Merhaba from Usak 5/16/11

Today we searched around Usak for I. purpureobracteata.  It turned out to be a long day.  We drove on several small dirt roads in the Muryat Mountains searching rocky sites for the species.  All of the usual plants were present such as rhododendrons, peonies, orchids, sedums, hyacinths, tulips, narcissus and cushion plants.

 

At about 3:00 in the afternoon we stopped where a man named Mehmet was peeling bark from logs that were down from his earlier work in selective logging.  It appears that trees are removed to thin the forest but the overall effect is little damage because the work is done with a chainsaw, axe and small tractor that has a chain for pulling the logs to the road.  Mehmet was quite interesting.  Typically he works with a colleague but this day the colleague was not feeling well.  He knew a little English and we used our phrase book and dictionary to communicate.  He had been working in Libya for a Portuguese company during the uprising and ensuing fighting.  It was clear that this experience was quite upsetting as he returned to the subject several times.  A friend of his was wounded in the shooting but we understood that he had survived.  He invited us to tea and proceeded to produce lunch with tea, fresh tomatoes and peppers, cheese (from his sheep) and bread.  His son arrived on a second tractor with flat bread that had cheese and green onion inside.  We provided two oranges and hazelnuts.  We asked if his son was in school or finished and he responded that he was finished and did not want to attend college, a fact that obviously disappointed him.  His son shrugged and smiled indicating that this was not a new subject.  Mehmet felt that the plant we were looking for was higher up the mountain at an area of mining and sheep camps based on some information we had on locations.  He offered to take us there on his day off but we did not have time in our schedule to stay for several days.  We drove on until our small rental car could not go further due to ruts, flooding and general problems with the road.  We turned back down the mountain planning to leave the area and move on to the west. 

 

Just before dark Clyde spotted some potential Iris on a high cliff along the road.  It was not light enough to determine what the plants were so we decided to stay in the area another night and check in the morning.  We stopped in several small towns but there was no hotel so we drove back to Usak for the night.  When we are lost which is typical in cities and towns Clyde stops at the city police station to ask directions.  This time the police were quite suspicious, told him he should bring me into the station for tea and followed him to the car.  I think it was the blood on his hand from a slip on the rocks.  They may have been checking to see if I was still living as we had stopped the night before when lost also.  That time they were friendly.  I usually stay in the car while he asks directions because the machine guns make me nervous. The police are however very helpful and often know some English.