Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Coffee and the Sea – Erich

In Turkey they like their coffee like they like their seas: black. And Turkish.

Now, in a previous post, I discussed the waltz, The Blue Danube, and the fact that the real Danube River is not blue, it is green.

Today, for the first time, I got to see the Black Sea. And I have news for you (though I suspect you can guess what it will be.) That's right, it's not black!
Look! It's blue! (Unlike the Danube)
Now I suppose someone is going to inform me that the Red Sea isn't red. Nor is the Pacific Ocean particularly pacifistic. And then I will probably learn that for my information the Dead Sea is only mostly dead. And there's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.

In all fairness, the Black Sea may not have been named as such for its color. Perhaps it got its name for its macabre sense of humor. Or for giving off UV radiation.
Talk about UV radiation
I looked it up, and many scholars believe that the name the Black Sea is a more modern metaphor for the original name given it by the Greek sailors who found it. They called it the Inhospitable Sea because it was large, hard to navigate, and had unfriendly native communities living around it.

So I guess we shouldn't have expected it to be black. And good news, I didn't expect it to be black. This was not a surprise.

There was another first for Alrica and me today. We got to try Turkish coffee. Turkish coffee is really strong, intense coffee. You know what it tastes like? Coffee, strong and intense. I don't like coffee, even regular weak American coffee. So I was no more surprised that I didn't like Turkish coffee than I had been that the Black Sea wasn't black.

But I was willing to try it, knowing I was very unlikely to find it palatable, because we are traveling the world to learn about people in other cultures. That includes their special foods and drinks. I don't like tea, but I drank tea in the United Kingdom. I don't like mint (or, as I mentioned, tea) but I ended up drinking Moroccan mint tea several times in Marrakech and Fez. If you spend a month in Morocco and no one offers you mint tea, you're not doing it right.

So even when I fully expect to dislike something, I am trying to try. Because, first, I could be surprised. Maybe I'll like it. Second, I don't want to be rude. This is an important part of the culture. And third, if you set off to experience the world, you better darn well experience it.

You may not like all of it, but that's okay. No one does. Several of the people from Turkey we were with today confided in us that they, too, dislike Turkish Coffee.

So don't fret. Sometimes differences in cultures, like seas, aren't so black after all.


  1. Would you have eaten a cucumber salad though?.....

    1. Good question. That is still the worst food for me. But in London, we had "tea". And as part of "tea" you receive {shudder} cucumber sandwiches. And yes, I had a bite of one. And cucumbers are still as unpalatable as ever. But I tried it!

  2. You should be commended for that. If they had served me Brussel sprout sandwiches I believe I would have (politely?.... I hope) declined. Lol

  3. You should be commended for that. If they had served me Brussel sprout sandwiches I believe I would have (politely?.... I hope) declined. Lol