Thursday, April 7, 2016

Day's End in Qaraqaya.

Rafael with our host who is getting the grill ready for cooking our dinner!

After visting Lahij, we returned to the house in Qaraqaya and got ourselves settled in.  As we unpacked a few items from our suitcases, we both commented on the weather.  It was a cold and chilly afternoon.  We were both glad we brought some cold weather clothes with us.

Without access to the Internet or cable TV to entertain us, there wasn't a whole lot of anything else to do other than to walk around the property.  That took about five minutes.  Then, it was time to chat and the only people that Pat and I could really talk to was each other as our hosts don't speak English and Rafael's English is rough, at best.  It was truly a time for us to just get into our own headspaces and relax.  I wasn't complaining as I really do enjoy some quiet time on my own.


We watched our host pour out charcoal into his grill. The charcoal is something his family produces. Pat and I had watched several young men bag charcoal in a ravine in the woods near the house.



As the charcoals got burning, he worked on prepping the meat which he skewered along with the liver which came with the meat we bought. In the kitchen next door, the veggies were being prepped.


When the charcoals got to be white hot, the meat went on along with a skewer of tomatoes.


A skewer of the eggplants, stuffed with a piece of lamb fat joined the mix.


As the food sizzled away on the grill, I wandered about and shot a bit of video.


Rafael.  He's slowly beginning to relax around us.  I think he actually has a hint of a smile on his face :-)

As the meat continued to cook, the smell got more and more enticing.  I think I was getting hungry just from the smell.  If you're remotely a meat lover, the smell of grilled meat is heavenly!!



Soon it was time to eat. Yay!! We had the choice of eating inside or outside. By the time the meal was ready, the sun was beginning to dip over the horizon and a chill filled the air. Pat and I decided it would be much too cold to eat outside.



Rafael moved the small table, that we sat around and had our tea, to an upstairs room in the main building. As I entered the room, the first thing I noticed was the bed. I wondered if this was a room for guests or whether a family member or two slept here. It felt like eating back in the days when I lived in a studio apartment.

Our host and hostess brought up our food.

To kick off our meal, Rafael offered us shots of vodka but we declined so he shared one with our host who well deserved a drink.

Oh....that lamb looked so good.  It looked like a big plate of meat but I knew we would finish it all and we did!  A dish of cut up veggies, a dish of herbs, and the bread were served alongside the meat. 


The star of our dinner tonight!  Every bite as delicious as it looks!



To go with our meal, Rafael opened up a bottle of what he called *compote*. 

Today's offering was feyxoa (aka feijoa) compote.  The bottle was filled with some yellowish liquid and there were fruits floating at the top.  I had no idea what they were. One sip and I realized we were drinking really sweet, watered down fruit juice...almost like an agua fresca.  It was okay.  Off the top of my head, I couldn't remember exactly what feijoa was so I had to Google it.  Pineapple guava.  It's native to the highlands of Central and South America and I was surprised to find out that its been cultivated in the southern coastal region of Azerbaijan since 1928.  Who knew?  In any case, I don't know what pineapple guava tastes like so I have no idea if this juice is true to taste or not.


After dinner, Pat and I headed back to our room. It was chilly inside. Rafael bought us a small space heater. Pat and I adjusted the bedding so we would each have enough blankets to keep us warm while we slept. Our iPads were our distractions for the rest of the night. It's just past 11p now. Time for lights out. Tomorrow, we're headed to Qabbala. Rafael has promised snow and ice along the way. Aside from that, we have no idea what the day holds for us but whatever it may be, we both look forward to it!

She took off her down jacket once the room warmed up :-)

Goodnight from Qaraqaya!