  

Once the sun was past it's fury, we walked into the village...a journey of about 200 yards. But first A showed us his father's whole property and the wall he built around it himself.
In the courtyard of the home where his father was born and where he played every summer of his childhood

a slice of town...  grape vineyards in every direction and shady with trees in the village center where the irrigation ditches run full every day- I think.  (Runoff from the mountains is the life source of this whole region.)  
love this boy...

5:30 AM.  Sunshine on the girls bed...  so pleasantly cool from about 11pm- 5am.  
The boys all slept on mats on their platform bed on the other side of the patio.  

Morning light on the breakfast table...
heaped with nan sticks (as our kids called the cracker swirly stuff), grapes (of course!) and store bought cookies (a specialty brought in from the city for the festival last month), dried fruit and nuts, honey and homemade jam, spicy chips and candy.   How about that!?
This morning, I left the kids and Matt behind trimming grape branches in the vineyard and I walked through the village again...
... And I met some of the dearest kids...  This sweetheart is just one week older than Marian.  She shared her birthday candle with us, the prize of her day. 
Our hosts know every person in this village and are most likely related to them all 200ish of them within a few generations...
mama to the baby above
Who needs air conditioning when you can lay your mat right over the water for cooling?  It amazed Matt and I how public these beds were.   Many beds were placed right alongside the road where cars would drive by all hours...

But if roadside doesn't suit you, I guess this is where you can put your bed if you don't want headlights in your faces or horns blaring, swerving close...  
The village had paths wide enough for a small mianbaoche (a very petite truck) to fit but the paths most comfortably fit walkers or small three wheeled motorbike-trucks.  

a traditional bread oven

I continually felt amazed at how very large these middle rooms were inside these homes...  tall ceilings and open walls for air flow and private rooms attached all around.  

And if you think this driver looks young, on the way back after unloading these grapes, the girl in pink who is holding the little baby drove (while the big girl read from her cell phone!)

This woman, our dear friend's mom, has become a local grandma to our kids.  This was the last meal she made for us before we drove home...  Marian beamed with pride that she has learned to make noodles from the best cook ever and our local grandma boasted with perfect grand-graciousness... "hmm, I really think your noodles are the tastiest ever!"

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