The really fun news for me is that there’s a new web site out there called http://www.iwasinturkey.com/ and it’s designed as a wiki site where people who have been to Turkey can tell their stories and show their pictures.
I have been contacted by the site manager, who asked me if he could put all my Turkey stories on the site. Wow—makes me feel really good, and I wanted you all to know.
Out early in one of the troglodyte cities— where the local stone was so soft and the trees so scarce that people just carved
in the rock, up high in some,
at ground level in others, and underground as well.
When the bad guys came, the locals had about six months’ worth of food and some very deep wells, and some really big rocks they could just roll across their entries,
and wait ‘em out.
Now, of course, since people have been living here continuously for a couple-three thousand years or more, the current villages surround the old ones.
These were discovered by westerners about 100 years ago, and now much of this area (Cappadocia) has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s also been designated the Tour Bus Capital of Central Turkey and the Tourist Souvenir Gauntlet from the Parking Lot to the Actual Site Entry site.
Oh, Boy has it earned all those awards.
At one town where there was a huge underground city, there were about 15 doll stands, a dozen with tables of tufa ashtrays and dust catchers, a dozen restaurants, an equal number of rug and kilim shops. . . .
I just don't get part of the culture here.
Everyone in the markets essentially sells the same stuff.
The same tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, apples, oranges. . . .
I don't understand why, for example, some entrepreneur doesn't start growing cherry tomatoes, or yellow pear tomatoes, or whatever. . . .
Of course, so far, these are people who haven't yet caught on the putting handles on brooms so the women don't get so bent over they can't stand up.
I hit Guzelyurt from 6 AM to about 8, then had a great breakfast in the pensiyone—wanted to show you the room-- $25 (with the breakfast!).
I also found the local cemetery, and it was just compelling, as it had the range of human history there, it seemed, all in one place.
Old stones without any markings (or even a regular shape)
shaped but un-inscribed stones,
and, finally, what we are used to.
And, of course, I grabbed a couple of the locals who were out early.
Of course, I thought the really old stuff was the best.
Turkey Statehood Day
And then, up in the town, I noticed some of the high-school (referred to as “college” over here) kids lined up in blocks in the street, and a couple of van-loads of cops, and some Class-A Gendarmes, and even more flags and banners than usual, so I followed them all down the street to the local soccer fields: it was Turkey Statehood Day!
And lots of speeches (6 or so) where the name “Ataturk” came up a good deal, and the trumpet (sounds like a strident version of “Taps” national anthem— about 3 minutes’ worth, followed by group singing of [I’m guessing] the choral half).
Students gave many of the speeches, and they were pretty impassioned.
And then kids doing folk dances and little human-pyramid PE displays, and it was pretty sweet.
This little cutie was standing next to me in the stands, and I should have spent more time focussed on her.
I got noticed by the high-school band/choral teacher as I walked in, so we talked for a while, and I will tell you that one of his colleagues is the most beautiful woman I’ve seen in Turkey, and maybe just about ever, including two weeks in Paris!
So I left there, unrequited (and un-noticed, I’m sure, and unknown) and drove through some pretty harsh country dotted here and there with strange geologic formations and little (what the tourist brochures like to call “fairy chimneys”, but I won’t) towers and columns of tufa that have been carved into houses (and even churches).
The doorways at bottom center are 7 feet high and about a hundred or more feet away.
And I’ll be prowling around this area for a few days, holed up in one bed of a three-bed dormette, for $12 a night, and the manager (a great delight of a woman named Dawn, from Scotland) will try to keep others out if she can.
If she can’t, there’s a much smaller single bed room (and room to walk to the headboard in a pinch) that I can have for the same amount.
I have hauled all the stuff in as it’s time to organize all the loot into one place to see how much there is, and to start packing it up so I don’t have to muck with it. It’s currently in little packages mostly (but not entirely) in the big backpack, and I need to do some house-keeping.
Normally I leave the majority of the stuff in the car, and just bring in a couple of cloth grocery sacks: one for food, one for other: shower sandals, reading light, toiletries, etc.
Plus the camera and lap-top, and all the electronic gear, of course, but I haven’t schlepped all the gear anywhere since I loaded the car to head out from Istanbul on the 13th of April.
The plan is to get out early, hit the big sites, moodle around until about 2, hunker down here in the hostel during the heat of the day, then go back out in the early PM to shoot again when the light is the best.