So it is 2010, and what better way to kick off the New Year (albeit a month late) than to ponder the past with an eye to the future. Confused? Don't be.
Shortly before Mr. This Cat's (Not) Abroad and I left for our rather lengthy
I must confess that the highlight of the day was the tour of her flat where pride of place went to her bedroom. In it were four framed studio photographs (about 2' x 5') of her engagement and marriage, all
At the end of all this girlish mayhem - and if you're looking for a pillow fight in our baby dolls, read no further prurient reader - Habibe offered to read our futures. And because this is Turkey, divination - which I'm sure the Prophet (pbuh) frowns upon most sternly if the Qur'anic expression 'an abomination of Satan' means anything - divination doesn't come in the form of interpreting the flight patterns of birds, the livers of sheep, rods, palms, cards, the stars, soil patterns, gems, fire, runes, numbers, tea leaves, dreams, gazing into crystal balls and my favourite: interpreting the sounds emitted by stomachs (much favoured by Mr. This Cat).
No, because this is Turkey, it is fortune telling by coffee grounds - Turkish coffee naturally, no just-add-boiling-water Nescafé will do.
There was much squealing of delight when Habibe made her offer to read our futures. Off she went to brew, boil & skim the coffee which, it turns out, she likes to sweeten with about 4 tablespoons of sugar per cup (sugar is added during the cooking stage) and which I prefer to drink decidedly unsweetened. (This would be an excellent opportunity for Mr. This Cat to say that I don't need extra sugar because I am already sweet enough.)
I fretted: would the addition of unwanted sugar have an unsavoury impact on my future? Would the reading be unduly sugar-coated and therefore inaccurate? Would my future not include Mr. This Cat waiting for me to join him at the Ah Pub downtown?
Smiling - which wasn't so difficult as I had been smiling nonstop for the last 3 hours - I sipped my coffee (from one side of the cup only, otherwise the reading would be compromised) in a dainty porcelain cup, and tried to hide my discomfort as I felt the fillings melt in my mouth and discreetly scanned the room for a syringe of insulin. As directed, I turned the cup several times counter-clockwise (surely the Prophet was scowling up in heaven during all of this), made a wish (which I shall not share with you but feel free to pick up a copy of my book), and handed the cup back to Habibe to interpret the shapes of the dregs left behind. And because this is Turkey, and this is Turkish coffee, there was a prodigious showing of dregs.
Habibe carefully inspected the grounds. Since, apart from the two of us, the girls in the room were unmarried young things, Habibe dutifully foresaw in their cups mysterious men and marriage proposals and at least two white horses (read into that what you will) - which was followed by more squeals of delight. When she came to mine, she identified a giant fish or possibly a horse (she had given up using her Turkish-to-English dictionary by this point) and told me that I was about to set off on a vacation with palm trees. Which probably would've blown my socks off had I not told her on several occasions that Mr. This Cat and I would soon be enjoying a rather lengthy
She then covered my cup with the saucer, flipped it over, and turned her professional eye to the saucer. There were no dregs! Everything had adhered to the cup. This is excellent! she squealed in delight. Why this was excellent she was unable to expound upon as Habibe was on the cusp of failing elementary English for the second time.
So there you have it: Turkish tasseography (or tasseomancy or even tassology) at its
And as for the man with the very large backside? Dear reader, if you think that you might be he, kindly identify yourself.