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For the first time ever, Camel Wrestling is coming to Didim and would you believe it, the event falls on the same weekend as the wedding of brother in law Hassan.

Yesterday, on my way to the market, we were held up on the road by a procession of Camels arriving in town accompanied by a brass band.  I managed a few shots of these proud and colourful animals out of the car window but I will miss the event itself.

Today Mu has gone to Söke with the boys for a bit of shopping and I am doing house stuff…or at least I will be when I get off the computer!

Last night we were in the village for the ‘Kina Gecesi’ (Henna Night).  Arriving at my mother in laws around 6ish and after saying my hellos and hoş geldin’s to the Urfa branch of the family here en mass for the wedding, I head straight for the kitchen were all the girls are, squeeze my way into a space on the floor and tuck into some Lahmacan.

Outside, a ring of plastic chairs have been laid out on the bare earth, a ground fire is lit and all the men stand around it chatting and smoking.  After food, I sit on the balcony for a bit with Berfin and Fatoş just watching the peacocks below.  Some of the aunts are setting up a table with fabric and flowers and I spy Murat leave in the car. He is going to pick up the bride to be. I know this whole weekend our car is lost to the celebration!

During the time it takes him to return I have a baby shoved in my arms and he is clearly hungry.  I feed him my knuckle for a few minutes while someone prepares milk.

Around 7ish, the land outside the house is full of cars, chairs, people  and a couple of musicians who start by playing Davulcu (Kurdish wedding music) and everyone is up, in a line and making dust with their feet.

As the dance winds its way round in a circle, uncles wave notes in the air, lightly touching the heads of the dancers toasting them with the money that is then thrown at the feet of the drummer. He then picks up the money and waves it along the heads of the line gesturing thank you for the dance.  This is how the musicians are paid. They turn up for fee and leave with whatever has been thrown at them.

I wander downstairs like the pied piper; wherever I go the kids follow all vying for the attention of Kym Abla. I find my mother in law, get her to stand in between the happy couple and send Enise to the front with my camera. After a mini photo session, we just sit chatting and watch the dancing. Sadly my camera is not good at night scenes unless it’s really close up but I do get a couple of videos.

Back in the kitchen myself and Berfin sit with Nene and some nursing mother’s just chatting and drinking çay as the constant banging of the def (frame drum) and the high pitched Zurna (flute) signals the continuation of the dancing outside. I wander out on the balcony just as the silver tray with coal and candles is being danced around the red lace draped bride to be and I realise, I am missing the Henna…. oooops!

Later in the evening when it’s just family women left, crazy uncle’s wife Şemsier, who is always up to mischief, pulls at Neryman’s Şalvar, showing her tights and knickers underneath. We all laugh but that’s not enough for Şemsier, she waits until Neryman is busy at the sink, tips me the wink and with the devil in her, pulls Neryman’s Şalvar all the way down round her ankles. Before you know it, Neryman pulls them up and dives on Şemseir and soon they are rolling around the kitchen, hair falling free from their headscarf’s legs griping around waists in an attempt to surrender the other. None of us can move for laughing and tears are rolling down my face from it. What a shame the camera is in my bag at the time.

In the space of a few minutes, Murat, Crazy Uncle and Raşid have all popped their head through the door and mentioned Çig Kofte and now many village hands are washing lettuce, peeling radish and chopping ot (herbs).  Raşid gets the job and we sit and watch him batter the bulgur, onion, aci biber and raw beef into submission. It’s a tough job and takes strong hands and for Raşid, who is bald, this also takes plenty of kitchen roll to mop his brow!

When he has done, plates full of this delicacy are taken into the men’s room along with yufka, marul and lemon, before us girls get settled around on the floor for ours. The girls clean up and then we all join the men for Çay and a chinwag about the day before leaving around 1am.

Sadly I will miss the camels this time but I didn’t entirely miss out on the wrestling did I!