7/22/2006

Adventures in Hobbit Land


Cappadocia is a weird place. We hadn’t realized how big Turkey was when we made our plane reservations for five days, which isn’t enough time. So at the youth hostel in the beginning we picked one place to go to and for time efficiency signed up for a tour. It’s nice that they took care of everything for us, but this was still one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
Continued...

First a word on Cappadocia. Do to some volcanic activity; the land is covered with cone like rock structure with wide angled black tops. Other than being a geological phenomenon, it has capitalized on as a tourist attraction and the whole town is obsessed with making things look like the cones. Clock towers had angled tops on them. Tourist knickknacks of cartoon versions of these cones were for sale every 2 meters. There were cartoon drawings of them. All of this was a little silly.

Now after the bus ride from hell, we were dropped at our hotel at 9:30. The night of crying coughing babies did not allow for much sleep and I am now face to face with very small women yelling at me to get on the tour bus b/c we are late.
“um.. I think we were supposed to be provided breakfast” – I stammered to her
“NO. NO TIME FOR EAT! Please, tour now.” – small Turkish tour guide.

This was probably the most audible thing we heard that day. This women must have memorized a simple script of English for the tour b/c it was very very basic and questions were either not answered, or answered with something completely irrelevant to what was asked. Example –
“Over here is a cone cave. No one lives there now.” – little tour guide
“So, what people used to live there?” – me
“I was born in Istanbul, thank you.” – little tour guide

“How much longer do you think the tour will be?” – me
“I studied for 4 years to be a tour guide. It’s very selective here.” – little tour guide

We began the day with a 2 hour hike.
“Get out your water bottles, you’ll be thirsty.” – little tour guide
“We didn’t have time to get water!” – me
“That’s right, it’s important to drink water, you could get very sick with out it.” – little tour guide

I wish I could describe more on how these cones were formed and what their purpose served to the people of Turkey, but this information was way too hard to get out of our guide. We were left to enjoy the land in a superficial visual manner instead. We climbed through caves and across the land. The whole place from what we saw was really contrived. This was one of the first times I had participated in a set up “authentic” experience and I will surely be careful of my touring in the future because of this experience.

Anyways some good came of it all when we saw where we were sleeping. All of the hotels in Cappadocia are set up in the theme of the caves and we got to sleep in a cave room. Okay okay, it wasn’t a real cave, but still how often do you get to sleep in something that looks like a cave?

We stayed there for two days and on the last day we had the afternoon for pool sitting. The thought of sitting by the pool had kept Shosh and I moving when we were dog tired and it had finally arrived when – bam! The biggest downpour of rain we’d seen in a while started to drench everything in sight. We took shelter in the main cave room (hotel restaurant). Some old men were playing sheshbesh (backgammon) and it’s a good thing I learned some mad sheshbesh playing skills in Israel because otherwise we would have had nothing to do for four hours. We played for a few hours and then it was back on the overnight bus again. Not fun.

Back in Istanbul we spent the day walking around the city and hung out until our plane was leaving. The whole trip was great; it was just not enough time to really see Turkey. There is so much to this country; I will have to come back some other time.

1 Comments:

Blogger Aaron Liss said...

I know that you created this post like 2 years ago, but I am commenting on it now. I was in Cappadocia in August of 2006, and we probably had the same tour guide. Did you get to see the rock formation that looked like a rabbit? We took the overnight bus the day after arriving from india. When we stopped for food and bathrooms I felt like I was back on birthright, there were 80 buses lined up, everyone doing the same thing we were doing. After seeing no white people for 6 weeks, this was a bit of a shock. My favorite day in Cappadocia was the day that Justin and I wandered aimlessly around, climbing on different formations. It was all great until justin loosened a rock (boulder) and it flew down the hill hitting me directly in my semi-healed wound. I did not want to explain that one to my parents, 'so I was out hiking, and...' we ended the day by playing 'baseball' with a stick and some rocks as all those tour buses zoomed by. All in all, it felt like we left India for touristy Arizona. Wee only had like 6 days in Turkey too, not enough time. We took the overnight bus back to Istanbul, broke into a hostel to use the shower, took naps in the park, then flew out that night...to head to Martha's Vineyard, of all places. It was like being in a non-stop gap commercial, but that's a story for another day.

8:34 PM  

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