Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stop this crazy whirl-a-gig of fun. I'm dizzy. - Xander

341 Days to go: 328 Things to Do: Day 19 in Chicago

38. Turkish Fest
39. Grape crushing at the Chicago Marriott Downtown

I've spent one day in Turkey. Here are the things I remember: Turkey is a democratic secular country. The primary religion is Islam. They were petitioning to become members of the European Union. The food was good, the scenery beautiful. We went to Ephesus and toured the ruins. The carpet weaving and apple tea. We saw traditional folkloric dancers. The House of the Virgin Mary.

The dancers were invigorating, one of my favorite parts. Lots of clapping and yelling and squatting. This week was the annual Turkish Fest in Daley Plaza 50 W Washington. And they were advertising performances of the Whirling Dervishes, so clearly I had to go.

Yay. The dance performance and fashion show started over 20 minutes late, which was annoying. Especially because it was wicked hot out and I was wearing cute black ballerina flats which meant my feet were cooked a bit in the sun. But in the end, was worth the wait.

The fashions conjured up images of gypsies. Which makes sense, I guess, since Turkey has one of the larger Romani populations. And the dancing was just as fun as I remembered. But the Whirling Dervishes were amazing and beautiful. Somehow, they keep their entire body still and poised while spinning, spinning, spinning.  I was a little in awe.

After the performances, I take a spin around the booths and picked up a snack (Turkish club soda and baklava - yum yum). The coolest artisan I saw was the paper marbling with Ebristan'da Ara. I have no idea what this was, I've never seen anything like it before and all the information I find on him is in Turkish. Which for me is not that helpful. But he seemed to have a pan of oil, that he then painted and used tools to create different designs and textures. And then he laid a piece of paper on it and had a beautiful work of art. Crazy. Oh, apparently it works on silk scarves as well.

That took him about five minutes. Mad skills.

After work, Mary Grace and I head up to the Chicago Marriott Downtown to attend a grape crushing event. I'm not sure how often they do this but it was $10 all you can eat, all you can drink, and you can help them make their next batch of house wines. Very cool.

The lobby is a large and airy bar with a giant cone fixture hanging from the ceiling that lights up and changes colors. The 'crushing' wasn't as cool as I was hoping but fun enough and the food was amazing (six kinds of sausage. SIX!). I did get to empty two boxes of grapes into the crusher machine. They get their grapes from Chile FYI. And they keep bees on the rooftop for their honey. Later this summer they're planning a beer and brat event. Who has two thumbs and is going to that? Oh yeah. This girl.

340 Days to go: 326 Things to Do: 19 Days in Chicago = 27 new experiences

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