Friday, July 6, 2012

Turkiye 2012, Part 4: Living the Hobbit Life, with Higher Ceilings

Oh what an eye-catching photo this is. -rolls eyes-
I finally got myself to start working on the fourth part of my Turkish travelogue, and realized that due to a policy of mine of inserting photos loyal to chronological order as they more or less took place, I have no choice but to start this post with a photo of a bowl of cereal and milk. Let's just assume that the cereal was manufactured in Turkey, using Turkish raw materials, by a Turkish company, with a Turkish owner. who has a Californian spouse. Is there any point in imagining that, you ask? None, really... but you've probably forgotten about the photo by now.
Chilly, chilly cheese and meats
We had to start early that day, for reasons which will soon be explained (because thinking about what I shall write about the picture above takes precedence). Balls of cheese, slices of cheese, strips of cheese, salami, cucumber. Bravo, I've just won the grand prize for descriptive journalism. Well done.
Bees not included.
This was actually our 'last' day in Istanbul- we had a flight to catch to Cappadocia. To this day I cannot decide whether to pronounce it as 'chia' or 'kya'. Back on point, the hotel staff were nice enough to lay out some of the dishes earlier for us- the easy ones which didn't require any cooking. A pity, really, because their roast potatoes and egg... mush were delicious. The honey, obviously, required zero talent for cooking.
Pianist, glad that we made it on time. Somehow.
We had a brief scare because the driver who was supposed to take us to the airport was late. We fidgeted until we couldn't stand it any longer, and got the front desk to get us two cabs. We fidgeted for the whole ride to the airport (Sabiha Gokcen airport) too, though- no thanks to a helpful traffic jam.
Pretty... constant scenery. Constantly white.
Our destination, the North Pole. To bully Penguins and look for burglarize Superman's Crystal Fortress. Oh wait, was that at the South Pole? Who am I kidding. At this point we were flying somewhere over Cappadocia, or close to it. All that snow- I know it was winter when we first arrived, but seeing all that snow drove the point rather deep in.
It moves a lot faster than it looks in this photo. Obviously...
Absolutely nothing for miles and miles. The only reason I can remember for taking this picture is that the train felt like something you'd expect to see in Smallville. Right. Second Superman reference in two paragraphs- there's something dreadfully wrong with me (faulty memory due to delaying the writing of this post for so long, you twit).
Pretty bow.
One of our rooms in our Cappadocian cave hotel. We stayed in a cheaper place (still pricey, given the status of the area and the currency, mind), so the facilities were rather spartan. A spot of trouble: Apparently the whole town was out of water- problem with the pipes or something- and it took longer for water to be restored to our side due to our high location. I didn't bother with bathing (the horror- I'd never do such a thing back home).
Daytime view of the town from the front porch of our hotel. There aren't that many people walking about, probably because most have run off to the big cities. I don't think there's much supporting this town besides the tourism industry (i.e. us).
The dogs here are really friendly. Perhaps too friendly. They look too well kept to be strays, though. Though technically even owned dogs left to their own devices should count as strays... they are straying, after all. They were pretty quiet, though- barely growled. What's that they say about a dogs bark being worse than it's bite? Bite being worse than it's bark? Oh bother.
Small but good.
A little outdoor market selling vegetables, nuts, and preserved stuff. We were lucky- they only open one day of the week. We also got a little carried away, buying more than we could possibly finish. I didn't plan on helping much either.
Main street.
Another view of the town. It really was quiet. Wonder if there'd be a bigger crowd in Summer. That's a mosque on the right- I'm surprised they didn't stick it in a cave. Interesting fact: It's mostly Christians living the cave life here, I think (to avoid persecution ages ago). 
Cappadocian mystery.

"To all the Japanese people, welcome to Cappadocia! Wakoshi (probably watashi, "I") love Japan, so I am offering you a 10% discount on my delicious Turkish cooking! Please give it a go!"

Is this racism? Opportunism? Or just plain otakuism? If I ordered in Japanese, would I qualify for a discount? It's a mystery.
Moi, pretending to be a Turk. or a Sheikh. Or just a really long looking guy with a towel on his head... and small feet. Maybe I should insist on all future photos of me being taken at this angle...
Spare me already.
The menu at the place where we had lunch. Farmville. Seriously guys, you could have done better. Farmville is sooo last century- the in-people play Frontierville now. Just kidding, I've quit all the Facebook games I used to play ages ago. Still...
Generic tasty liquid.
Some sort of vegetable soup, served in every restaurant whether you like it or not, with the possible exception of McDonalds- we didn't visit Ronald, so I can't verify that statement. They just might have had it- I wouldn't blame them for being un-McDonaldish, though. It's quite delicious, though nowhere close to the level of Cream of Mushroom with a cloud of black pepper powder.
Meat with gravy. At long last.
My lunch- Pottery Kebab, so it's called. Namely because it's cooked and served in a clay pot (well I'm not too sure about the cooking- it could have been cooked in a different pot). It was a nice change from all the dry meat. Still meat, but at least it was different.
If, should, could.
What's so special about this photo? Nothing, really. But pay attention. Look at the middle of the photo, and what do you see? A hot air balloon. One of the highlights of Cappadocian tours. We had one booked for the next day, but were out of luck. Bad weather (strong winds and lots of snow) ruined it for us, and all flights were canceled.

After lunch, we climbed up to the highest point in town. Here's how the land looks away from the town- pretty desolate, no?
Group shot.
Group shot (minus pop) at the top of the hill. Pretty good pose, no? Although one careless slip would have had my jaw dislocated by an unintentional uppercut. Probably. You can probably tell that I'm spouting nonsense for lack of anything better to say. Oh well.
In the distance.
At some points it was rather slippery and muddy- my white canvas shoes turned brown. Luckily enough a nice combination of walking through snow and on ice helped to clean the much off, and dry air and hot water pipes in the room helped to restore them to their normal state (gray around the sides- so much for the whiteness).
We planned on visiting an 'outdoor art museum', but the place was closed when we got there. Instead we ended up in a cave church, supposedly one of the oldest in the region, from when Christians had to hide from whoever it was that didn't like them. Photography was forbidden, but I managed to sneak a few shots- not like there was anyone to stop me though.
Cave restaurant.
This here's Evranos Restaurant, where we had a dinner and dance event. Not us dancing, of course, but a group of local guys and girls, and one belly dancer. I'm told the price was a lot better than back in Istanbul- with more food too (and more booze than we could finish). Huge crowd, too, mostly tourists from China.
Human tops.
Turkey's famous Whirling Dervishes. Incredibly boring, really. Just men in skirts twirling around like that lady in the Sound of Music. I could do better in any theme park's spinning teacup ride.
Hey you, that's my chair.
Which was followed by more dances, and a demonstration of a traditional marriage. I'm sure you'll have noticed by now, but we got a lousy table- right next to the musicians, and behind the dancers. Cousin and I both fell in love with one of the dancers- the same one too. Go figure. It was like Michael Corleone's Thunderbolt, except that pragmatism runs deep in me and I didn't try to trace her down the next day. The cousin consoled himself by assuming that she's probably already in a relationship with one of the male dancers, or she's a lesbian.

Oh well. That's it- a pretty filling end to day 4 in Turkey.


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