Sunday, April 22, 2012
Turkey - Cappadocia
I just finished uploading, tagging, titling, and writing some descriptions on 67 pictures in flickr. That's pretty exhausting. Anyways, hello people. I'm back in Singapore. I was back exactly last Saturday. Where did I go? Did you guess correctly based on my last post? Well I went to Turkey and it was awesome. Why Turkey? Well it wasn't the first plan for this year. However my travelling mate, YeeMaggio, wasn't able to leave work to go to our first destination so Turkey it is. Still doesn't answer why Turkey and what's the first destination? Well I'm not gonna tell you what the first destination is because I felt I jinxed it when I told many people about it. So I'm gonna keep it quiet. The why Turkey, is because this year I just want to go to a country which will accept an Indonesian like me without the difficult process of applying visa beforehand. Granted, I've never been rejected of schengen visa the 2 times I applied for it. However I dislike the fact that I had to prepare many paper works which include things like disclosing my personal information like statement from the last 3 months of my saving account and also getting permission here and there which involved telling people in charge of where I am going to go. Turkey allows Indonesian to get in with visa on arrival and it was so painless. I guess that's why I've seen and heard many Indonesians out there. Most felt in Istanbul, the invasion of Indonesians is just beginning! But that's another story when we reach the Istanbul leg. Today we're gonna start with my first leg, in the lovable Cappadocia.
This time around, I'm gonna give some information which is hopefully useful for people who want to go to Turkey or Cappadocia. I didn't have a lot of time to plan this trip. We only finished settling everything like 1 week before departure. From Singapore, there's a direct flight to Istanbul (everyday I think) from Turkish Airline. I chose Turkish Airline but they have code sharing with Singapore Airline. So when booking from Turkish airline's site, do check which airline serves the flight. Basically Singapore airline offers same day arrival, it leaves after midnight as opposed to Turkish airline who leaves before midnight, so that's why it can arrive on the same day. However the price difference can be 500 euro more expensive. If you are one of those people who are in love with Singapore Airline (= rich), go ahead. Let me just tell you that 500 euro can get you a nice hotel accomodation for almost a week or a really nice handmade Turkish carpet :) So anyways, got into Turkish airline. When I chose the seat, the seating plan seemed to still be rather empty so I was hopeful in having a quiet flight. Lucky for the airline, unlucky for me, it wasn't so. There were many Indonesians actually. I talked to one of the Indonesian tante (lady / auntie) while we were waiting for the lavatory. She's from Bandung and she's in a group which were on an umroh
package tour. They would have a small tour in Turkey after their umroh. I was thinking it's been a long journey for this lady. Bandung to Jakarta, then transitting in Singapore, then Istanbul, then around 4-5 hours more to Saudi Arabia. That's like around 2 days of travelling. Anyway, having that many Indonesians in the plane made me feel good. I chose an aisle seat at the side block. The plane was rather small, there were only 2 seats at the side block instead of 3. That made me rather uneasy because I don't know, I don't know how plane works. I just wonder if this small plane will fare as well as bigger planes on a long journey (it takes more than 10.5 hours). I just thought bigger planes will not get easily blown by the wind but they do have more surface area to be struck by lightning I suppose. Anyways, unfortunate me was seated next to a big inconsiderate guy. I cannot blame him from being big and you know how guys just cannot sit with their legs closed, but bottomline is he's invading my space a lot that I basically only used like 75% of my space :( I was pretty pissed. Suffice to say, I couldn't sleep and I ended up watching 3 movies, Moneyball
(very very good), The Big Year
(very good, I found myself be more curious about birds), and A Dolphin's Tale
(so-so, borderline boring).
So then we arrived in Istanbul Ataturk airport which is the airport located in the European side. Istanbul is a city located both in Europe and Asia. It is separated by the Bosphorus strait. We haven't actually arrived yet at our destination because our first leg was Cappadocia and so we have to fly to Kayseri or Nevşehir. I chose Kayseri. It's a domestic flight, so in Istanbul, I had to do my visa and go through immigration first. We left before midnight in Singapore and arrived just after 6 am so the airport was pretty quiet. After some walking and asking for direction, we found the counter for visa processing. Since YeeMaggio is a Singaporean, she doesn't have to do this. When I was there, there was this group of Indonesian ladies in front of me. So they went first but they didn't give the exact change. It's 25 USD for one Indonesian. I had the exact change so I gave my money and passport. Since I had the correct amount, the guy quickly put the visa sticker and returned my passport first with a smile :) Easy peasy and so painless! I was super happy :) :) :) By the way, one of the lady in that group was maybe an Indonesian celebrity. She looked like the lady who played the teacher in Laskar Pelangi
. She was all smile to me, so nice. I'm not sure though because she didn't look so pretty but we did just go through a long flight and I am just bad at recognizing people.
Anyways, after that we walked to the domestic terminal. The flight was leaving at 9 something. I think there might be an earlier flight but I chose this flight because I wasn't sure if the visa thing would take some time. So we just waited at the airport. Now, Turkish Airline is by no mean the cheapest way to travel domestically. There are budget airlines like Pegasus and Sun Express. I forget why I chose this. Perhaps because the other timings were not so good or I just didn't want to risk missing flight doing visa or waiting for the luggage and doing check in again for another plane. I have to say that Turkish Airline domestic flight is SO MUCH BETTER than its international one. The plane is smaller but the seats were bigger. There were more legs space and we were wishing if only our international flight was like this. 1 hour something later we arrived in Kayseri. Here I noticed part of my luggage was torn. Darn it! I'm not sure if it's because my luggage was too full or it was bad handling. I was pretty down and I wasn't sure if it's gonna survive all the way back to Singapore. Anyways, we found the driver that supposed to pick us up. I was so worried he left us because we left the airport later than the rest of the passengers because we had to pick our luggages last from a different place since they were international luggages. Thank God the driver was there. The drive took 1 hour plus and it was through this area which was pretty barren. Maybe because it's not really spring yet, all were still brown. There were wide open spaces and it felt like in a middle of nowhere and there's this beautiful snowy mountain in the distance, I think it's called Mount Erciyes. Then I saw remains of what I think were grape vines but I couldn't be sure because that would mean it's a vineyard. Vineyard in Turkey? A country with a majority muslim population? Seriously? Apparently they were vineyards as I found out later and man so it began my many shocking cultural experience in Turkey. I have to be honest, I knew nothing about this country before I came. My cousin asked me where it was and I told her I seriously didn't know. That time I wouldn't be able to point it in a blank map. I just knew like Indonesia, the population are mostly muslims and the capital city is
* and there's a blue mosque in Istanbul which is supposedly beautiful. Obviously I researched more about it for this trip but the whole differences in how the muslims in Turkey are as compared to the ones I know growing up in Indonesia shocked me a lot. I need a whole different post for this so let's just move on with Cappadocia now.
Cappadocia is a region. By the way, I've been pronouncing it the Italian way and I don't know if it's the right way to pronounce it though I did hear some Turkish pronouncing it that way. But people like my guide pronounced it Kapadokya which is another spelling of the region and Indonesians will definitely pronounce this correctly like how my guide did it. Moving on, I decided to stay in small town Göreme which people wrote that it's a good place to stay and also because the hotel I wanted to stay in is in Göreme. But you can also stay in other city like Urgup just like this other Indonesian lady who stayed there and kindly answered my query when I asked her about getting visa on arrival. The hotel that I wanted happens to be the first in Trip Advisor list and so it's fully booked and so did the second, third, and so on. So I settled with Nature Park Cave Hotel after going through the list. Partly because you can book the activities as you did your booking which is actually what all hotels can do for you. In fact even though I have specified it through my online booking, the guy only did it when we reached there. Another website that you can try is this
. They handled my airport transfer in Göreme and Izmir (at a cheaper rate than all I could find) and they were very prompt, efficient, and helpful in answering my mail - love Ms. Seda. So anyway, my hotel is run by a mother-son team. I didn't find the room and facility to be amazing. I think it's adequate. YeeMaggio found it to be interesting. Well it is different. The location is not bad. It's a bit away from the town center but the town is rather small that you basically just walk 5-10 minutes to find food. The town is filled with hotels but there are still people's houses around our hotel. In fact from my room's window I can see the neighbour's house. I just called the people around us as our neighbours there. The older ladies like to spend the day gathering, chatting, and drinking tea. They sat on the old sofa being put outside this neighbour's house and one time laid a carpet in front of the sofa, drank tea, while the kids played. There's a small playground nearby. Nice existence. As I was spying them, the mother of the hotel waved at me :) and Mama Imran is the reason why Nature Park Cave Hotel with all its imperfection is pretty awesome. She doesn't speak english except for a few phrases but she's no nice. The next day when we finished dinner, we saw her just finishing buying vegetables from the seller at the street, so we gestured that we helped her carry the load. As we arrived, she insisted that we had kiwis then cucumbers. Kiwi is fine with me but I had a hard time accepting the cucumber (I don't eat vegetable). Since I couldn't gesture it to her without sounding rude, I ate it (well done Eka!). Then she cut another cucumber since she thought we like it. Luckily YeeMaggio does like vegetable :) At one point she pointed at me and said teacher. I don't know if she's throwing her limited vocabulary or she sensed that I am a teacher. At that time I said no, because I am not a teacher but then I thought well I was once in that position. Maybe I am meant to be a teacher for real? Anyways, as I said I love Mama Imran. She would blow us kisses whenever we go. I didn't feel good calling her only by her name. I wanted to call her Umi which I believe is Arabic for mother, at least that's what I learnt from Indonesian tv, but I don't think they got it. I love her and would really want to see her again but I think I would love to try other hotels, especially the first one I wanted when I have the chance to return.
So that's been a long story. Let's continue. I wanted to go to Cappadocia because I knew you could take hot air balloon ride there and it's one of the best places on earth to do it. Seriously, google it. The list will also normally include Maasai Mara in Kenya which seems to also allow visa on arrival for Indonesians - why, hello :) By the way, apparently India now also allows visa on arrival for Indonesians. Maybe my europe days are over and I should focus on these countries which welcome Indonesians (a bit) openly. I used "a bit" because you still need a visa. I'm digressing. So the plan was to take the hot air balloon ride as an awesome 30th birthday present for myself and then the red tour and a green tour the next day. It was listed by the hotel, so I just took them. For the balloon ride I chose the deluxe one which cost 225 euro / person which is by the way pretty cheap if you compare it with the price in Australia for example. The deluxe ride means you are in a basket with less people and the flight is around half an hour longer. There's a however to that which I will explain below. The green and red tour each cost 30 euro / person which I think is pretty cheap - admission ticket + transport + lunch + guide included. Now the hotel guy kinda dampen my spirit because he said, about the balloon ride, let's hope for the best, let's hope the wind would be okay. I was like what?!?? I knew there's a possibility the weather is not making it possible to fly hence you should always aim to do it on your first morning there. There were some people writing in blogs that they couldn't do it because of the weather, so it's a real REAL possibility. I just thought, I have 3 mornings there and don't tell me I still couldn't fly. Suffice to say that with my luggage situation and the fact that there's a possibility we couldn't fly, I was feeling pretty sad that evening. After dinner, we asked the guy about the confirmation and he said it's okay, they'd pick you up at 05.30 am. Halelujah! THANK YOU GOD!!! I was so happy and grinning and HAPPY!!! You cannot believe! So it's off to bed, I slept nicely I think partly because of the flu medicine I took since I sneezed a few times since I left. I did get awoken by YeeMaggio who claimed to be hearing strange noises. I was so sleepy that I didn't really address her issue much and went back to sleep.
So 05.30 am came and they were early actually, the hotel guy had to knock at our door and he thought we couldn't wake up. So the pick up people picked other people first and then came back to us. Then we were driven to the meeting point. We were gathered in the meeting building where they went through the list of names and gave us a card with pictures about the inflation of balloon and landing instruction and our pilot's name. By the way, to go through how the balloon is being prepared please look at this step
and go to the next picture to see the second and third step. Once you got this card, you can go have breakfast. It was pretty cold that morning, pretty much because it's still a bit cold in Cappadocia in early April. We did this on Good Friday, April 6 (thank you God, it was an awesome Friday for me). After breakfast, we went to the van which had our pilot's name. The van would take us to our departing point. Some balloons departed at the same place, but there are many different places located all around. We drove pretty far to our place and we were the only balloon there, perhaps it's part of the special deluxe treatment. In our group there are 2 american couples, 1 young, 1 older. A malaysian family (mom, dad, daughter) whom I initially thought to be Indonesian. Then there's a venezuelan family, I forget how many they were, perhaps 4. Anyway, I made friend with the older american couple, Andy and Robyn, who's from New York. Andy was pretty nice, he started talking to me and they're awesome, they had ridden a hot air balloon before in Egypt. I saw a balloon moving rather fast and that kinda freaked me a bit but Andy reassured me it's gonna be smooth and awesome. I think he's excited that I was excited. I made them laugh when I told them that I was thinking it's funny that he doesn't sound like Raymond, from Everybody Loves Raymond
. Well, I was once in Cinque Terre with a group of New Yorkers and they sounded like Raymond so that's the first thing that came to my mind and I thought it's funny. They thought it was funny as well :D Making people laugh, especially strangers is super priceless. Andy then proceeded with a lecture on the different sections of New York which unfortunately I cannot relate with.
Moving on, in the basket, there are 5 sections / compartments. 1 middle one for the pilot and his 3 gas tanks and 2 each at the side for the people. Me, YeeMaggio, Andy, and Robyn shared a compartment. When we were inside the basket before they untied the rope which tied the balloon to the van so that it wouldn't float straight away, we were given instruction on what to do during landing. Then we were off. It was amazing. The basket was high enough to prevent you from falling but it was still scary enough for me. I sure didn't want to get knocked down accidentally and fall or get my camera or phone fall as I was taking pictures. I tried not to make big movements. It was awesome, I will never stop saying this. Apparently the pilot cannot control where to go, the wind does that. The fire for the balloon is not on all the time. The pilot fired it up to go up. So he can only control going up and down and rotating the basket. His skill is in reading the wind so that we can ride it. Obviously I don't know how to do that, I was absorbing the view that I didn't pay attention if reading the wind is actually something that is visual. Anyways, there were ballons all over the sky. It's one amazing view, not only seeing the land below with the weird formation and the rocks but also seeing balloons all over with different colors. It's amazing!!! Now apparently I think every balloon carries 3 gas tanks during flight. Overall they use 4 tanks, 1 is used during preparation. We were in a deluxe trip which apparently means our basket had to be smaller so that with 3 tanks we could technically fly longer than the ones with bigger baskets. We were actually pretty squeezy in there :( However all are controlled by the wind and that day the wind was pretty strong that we moved pretty fast and so in the end our flight was also around 1 hour. The pilot said he only used 2 tanks not 3 and we would get a refund. Since I paid my hotel guy, I should have taken it back from him but because none of us made an effort to ask our hotel guy about this, in the end we didn't get some of our money back. So I guess if you want to take the flight, perhaps the normal standard package will be sufficient but I know one will be tempted to be up there longer. Look! It was a really awesome 30th birthday present for me.
Landing was much easier than they made it to be. What was so amazing was the precision these guys have, we landed our basket on top of the truck. So they didn't have to carry the basket from the ground to the truck, awesome. See this landing process 1
and move next to see what happened after that. After we landed, we got cakes and champagne, fruit juice if you don't drink, and a certificate (don't count for your name to be spelled correctly though). All I can say is, please let me do this again God! After that, we were driven back to our hotels and our hotel guy wanted us to have breakfast. Aah again, but since it seemed there were only us in the hotel and they had prepared food, so we went up. Mama Imran was very friendly, putting cheese which were fried in a spring roll type skin on our plates. This thing is a very typical Turkish snack it seems. We arrived back at the hotel at around 8 am something. Next was the red tour with 09:30 am pick up time. So the balloon ride still gives you time to do your things for the day. I actually wonder why they only do flight in the morning. Most probably because of the wind.
The red tour group was pretty small which is great. There's us. 2 Japanese ladies which we ended up hanging out with, Miyako and Setsuko. An american girl with a japanese heritage and fish tattoo down her neck, Keiko. She seemed to be travelling alone *awesome*. 3 chinese tourists, all girls. Seriously girls are more adventurous in exploring the world than guys, you'll always see more girls than guys. 2 brazilian, Rafael and Beatrice, which are now living in Lyon, France. I think they are students, I'm not sure if they are boyfriend and girlfriend. An Indian couple who seemed to be living in the USA. Then there's our guide who in the middle of the way I realized to be handsome. His name is Mehmet. I love handsome guys and he is one :P He's very young though. I found out he's 25 the next day. I was lucky enough to have him again the next day (the please please please God perhaps helped). I am in the age where everyone is younger, so finding his age made me look at him as a boy boy, little brother kind :( Anywaaaays, first stop was to look at Uçhisar Castle. Can't go in, could only see it from a distance. Here we met Andy and Robyn again. The nice Andy was calling out to me. They also were doing the version of what I think was pretty much the same tour. We were sure we'd be seeing each other throughout the day but we never did again :( and I'm pretty bummed out about that.
Then it was to Göreme Open Air Museum, which were basically the remains of churches, chapels, living quarters for christians, made in the caves and inside the rocks formation. It was pretty cool. There were christian paintings inside the walls but don't expect elaborate frescoes like the major churches in Italy. It was pretty simple but there were also chapels with more details and it was pretty awesome. We couldn't take pictures though. Mehmet was very particular about this. I think the museum is very very interesting, obviously because physically it's so different. Just look at this.
We didn't explore everything. I guess it would be nice to visit it on your time to see every single thing. Over here, I met the malaysian family from the balloon ride who said "hi" to me :) Then it was lunch, we sat with the Japanese. They're cool. Then we visited this place which I wrote in my travel journal as an ancient village which was used to be inhabited by the Greeks and there was this population exchange at that time between the Greeks in Turkey and the Turks in Greece. Let me just say that I would like to say sorry to all the knowledgable guides who had guided me and will guide me in the future. I may not pick up any information at all about what you are saying and I'm sorry but history lessons with so many details and years and era and people are hard to put into the brain :P I do try though, at least to put some stories into the pictures :P
Then it was to this ceramic pottery place where the guide there brought us through all the rooms, except the burning oven. We saw the artists painting the ceramics and they are amazing people. Then a master showed us how he formed a vase and then of course we were guided to the shop which was filled with many beautiful things. The nice thing is the guide pretty much allowed us to see, take pictures, without pressing us at all or hovering around us to "explain" about the items. I was just admiring all the beautiful pieces and be in awe with all the artistry.
Next was the Monks valley, where there are rocks formation like mushroom. This formation on the right of this picture looks like a rabbit, don't you think?
Then it was Imagination valley which I think should be renamed to Open-For-Interpretation valley. I mean, if you think you see ducks and other people think they are 2 dogs, who cares? Anyway so unfortunate, I didn't realize my camera was over exposing the pictures from this area so the pictures didn't turn out good. This one was heavily photoshop. The formation on the left is supposedly a camel but if you think it's another thing, then it's up to you.
After that was our last stop which was wine tasting. It was weird, the people on the shop didn't explain the wines at all. Drinking is okay but promoting it is not? I remembered thinking I couldn't believe that even in Turkey I did wine tasting, crazy! We tried 1 red wine and 1 white one. I don't know what I drank, I think the white one might be chardonnay. I don't know if they were good because I'm totally untrained for this but I remembered thinking I like the white one better which was rather unusual because I normally go for red. Then we were done for the day. I think we reached our hotel back at around 5 pm. We decided to walk a bit further for dinner. Oh by the way, the day before when we arrived we did walk around the town a bit. It's mostly filled with restaurants, cafes, hotels, travel agencies. We did find the school. So nothing much to do after dinner. Saw mama Imran with her groceries then we just went to rest in our room after helping her.
Like the red tour, the green tour started at 09:30 but I was awoken earlier than that. From my window, I could see balloons bobbing up, so I went to the hotel's terrace and took some pictures of balloons which were visible.
I remember feeling how I also wanted to be up on the air again. Anyways, then I had breakfast. For the first time we saw 2 other people in the hotel but our hotel guy always ate with us. I don't know if he purposedly did that but it's good I think for him to be chatty and friendly and there's of course mama Imran ready to put food on your plate. I had to say no to all the vegetable stuff :P By the way, the skinny YeeMaggio totally ate so much more than me when we were in Turkey. She should move there so that she'll be fatter. After breakfast, we were waiting for the pick up and it was Mehmet knocking at the door. Aaaah, yes, I was so happy :D Being that a small town, of course he knew my hotel guy. Along with Mehmet, was Miyako and Setsuko again *yay!* and Rafael and Beatrice. He was picking them first by foot. Apparently we stayed near each other. Then the car came to pick us up. The 3 chinese girls from yesterday who were more cultured (one of them spoke with an american accent) were now replaced with 3 chinese girls and a chinese guy who were the stereotype chinese that we love to hate. They drove me crazy. Also to replace the indian couple from the day before was an American girl, Andrea, who's now teaching english in Istanbul and his turkish boyfriend. Apparently Andrea once taught english in Pekan Baru for a year and she said she'd been thinking of what she could say to me in Indonesian but she's forgotten her Indonesian. She's nice telling me that :) I love it when I can talk to strangers :) Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to do that much in this trip, mostly it happened in Cappadocia actually. It made me love this place more. We started at this point were we could look at the formation of rocks below and took photos.
Then it was to Derinkuyu Underground City. A city built underground which was pretty cool and fun to explore but totally not one for people who have claustrophobia. It's basically like the human's version of ants colony or the naked mole rat's burrows which I saw in Singapore Zoo last month. Side note: seeing naked mole rat made me icky, they're just so aarrrgghh. So basically it's all tunnels and chambers in the underground city. I didn't take many pictures because there's nothing much to take. Even the ones I had turned out pretty bad, like this one.
It is still an interesting place to explore, what's with the bending down, almost crawling kind. It was much much cooler down there too. This always surprises me, that being underground can be cooler. As much as it's interesting, it's also demanding. There was one section where Mehmet said, this tunnels leads to the morgue, you guys can go there if you want. Darn, it was this very long narrow dark tunnel. Narrow that even for me and my size I felt rather claustrophobic. I was behind Rafael and I am amazed that he was okay considering that he's so much taller than me. We were laughing when I commented how on earth they dragged a body down there and why would they want to do that only to get it out again. We thought they just pushed it down and let it trundle along. Either that or they were really small people back then. There was also a long staircase like path which you climbed up while bending, suffice to say most of us felt our knees weak and wobbly when we finished that but we all finished it and we all made it out alive! We should all be so proud. I know I am for making it in and out the morgue tunnel without hyperventillating :)
After that we went to Ihlara Valley. It was quite a drive and we stopped for lunch nearby. We sat with the Japanese again and the Chinese group on my left. The chinese got more annoying. They complained that they had to pay for drinks, the rice was too little, and then they asked the waiter why they got the same portion of oranges as the table where there were 2 people instead of them 4. I felt very uncomfortable that they demanded more. We decided that we gave our oranges which we couldn't finish but I think they rejected it. I felt sorry for the waiter but I also think it's just oranges, give it to them and shut them up. Oh well ... I'm not trying to be racist. I am stating observation and I am sure the same sentiment would be felt by Indonesians as well, like by my family. But I think Indonesians lack the gut to demand it especially if they don't speak proper english but these chinese don't let it stop them. In a way that's what make them so ahead of other people, because they fight more? I don't know. Anyways, Ihlara Valley. First stop was to see a church with paintings inside its walls. There's a depiction of Daniel in the lion's den. Then it's a 4 km hike / walk which was easy and fun enough. I think the valley would be nicer when it's green and really I've seen pictures when Cappadocia was green, it's pretty. Seeing the view I had, I often thought why I came at that time. Things would be much more beautiful when it's green maybe a month later but then I thought about the people I met and that's the reason why I should be there at that exact time.
There's a river running through the valley. There were some farmers on the other side of the river, I think they were clearing and preparing the land. I'm not sure what the deal is for them to farm there. Tourists need tickets to enter Ihlara Valley so I thought it's some sort of conservation land.
There was a man fishing too. Mehmet was saying "assalamualaikum" to him. At one point we stopped for a break by the river. Had a little talk with Mehmet and managed to make him laugh :D He asked me, "eh you're indonesian right, are you a muslim?". This is the second question I always got asked when people found out I am Indonesian. I am thinking what one of my politically-correct french teacher, Mr. C, would say about asking such a question that can be used to profile someone. I told Mehmet I always got asked this and I had to say I'm not, I'm sorry and he laughed when I said I'm sorry. He also laughed when I explained I'm like a mix, came from a budhist family and went to a christian school. He just said I'm complicated. Anyway, I'm not sorry that I'm not a muslim. I am sorry that I cannot answer yes I am because I think it's like the person asking will have this nicer respond after that like a secret handshake or something if I say I am and now they couldn't do it. So sorry to disappoint you. He told me, people assume since you come from Indonesia and all. I guess maybe I'm not the first Indonesian many of these people met but perhaps I am the first Indonesian they met who's not a muslim. Anyway, he said he met other Indonesians before and they're muslims and the girls wore head scarf and it was beautiful. Well ... okay, I could only smile and grin with his honest respond.
After Ihlara Valley, we went to this place I think called Yaprakhisar. Another interesting place to explore but at this time I was already rather tired.
So upon meeting time, me and YeeMaggio decided to just go down to the meeting point and just sat watching the view in front of us. The Japanese were already there. I have to say that the Japanese were always the first in meeting point. I guess that's japanese discipline and courtesy for you. At the meeting time, noone came down but us. Mehmet had to start calling people out. I taught him to say "khwai tien", the chinese word for faster to get the Chinese to hurry up but my pronunciation might be off too :P He actually looked rather off that day, he looked less patient, like he was tired. I told him that when he sat next to me for awhile. I told him, I thought it's because the chinese drive you crazy because they sure did drive me crazy. It's been a not-so-easy day for him compared to the day before. The people were harder to deal with, there's the Chinese, the American and the Turk who were often missing on their own, and at that time even the Brazilian were somewhere else. It's not easy being a guide, it's like guiding kids on a school trip and having to teach them but since they're paying clients you can't scream at them unlike teachers can :P Anyway, finally everyone were there. I didn't mind the sitting down. I was feeling quite tired that day but we had another stop after that. The pigeon valley.
It might be the sun, but it looked rather pinkish and there were some yellow parts. That picture was beautiful. I remembered that it was cold when we stopped there for awhile. Then last stop, a souvenir shop where they sold turkish delights and roasted nuts and many other things. The chinese hogged the table where there were samples of turkish delights and they made it impossible to get passed them, a good chinese wall. I could only sigh and after realizing it'll be futile waiting for them to clear up, I kinda followed the Japanese who just started looking around at other things. Well, I actually just went to the toilet. I thought the shop was nice but in between feeling really tired and my luggage situation, I only got an evil eye decoration for myself. We were running pretty late that day. It was actually around 6 pm. My hotel guy did tell me that morning that the Whirling Dervishes performance that I wanted to watch was at 06.30 pm. So since everyone know everyone there, he knew where we were and he came to pick us there. It was a surprise. We basically were rushed off, so it was hugs to the Japanese who had been pretty nice companions for the last 2 days and bye bye to the handsome boy, Mehmet :P He's seriously cute.
The hotel guy was driving us and another 2 ladies who also stayed in the hotel, apparently from the Czech Republic. We arrived just on time. I don't know if they were waiting for us. Again I think everyone know everyone, maybe our hotel guy told them to wait. The place was full and so we couldn't sit in the front. It was really something. It was in Arabic and I don't speak Arabic but nonetheless since I grew up in Indonesia, it felt very familiar. It did get repetitive at one point but it was still something which is kinda hard to explain. You just had much respect for it though I have to shamefully admit that I took pictures during the performance (but it was without flash). I didn't know you couldn't. They did spin again after the performance without the song so that people could take pictures. Anyways, they ended it with a prayer which I don't know from which part of Al Quran but it's a prayer that I'm sure all Indonesians have heard before. It sounded so comforting for me. In fact things like hearing azan (the islamic call of prayer) was strangely comforting for me and I looked forward to it though I don't when I am in Indonesia. I guess it's because it reminds me of home and it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside to feel that bit of home.
So that was our last day in Cappadocia. Oh I had to add that dinner that day was later than the last 2 days. We arrived around maghrib. We saw our hotel guy walked quickly to pray. We decided to just eat in the nearest restaurant to us, a place we tried on our first day. We settled with Turkish pizza. We were seated next to the oven, so we could see the chef preparing the pizza. Along came a dad and his baby daughter looking at the chef. I could hear that they're speaking Italian, so I just started talking to them. Baby girl Bianca was so cute, she's 3. Very chatty, she talked about her family, her older brother who's also a toddler, Pietro, and her mom who's always reading. My Italian is not so good and it's even harder to understand an Italian baby. I translated her "sempre" to "often". I don't know why I did that, perhaps I just translated it to what I think she meant but her dad corrected me because perhaps mom is really always in the book. They came from Ravenna which he said is near Venice. I googled it out and it's true, that means I understood them correctly. The dad said that I spoke Italian well :) Very nice of him. I seriously don't think I speak good italian but I've gotten compliments that I'm fine. The nicest one was from a train staff in Milano Centrale who stopped halfway in our discussion to say, complimenti :) Anyways, the dad told me that he explored Indonesia before. I assumed Bali but he said, okay Bali, but also Sulawesi and Borneo and perhaps many others. I thought wow! Was rather embarrassed myself that I haven't explored Indonesia much and he had. Of course it was in the days where he had no 2 toddlers. I still admire him and his wife for being game enough to bring their 2 kids to places like Cappadocia. I admire all parents who bring their kids, stroller and all, and still fulfill their dreams to explore the world. I bow to them all. I guess you should never stop chasing your dream, but that's not something that I will do. I guess simply from the day the kids are bornt to the day they complete their ivy league education, all money should be saved for their education. I have high dreams and expectation for my kids :P Anyways, they went back to their table when baby Bianca started talking more about her family, including nonna (grandma) Lucia :D
We left the next day for Izmir. Mama Imran blew me kisses when I said my goodbye. I had a super good time in Cappadocia. A nice place, awesome experience, a handsome guide, nice strangers who crossed my path. I could only hope they also had a nice experience meeting me though only for a little bit. This is a super long post! Phew. I guess I covered pretty much all. Next leg is Izmir which I will try to write soon. To see more pictures, please go here
* April 26, 2012: I'm an idiot!!! The capital city of Turkey is Ankara not Istanbul. Istanbul is the largest city though. Still, I'm an idiot!!!
:) eKa @ 1:23:00 AM •