Friday, November 28, 2008

South to Cappadocia

Through Trabzon and on to Samsun - pleasant coastline, good roads, the weather held out - but all in all just a little dull. None of the interesting encounters we were used to. Getting up at 3.30 am local time - 2 hours before sunrise - to make the most of the short days! For a long time we left our watches on Georgian time - prefer getting up at 5.30am and sunset at 6.30pm! Sunset at 4.30pm is just depressing!

Then rode 105km into Samsun and jumped straight onto a local train south to Amasya.
Amasya - excellent fort and a 15th. century multidomed Turkish hamam (bathhouse). We had decided to make a detour south by train so that we could go from Cappadocia through central Anatolia up to İstanbul, and needed to save a bit of time.

"Türkiye - güzel!" - being presented with a Turkish flag pin, a moment of great honour...

Then another train south to Sivas a day later.
Met some characters on the train:
-A nomadic Turkish tennis coach based in Cape Town who (I eventually worked out) was riding trains all over Turkey with a month pass (accommodation: random trains!). His passport signature read 'Beatles' (his favourite band!)
-An elderly Turkish language teacher, spinster, who spoke good German but had never left Turkey. She gave me a primer on Turkish conspiracy theories re: PKK and Kurds (basically: the EU and USA covertly and sometimes overtly support Kurdish terrorism)
-A young Kurdish ship captain from Adana on the south coast - had dinner together in Sivas.

Then one more train to Kayseri. Here the central tourist information man chatted to us in German, rang a journo and we got into 4 newspapers.

Locally made 'Bison' bikes - they look seriously indestructible. With a kid seat on the top tube. Didn't pick one up.

Here we also met some İranian refugees and refreshed our Farsi.

Got invited to stay by Ahmet, an English language teacher who lectured me about Islam on the ride home to his wife and three lovely kids. His sister came over and the evening turned into a domestic violence consultation. Later I found porn on his computer by accident (hit 'previous image' on an image browser!) and he tried to get me to attract Russian/Ukrainian girls to chat with him on Skype!!! ( 'Ask her to turn the camera on! Ask her to turn the camera on!')
His wife says he spends 2-3 hours a night 'chatting' after they go to bed - in the same room.

Have the horrible feeling that most İranian men would be doing exactly the same thing if they had computers and İnternet skills.

İn Cappadocıa now and it's SNOWING!!! Better than rain - just...

The last 2 nights we've spent in caves - a bit chilly but very pleasant and better than paying 70 euros for a cave hotel! Our balconies were better!!!
(Only had to flick one turd out of last night's cave and avoid a pair of mystery underpants on the floor).

Cave security!

Note the first tourists of the day arriving above... didn't realise we were below a lookout! Our accommodation was the cave behind me.

When we arrıved ın Ürgüp we found a petrol station with a hot shower! (only in the mens', mind you, not the womens', but that wouldn't stop Julie) Enjoyed a full wash/clean up/service/oil change there... unfortunately we both had to endure what I refer to as a 'poo sauna' courtesy of other Turkish toilet patrons... still, we went back again the next day on our way out of town...
..if this were Germany İ would have then found the shower locked with a sign saying: 'For customers only! Please collect key AFTER paying for your purchase!' Luckily this is Turkey and instead we were offered tea after our second shower!
On the other hand Cappadocia is currently a vast cold empty tourist precinct with overpriced 'oper air museums'.

So far Turks generally seem very insular with little interest in the outside world. Very little English is spoken, even compared to İran, where there is much more interest in English - but much less opportunity to speak it! We are admired for our 'exploits', instead of asking questions about our homes, Turks generally just insist that we find Turkey 'çok güzel' (fantastic).

Gastarbeiter German is still much more useful than English. The standard attitude was, 'Isch arbeiten 30 Jahren in Kölle! Nur ein Monat hier Urlaub machen und dann zurückfahren - Rente in Deutschland is besser, nich?' - i.e. 'I've been working in Cologne for 30 years, just come back here for one month holiday then I go back to Germany cos the pension's better there...' Some have come back for good after being sacked before qualifying for pensions ('Deutschland kaputt, nix Arbeit mehr!') These very working class Turks all seem to LİKE Germany - surprisingly enough. I suspect it's only really because of the association with good wages!

On towards İstanbul, probably skipping Konya...

1 comment:

flower power said...

very nice!!! I planned a trip for the spring in turkey, so thanks for your precious information :)