2012 m. liepos 26 d., ketvirtadienis

If you would decide to marry a Turkish guy

Last week I had a unique opportunity to be a guest in the Turkish weddings. To cut story short, it is full of dancing, gold and symbols of virginity, so if you’d like to know more or to prepare for your own weddings (haha) – take a look.

Nowadays Turkish marriages still retained many of their traditional roots, but they also may differ greatly based on several factors. The region has immense importance as well as the intensity of belief in the religion and of course how it the Turkish husband subscribes – in a modern or traditional way. Yes, the role of the man is still more important. Well, as I heard now it’s more common to have marriages with foreigners, but saving Turkish traditions.

This joyous event depends on what kind of weddings is it – or Salon. If you are invited to attend the weddings in an urban area it may be one of the more modern type of Salon wedding which is very similar to “Western” weddings, where a hall is rented for the wedding reception. I went to this kind of weddings. What really surprised me was that the hall was set in the supermarket. So called Village weddings could be held just in a street.

If you have heard that the Turkish weddings last 40 days and nights, you‘re wrong. Mostly it is held for 2 days, sometimes three. The most popular season is summer.

One day before the weddings the Henna ritual is organized for the bride. At home all women prepare the celebration for the bride and colours her hands with henna. Traditionally it is a part of the fertility ritual that takes place on the eve of the wedding, either in the mikveh or at the bride’s home.

The next day is the day of Gelin Alma (to fetch the bride), kız alma (to fetch girl) or gelin götürme (to carry the bride). Everybody is invited to this ceremonial procession from the home of the bride to the home of the groom. Guests go to fetch the bride on foot if not far, or by cars if it is too far to go.

In some regions the bridegroom is not allowed to accompany the bridal procession. The procession is followed by drums and pipes. In some regions the bride is prepared by elderly women (yenge) who help and assist her. But in general today the preparations for the bride are done at a beauty salon.

Then she joins the procession on her way to the groom’s home. Before leaving her home, a Maidenhood Belt (Bekaret kuÅ¿aÄ¿ı), mostly a red ribbon, is tied around the Bride’s waist by her brother or a close relative and then the bride says good-by to those who stay at home. To lighten things up, the doorway is sometimes blocked by a male relative of the bride or a younger brother who sits on the wooden chest that carries the bride’s dowry, as if to stop the bride from leaving. A tip by the groom’s family resolves this final hurdle, and the bride leaves her parent’s home.

After signing documents the real celebration begins...

Firstly, it’s normal not to know bride or groom personally. You can be invited because your close friend or relative is coming.

If you are close with that person you should prepare a gift. People, standing in a line give money or gold (coins bracelets and etc.) and there are no listed gifts. You can find such presents in a Turkish jewellery store. There is a wide selection of coins with little loops on top. Most of them already have a red ribbon with a little safety pin on the back for pinning on the bride.

If you don’t know the groom or the bride, you just have to show the respect by wishing them luck and have a good time in a wedding.

Talking about clothing, it’s not so different. If you are invited to Salon type of wedding, you would dress in a similar manner as if you were going to a Western wedding. Of course if it is somewhere in the suburbs clothing should be more comfortable, but still stylish.

In Ottoman culture young girls were forbidden to wear fashionable clothes (for example, ornamented dresses). These days Turkish men and Turkish women have adopted Western styles of dress during the wedding ceremony. For the men, this includes tuxedoes and suits, while women wear white bridal dresses.

It‘s really strange that in Turkish weddings there are no Maids of Honour, Best Men or Matrons of Honour. The most important people despite the couple are their parents.

It becomes obvious during dances. Parents with husband and wife have to dance in a circle. Also, there is a dance only for fathers.

Moreover, guests are invited to the dancefloor too.

The cleverest tradition is Testik dance – single (of course virgin) girls dance. Well, it’s good for single men to observe for potential date. Also, Kına Gecesi held on Henna Night, Oyun Havası, Göbek atmak, there are more dances with clicking spoons and etc.

In Lithuania during the wedding party a lot of people get drunk and overeat – absolute excess in eating and drinking which I hate the most. Here, people don‘t drink alcohol, only lemonade, tea or water. What about food? They serve cookies; of course wedding cake is also very important. Firstly, the new born husband and wife try it and when the guests have a bite too.

As everywhere the bride receives a lot of attention. As you may have noticed from the photos (which you can buy during weddings for 3 TL (1.5 EUR), a bride is wearing the red ribbon which shows that she is virgin. The red colour is chosen because it reveals wealth and power.

Women and men have different responsibilities. Brides have to look after bedroom, prepare it for living, grooms look after gold and money.

Furthermore, there are some present for all quests on which there is exact date and married couple names. It represents different believes and traditions, something like a good will.
It's really nice to see people who know how to enjoy themselves. Sorry, but this time there aren't a lot photos, I couldn't make it because we were asked not treat it like a tourist experience.

Congratulations. Wishing the both of you all the happiness in the world!

How to look into your future in Turkey

The most common way of future-telling in Turkey is to look at the coffee-grounds after drinking kahve. Yesterday I had a great and really mystified opportunity to try this out. Unfortunately, I won’t tell what girls predicted for me because it brings bad luck, but definitely will brag if it comes true.

Sometimes we all start asking questions like “Who am I and what will I become? Who will I marry? Will I be successful? Have I chosen the right path?.” The fear of the future and the unknown is in all the human beings. Such major questions push people to look for the answers and here, in Turkey, you can find them.

Drinking Turkish coffee is an inherent part of Turkish culture and, in many ways, it is like a ritual that goes hand in hand with heartfelt conversations with friends. Often, this sense of ritual makes kahve falı more sophisticated.

It is not always done with the serious intentions of learning about the future. Future telling became similar to enterntaiment for the evening to develop your dreaming skills. Anyway, many Turkish women know how to read kahve falı. It dates back to the Ottoman period when Arab nannies lived with wealthy Istanbul families.
So, if you want to try this out firstly, drink your coffee (with the dregs left in the cup). Then turn the  fincan is over on its plate and then turn it around three times while muttering “Neyse halim, çıksın falım” (May the fortune show what are my circumstances.). Once the cup has cooled and you have turned it over, read the fortune from the various shapes that the dregs have made.

Some future telling signs:

If the shape resembles waterfalls it means that you are likely to visit a nice place;

Resolved coffee-grounds will bring bright future;

If there are any drops on the cup it means that you’ll be successful.

P.S. It’s customary to serve Turkish coffee with something sweet (preferably Turkish delight or sweet) and a glass of water.

2012 m. liepos 23 d., pirmadienis

Turkish haircut

Getting a haircut while travelling can be the greatest souvenir ever or the biggest mistake you will have to live with until you get home. It’s more memorable than buying Turkish delights or other souvenirs because it’s really intimate.

One friend strongly advised not to get a haircut in Turkey because Turkish hair is so different from blond that Turkish hairstylists don’t know what to do with it. But it depends on how professional hairdresser is.

But what if you have no choice? Firstly, ask your native friends for the recommendations (Thanks, Ezel!).

When you are seated, the barber will wash your hair if necessary. A cape is fastened around your neck and you are asked how you would like your hair done.

Most hairdressers don’t speak any English, but with a translator (or app) and a lot of hand gestures, body language or pictures in magazines you can reach great results.

After a haircut the hair is washed for the second time. It is a little bit strange, but they make great head massage, so it doesn‘t matter.

To have a haircut for a woman takes about one hour, for a man – two hours, so you have to plan your time before going to hairdressers.

Well, I have to say that the haircuts are made by men. That was a new experience for me.

The apprentices spend many hours just watching, cleaning and preparing equipment before they are even allowed to touch the hair.

Women just serve tea, passes towels and assist if required.

A haircut costs somewhere between 10 – 20 TL (4.5 – 9 EUR). Of course, I paid more – 30 TL (14 EUR). I don‘t know the reason why maybe because my hair is different from Turkish or maybe just because I‘m a foreigner. Well, this time I haven‘t argued because I really love my new look.

Women's Hairstyles in Turkey

Women in Turkey are also known for having hairstyles that are functional as opposed to "stylish". They wear their hair in braids, with a head cover of some type (mainly head scarves). The main reason for this specific style is because of the extremely hot climate in Turkey. This way, women are still able to maintain the long length preferred by Middle Eastern culture while still attaining some level of comfort.

Unacceptable/ unpopular haircuts in Turkey

Styles like mullets or shaved heads (especially for women) are not typically as welcomed as the traditional customs for hair.

Interesting fact: Turks take hair very seriously. So seriously that it is considered a national art form and foreigners are not allowed to be employed as barbers in Turkey.

The Sounds of Eskisehir

When it turns 3 a.m. all I want is to get some sleep. But not in Eskisehir! The city is always lively and vivid full of sounds: drums, prayers, airplanes and people shouting. Even if you stay alone here you will never feel lonely.

Let’s listen. If you can’t wake up, airplanes will offer a hand. Here, in Eskisehir they are landing several times in a day. Not much, but really enough when the airport is so close. Actually, Turkish Airlines have scheduled flights from Istanbul everyday of the week but Saturdays. On some days, there are two flights. Eskişehir Anadolu Airport is located within the İki Eylül Campus of the Anadolu University. It is operated by the School of Aviation, so sometimes there are additional flights because the students are having their training.  Fortunately, not so much during the summer. Anyways sometimes it gets so loud that you even cannot hear your friend who’s sitting next to you.
So when you are dropped out of the bed it‘s the time to have a glass water. Here you go – the water truck is coming! As I understood there is one water truck that passes through Eskisehir every day and has only one route. When it‘s moving you can always hear the same song to let people know that the time to buy water is coming up.

It‘s one of the most annoying sounds because its similar to the melodies of ringtones and it is played very often and very loud.

Then you are not thirsty anymore, it‘s time to pray. 6 - 7 times in a day while hearing it from the speaker whichever mosque it's coming. Well, I counted 5 prayers a day, but a web page on the Internet says it happens 6 times a day. Yet another claims that the prays are coming 7 times.

Eventually, you get so used to this sound that after sometime you do not even notice it. I really respect traditions of religions. As Allah says: "And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night: For those things, that are good remove those that are evil: Be that the word of remembrance to those who remember (their Lord)."

Finally its time to get out from home. But you have to be aware of the traffic here. It doesn‘t matter whether its red or green traffic light, you need a lot of attention and carefulness just to cross a street. Sometimes Turkish people may look slow because they are always late, but in the streets their real temparament shows up. Turkish people drive very aggressively and fast. So every once in a while you can hear cars skreetch because they run into a sticky situation but surprisingly I still haven't seen any car accidents but as I heard it‘s quite often here.

But you can never run away from the European culture – even here. A popular pop song Ai Se Eu Te Pego by Michel Telo. I will put a link here, but its better not to listen this. Song without meaning, but easy to learn and have a catchy melody. Ordinary boy sings that song with the huge crowd. I still don‘t understand the secret of its popularity, but here you can hear this song 5 - 8 times in every bar during the evening, so there‘s no choice.

Where did I begin? So, finally, when you get tired of noise, fever and communication it‘s not the end. Ramadan has started this weekend.

Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, when Muslims fast during daylight hours. It’s a month sacred for soul and body lustration. From sunrise to sunset they can’t eat and drink. Also, during this month is forbidden to make love. As I noticed that there were less people in the streets, more suppliants apperead, maybe it‘s connection with this period and the real live begins in the evening because they can eat only after eight o’clock. Of course not all people behave this way. There are excuses for active, people who support the family, pregnant women, old people and etc. Furthermore, it depends on the view of family.

3 a.m. the first day of Ramadan and you can hear drums. This tradition is getting rare, so they really care about this. There are only the last few Ramadan drummers: upholders of a tradition going back to Ottoman times, they walk the streets with their drums, waking the residents in time for Sahur, the last meal before a long day of fasting that starts with the call to prayer at sunrise.

On the first night of Ramadan, drummers sing a traditional mâni – a folkloric four-lined stanza – that greets the arrival of the 9th and holiest month of the Islamic calendar. As they beat drums, apartments light up and people poke their heads out of doors and windows; some children wave or some just ask to stop it if there are new-born baby, old or ill people at home. Every now and then, the music sets off the occasional car alarm.

It’s city which never sleeps.

2012 m. liepos 19 d., ketvirtadienis

Istanbul – a place where you let the mind run amok

I visited Istanbul for the first time 4 years ago. It was one year before the high school graduation. Very symbolic, because now when one more year is left to my university graduation I am here again celebrating my 22th birthday in Istanbul.

Before this trip to Istanbul I had one more opportunity to cope with Turkish culture shadings. I was invited on a free trip in Turkey. I’d be back only today. But several days before the departure people who had invited me said that there was no place for me anymore. I was really confused. Why would someone who is not sure invite me more than a week in advance?

I was so angry that I managed to stop a car in Turkey! Yeah, in Turkey where it seems that people do not really pay much attention to the traffic-lights.

So, I had two ways – to be angry, do nothing and complain about unorganized and always late Turkish people or do something. My birthday was coming up and I didn’t want to spend it alone in a hotel. So, I asked if there were any places to go to in Istambul with Americans. Hallelujah! I was lucky and got a spot.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the past. Sometimes I wish that I hadn’t had this year or maybe even two. On the another hand, youth is for making mistakes and if you understand them it will make you grow. Again, I want to go places and do things. I feel such lust for life, for discoveries and those little aha moments that I believe that these three months are like a gift that allows me to look at myself at a distance. I think I’m here in Turkey for a lot of reasons, but mainly to cope with emotions and become more tolerant. I do not worry anymore if something doesn’t go according to a plan. I just laugh at it. What else should I do? When you have done everything you could curiously warm tranquility settles inside and here, you learn to wait. The time passes by and you get what you’ve earned.

As our mentor, Mehmet said, ‘We just don’t care’. So, maybe this is a secret of Turkish life?

The first day

I’d say that Istambul is a city as you experience it, and felt as discovered. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, ‘If the world were a single state, Istanbul would have been its capital.’ It’s a meeting point of cultures and civilizations. For me it’s a city with a limitless sky above, where Europe and Asia meet. At first sight it looks like a city full of mess, noise and no harmony, but you’re wrong it is always balanced precariously, far-sighted, a town open for everybody.

Istanbul is the most developed and the largest city of Turkey, and the latest discoveries indicate that the history of human civilisation goes back 400,000 years ago. The Megarians settled and founded the city of Byzantium that later lent its name to the Byzantine Empire. However, the first settlers in the region established their city Chalcedon (Kadikoy), on ‘the land of blind people’ which was strategically less important. And the Megarians, led by Oracle became aware of the beauty of Seraglio Point (Sarayburnu), and they established their city there on the opposite side of Chalcedon. Today historical peninsula is the most nicest part of Istanbul.

This is a city that many desired to conquer. But the desire to possess the city cannot be explained only by its strategic position or unsurpassed beauty; it has a different attraction, a mystical magnetism that used to draw states, empires and great conquerors towards it.

For more than 1,500 years Istanbul was the capital of two empires, firstly the Byzantine and later Ottoman.  It’s the reason why here diverse cultures collide, nations and religions mingle. Those cultures, nations and religions are the small pieces that form the mosaic of Istanbul.

I’ll name places that are really worth visiting here.

We had really boring guide Apdal. Drop all the guided tours and go explore the city with your friends or locals, because it is much more interesting to get lost, to ask for a way. Yeah, I love travelling with my friends, but at this moment even trips only with myself sound enjoyable. Because it’s the hardest to be only on your own, solely with your thoughts, habits and stereotypes. But it is worth doing, because after sometime you start to feel free and let the past go without you anymore. When you are afraid of something, you feel that you are alive.

So, talking about our guide, he was kind of person who can’t attract your attention. Also, after the long trip we were almost dying, so listening to him became even harder. Firstly, we visited Blue Mosque. I still don’t know the reason I hadn’t put scarf on my head, the guide was worried only about shoulders and legs.

Next visit was to Hagia Sophia. Originally built as an Eastern Orthodox church later it was converted to a mosque in the mid 1400s. Now its a museum.

Basilica cistern (Yerebatan Cistern) was our other point. One of Istanbul’s major shortcomings was the supply of drinking water. Actually, still is, you can’t drink water from the tap, but should buy bottles. This cistern’s roof is supported by 336 columns. As before two years ago I threw a coin again, I’d like to come back here someday. Inside is really dark, you can small fish swim, wooden platforms built just above the water level, and of course mysterious Medusa head, which is rumored to turn the unwary gazer into stone if directly, looked at in the eye.

For lunch we went to restaurant which looked like one of those Italian. I loved the service there of course. It is way different from other places I visited. I had some humus and chicken crepe. The prices are way bigger than in Eskisehir, but you have try Istambul’s cuisine for sure. But better not buy food from streets – I tasted sandwich with lamb, but after this I felt strange it was too heavy.

Topkapı Palace is a place within the royal walls. It was the residence of the Ottoman sultans for 400 years: The Topkapi Palace was built on the prime site of the historical peninsula of Istanbul with commanding views of the Istanbul Strait. The architecture of this palace was not similar to European places. The Ottoman sultans paid great attention to build grandiose religious buildings, while they kept the architecture of their own residences quite plain, just enough to meet their needs. This was probably due to the influence of Islamic thought.

The last visit was in Grand Bazaar. Our guide knew that everybody was itching to spend money, so he pointed out all the cheapest places in the city, but asked not to bargain. What a lie! Where else would I get a bargain if not here, because they double the prices every time, so you can easily overpay. Me, Qianqian and Caroline were called Charlie’s Angels. That was the sweatiest invitation. Others were too intimate, insulting or just too obsessive.

Despite 3000 of odd shops it didn’t look crowded. I got some presents, and I had a really interesting chat. We were trying to bargain for earrings. I was trying to play as we are here already for three months, so we know the real prices and people, but that guy said, ‘Oh, you even don’t imagine what the real Turkish people are’, that was mysterious and not very pleasant experience. But you should visit this place and feel that messy and authentic Turkish atmosphere.

I enjoyed going to Spice Bazaar much more and buying Turkish delights (gummy candy type of thing made out of honey and other favors).

The second day

Staying in Sultain’s hostel was tolerable. Well, when you come just for two nights it doesn’t really matter where, right?

Day began with Bosphorus boat trip. It was amazing as it made me feel like being in-between two worlds. Later we went for a lunch and had a strange fish sandwich which was made on the street.

If you want to visit Dolmabahçe Palace you have to wait in a huge line. Also, prices for entry are different for Turkish people and foreigners – we had to pay more than two times. But as you enter the palace you forget all about it – it feels like dreaming ancient dream.

But there was akward moment when guide started saying that people from Europe are rude and stucked-up (he thought that all our group is from America), so then he realised that I’m from Lithuania, he tried to cover up it distinquishing people from England, France and Spain.

Istiklal Street (Istiklal Cadesi) – is the main lively street in Turkey. It’s really crowded – around 2 million visitors every day. The only vehicular movement breaking the flood of human activity is the nostalgic thread of tramlines. Both sides of the street are lined with art galleries, famous shops and cafes where lively talk goes on and passages drink dens. Interestingly there are no rubbish bins because of the fear of possible terrorist attacks. So, it’s a little bit dirty. The Americans started asking whether it was like this in all Europe? Of course not, it depends on the country.

I loved the view, panoramic vistas of unique location from Galata Tower. You can observe lives in streets and lovely terraces on the roof. Somebody is rushing, somebody is just reading, taking and sun tanning while others are trying to catch birds for food. I wanted to stay here for a while. Finally, in this tower I realised that today is my birthday.

As I read in one tour book, the world‘s cultural heritage is like a big puzzle. Each monument, each object, is an irreplaceable part of the overall picture which gives us insight into our origins, our development and our lives today. It helps us to understand and appreciate other cultures. Each discovery, each new interpretation adds to the puzzle and makes the picture clearer and as I feel new experiences rushing can change our personalities a lot.

2012 m. liepos 16 d., pirmadienis

Falling in love

Have you ever given an interview to a journalist during your first date with a new sweetheart? Well, by an accident I made it happen.

There was a nice couple drinking kahve (Turkish coffee), hot day as always and me, searching for new stories. They were 25 years old and quite friendly. They said that they met in a bar. Are they worried about parent’s acceptance? (Ok, I know it’s too early for these questions, but I needed more information). No, because both are from contemporary families.

Other couples with whom I tried to talk, well, just ask several questions couldn’t speak English or maybe just wanted privacy during the date J)

There are two types of couples here. Contemporary ones and traditional, you can tell one from another by their appearance. Looking at young couples only few young women wear scarves on their heads, it’s more popular amongst older females. (Why do men do not need to wear anything special?).

I haven’t seen a lot of kissing couples in public; it’s more common to hug or just hold hands. Turkish men sometimes are too annoying, but they know they have to behave with women. Communication is filled with a lot of respect. Nowadays is popular to search for wife or husband in Europe. I quess the reasons are clear for you.

Also, one day I was observing couples in late cinema show: gentle touches, sensitive kisses, caring about each other, bringing presents after a movie break (Turkish have 10 minutes pause during the film).

It was nice to see and feel that they are really caring about each other. I hope during this time I’ll meet a couple that will speak English and let me get a closer look at Turkish traditions.

2012 m. liepos 12 d., ketvirtadienis

Dear God, Thank you

When we have the best of intentions we are just too scared to realize them. I started to think that I won’t always be young and life won’t always be just about me and my needs, so I decided to take risks every day.

During summer in Lithuania I always visit several festivals. I love live music and meeting new people and festivals are perfect for this. But last year everything seemed the same. Maybe it was the time to explore more.

This Sunday I could just thank God how lucky I was. One of my tasks was to get to festival named Mihalıççık Belediyesi. I had to do this by myself.

Mihalıçcık, is a town and district of Eskişehir Province in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. According to 2010 census, population of the district is 10,482 of which 3,133 live in the town of Mihalıççık.

I knew that I should take a tram to Otogar (last bus stop) and catch a bus. Fortunately, while waiting for a tram I met Ehmet who could speak in English. On the way we have discussed several topics. The most interesting was that he is from Istanbul but don’t want to live here: “There’s too much of traffics, people and pulse of life. It’s good only for visits.”

He helped me to buy a ticket and invited to spend time together (I had to wait for an hour). Near the Otogar is Kent Park (giant pool/man-made beach), where women beach are seperated from men. But I‘ve already visited it before, so staying in the bus station was way more interesting for me.

I started taking pictures and saw a lot of tulumba tottlisi (doughnuts). I was interested how it‘s called in Turkish because I couldn‘t find it in my dictionary, so I asked the salesman. He not only helped with this tricky word, but also gave it to try for free. Also, there was a boy who served tea in the bus station.

While wandering in station I met nice grandmother Suukman Guungon with whom I had to get to the same bus. The only thing which happens on time there is the­­ busses arrivals. As the bus approached she tried to talk with me, but it was impossible.

The trip was a funny one. Everybody was staring at me. If I had known before, that Turkish think all blonde girls are Russians and call them “Natasha” because their easy ones, I wouldn’t risk so much. But I thought about this kind of attention, so just in case I was wearing trousers.

Moreover, there weren’t enough seats, so several people sat on the chairs. Surprisingly, they still looked happy and chatty. It would definitely be impossible in Lithuania, somebody would really complain.

Happily, one man could speak English. Somehow he learnt language from newspapers and television, so he asked where was I going and gave some instructions to the driver. Lucky again, huh?

When we finally came to the festival popular singer Ramazan Celik was performing. Everybody was crazy, standing on the cars, shouting, dancing together with this star.

Then the son of the bus driver introduced me to Zekeriya Goker and Umit Guven (politicians). Well, they thought that I was a photographer, I tried to explain that I am not, but it was impossible.

They invited to eat together with their families in the forest. I thought that it was nice at first but then everybody started to treat me with food and take pictures, I felt strange and a little bit uncomfortable.

The rest of the time I spent with the family of the driver. His wife, daughters served meal and tried to communicate. 'You're like sister to us', they said. We enjoyed the festival and they helped me to get back home.

Maybe for Turkish people tourists are kind of entertainment to whom they feel respect and try protect.

One quick rather interesting note, when I got on the bus, the only available free seat was next to a man, but the bus driver changed the seats that I would sit with woman.

To sum up, the festival was great because there were no drunk people whereas in back at home in Lithuania there would be plenty of them. Also, Turkish danced a lot – belediye folklor ekibi. I thought it was a traditional dance, but I was told that it was popular to perform in night clubs as well.

Of course, I tasted a lot of different meals as zeytinyagli yaprak dolmasi (grape leaf rolls), differently prepared pilic (chicken), musakka (ratotuille), peynirli pogaca (pie with cheese), cherries (this town is famous for this), gekirdek, Ayran (its way better with salt). Afijet olsun! (Bon appétit!).