Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Another Ali

In the end, its not going to matter how many breaths you took.

It only matters how many moments took your breath away.

– sign in the bathroom of the Cafe Safak, Goreme, Turkey

Yesterday I slept until 10:30 AM.  My bed is so comfortable and my cave room so… womblike that it was not a problem to sleep and sleep.  And I am not a person who sleeps in easily.

Of course this meant I missed breakfast and the yicky instant coffee served by the Alis at the Elif Star.  I love the Elif Star but definitely not that coffee.  I went out in search of a decent coffee.  And that is how I found the Cafe Safak and the other Ali.  I tried to go into two other cafes, both advertising cappuccino, both closed, for the winter or whatever.  I had passed by the Safak but it looked like they were cleaning or working on the sliding glass door.  It was out of desperation that I poked my head in and said, simply, cappuccino?

Well it turns out Ali is a coffee fan and made me what is, without a doubt, the most awesome coffee I have had in Turkey.  As I drank it Ali, and his friend who was helping him do whatever with the door (who was another Liev Schreiber lookalike – swarthy) sat down at my table with their breakfast.  Ali offered me a piece of his Gozeme, a sort of tortilla like bread with cheese inside, fried to a crispy goodness.  Again, I felt that I was not in a cafe but at a friends kitchen table.  I asked Ali and his friend why everyone around here seems to speak English.  They told me there are many Americans and Australians that come for extended periods, and they sort of grew up with these kids.  Ali spends a lot of time in Australia.  I commented that it could be easier to learn with an Australian girlfriend, and the friend piped in “or an American girlfriend!”  Bummer that I am old enough to be his mama.  At this, Ali said, “I say, the best way to learn a language is to touch tongue to tongue.”  Is that romantic, or what?

I had to leave Ali and the cafe because I wanted to take a bus to the neighboring town of Urgup.  I wanted to go there, if for nothing else than comparison purposes.  But Urgup left me cold, because of my warm fuzzy feeling about Goreme.  Urgup is bigger, and I walked for a while, through a big outdoor market, through a bit of the town, and had a glass of wine in a totally cool wine bar with some neat art in it.  I did not have a lot of time as the last bus left Urgup at 4 PM.  Someday I will go back there and stay a few days – I am sure I will love it then, when I can get to know it better.  But I was happy to get back to Goreme.

I stopped in at Cafe Safak and had a glass of wine before heading back to the hotel.  Ali plays great music, has a great crowd in his place, and knows my name, even in this short time.  I can totally see living in Goreme for awhile and hanging out in the Cafe Safak.  But at this moment, all I can think about is the za’atar and oil and bread at Seten, and my little table waiting.  So, I head home to drop some stuff and then go back up to Seten for an early dinner.

I am welcomed warmly again.  “Same table?  Same chair?” the owner asks me.  I think maybe he is keeping it for me.  This time, I tell the same girl who has served me twice, to choose for me.  She picks a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (this time a reserve) and the most expensive thing on the menu – a plate of grilled chicken, lamb chops and meatballs with rice.  She did not choose this because it was most expensive – she chose it because it was the BEST.  Mi dio it was tasty.  The wine is about $30 and the meat about $18.  I am sort of blowing a wad at Seten but I don’t care.  There is a Korean family eating near me, and the two little kids – a boy and a girl – keep going to play by the fireplace.  They are really cute.  The little boy tries to karate chop his sister and says HI-YA!” just like my nephew Ryan does when he plays the Wii.  The little girl wants my candle to play with – she asks me a couple of times “if I am done with it.”  She is bored with her brother but he takes it in stride.  They all live in Istanbul because of daddy’s job.  After I finish my dinner the owner brings me a dessert, on the house.  It is a plate of dried apricots soaked in a syrup, two little pieces of pumpkin, and the best dried fig I have ever eaten.  There is some whipped creamy cheese on the side.  I leave, after shaking hands with the Koreans and promising the owner to come back the next night, into the coldest of night air.  In the past months at home and in Europe, I have been wheezing a lot.  On my way down the hill, it dawns on me that my wheeze is totally gone.  I can sleep, and I can breathe, here in this remarkable town of Goreme.

6 Responses to “Another Ali”

  1. nancyhol Says:

    I think I would like Goreme too. I’m more into small towns than big cities.

    Now that you have found the GOOD coffee and wine, you won’t want to leave!

    And I love the sign in the bathroom!

  2. Letha Saldanha Says:

    If you are still in Goreme, say hi to the Alis. Also try the restaurant Manzara that Mustafa (the previous owner of Elif Star Caves runs now–Ali will tell you where it is We had our best meal in Cappadocia there–excellent Testilamb that Mustafa’s wife makes (lamb cooked in clay pot). For good Borek, go the the Nazar Borek Cafe. You can’t miss it. It is on the way to the Open Air Museum. (Muze Yolu # 30). The Turasan winery is in Urgup and you can taste wines there..

    Enjoy the rest of your trip


  3. Judy Says:

    Hey Shannon – so glad you are blogging. It is so much fun to travel along with you and imagine your interactions with all those you meet. I want to have fun like you when I grow younger!
    Now I can tell everyone I know a cave dweller! How cool is that (good that the heat has done its job),

  4. cubbies Says:

    Shannon, I’m following your every word. What an Excellent Adventure you always manage to create and describe!

  5. Natalie Be Says:

    Really enjoying your blog Shannon. Its good to see you consume the world, all of its textures, colors, foods, scents and personalities…not many people have this skill 🙂

  6. Colleen Says:

    Returning to Seten and receiving a welcome like that … very heartwarming. I’ve never heard of Goreme before (really, all I know of Turkey is Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus), but it sounds like a special place.

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