Wheeling our Way to Whirling Dervishes
Trip Start Oct 20, 2008
83Trip End Ongoing
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After a 4.5 hour trip, it was fun to try to act like locals and take the city's tram from the bus station to the center of town. We didn't do it quite right, because we couldn't figure out how to pay and the tram driver just waved us on, but there we were, semi-blocking the aisles with our big bags and being gawked at. Konya is on the more conservative side, seeing far less travelers than other spots on our trip, but residents were still welcoming.
Also, surprising to us, Konya is a veeerrrry large city, the 7th largest in the county, and just full to the gills with people, new buildings, lots of activity
After checking in and freshening up, we wandered about (purchasing some items, scoping out the bazaar) and then ate at an authentic Turkish restaurant behind the Mevlana Museum (more on that later) before meeting up with Laine and Jaime. We then walked over to the Cultural Center to see the Sufi Whirling Dervishes service called the Sema.
Information is not always readily available -- i.e., there is no website to learn about the Sema and many of our different hotel proprietors were hazy on the details, so we landed at the Cultural Center a couple hours before it was actually set to begin. The Center is quite close by to a fancy Hilton Garden Inn, so what originated as a bathroom break turned into having a couple beers in the garden courtyard before we returned at 9pm to see the Dervishes in their worship service.
We witnessed a 'band' (crude description) open the ceremony by playing traditional Turkish instruments and singing praise to Allah and Prophet Muhammad
Afterward, we parted ways with Jaime and Laine before having some tea/chai/cay with in the Dervish Otel salon with Muammer (one of the managers).
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