After my last entry, I took a tour to Pamukkale about 3 hours inland from the Aegean Sea. Its famous for these calcium terraces created from the accumulation of calcium from the water running over it for about 15 000 years. A lot of it is dry now because of the negative effects from playing 4 and 5 star hotels at the top of the terraces but you can still walk around the smaller water pools on the top. It was probably the best amazing wonder I've seen on this trip so far. At the same place is a swimming area filled with water from the natural springs nearby. The place was overrun with Russian tourists and that was a sight in itself. The women I saw were especially fond of neon yellow and orange swim wear and weren't around to parade around in it outside of the swimming area. One lady was entertaining to observe as she had short shorts on - so short that her bikini bottom was peaking through from that and then she also had copious amounts of her bum squeezing out from her swimsuit.
We took the overnight bus to Capadocccia where I am now.
I think I've blabbed on before about how great turkish hospitality is but last night was a bit too much in hospitality. Before we got on our bus, we were reassured by 5 different men that our bus was a direct bus to Goreme and we didn't have to transfer buses. At 6am, at a small bus station, a man speaking english got on the bus and was trying to convince us that our bus didn't go where we wanted to and we needed to take a minibus. Luckily, our lack of luggage worked in our favor otherwise they would have held it hostage.
Cappadocia is in Central Turkey and is famous for its unusual rock formations. Some of them are cone shaped and others resemble certain things. Whats cool about this place is that the rock was soft enough to carve so various houses, churches and monasteries were carved into the rocks - I think this was popular during the Byzantine times. We took a tour and got to check out some of the ones in the area.
we stopped at a place called Derinkuyu which had an underground city 7 stories deep. It was neat to see
that this city had special areas for school, baptism, wine making, food preparation, etc. The people used this underground city as protection when fleeing from enemies and had this city pimped out with booby traps and defense mechanisms (including rolling a heavy rock to block a doorway).
I guess I should note that we got to stay in a cave room which is pretty novel. The rooms are dark and damp so its like natural air conditioning - great if you're trying to escape the afternoon sun but not so good if you are constantly cold (like me!).
That night, I went on this Turkish nights tour which featured non-stop food and had never ending entertainment with traditional turkish dances and costumes as well as belly dancing. We were hanging out with two Calgarian guys who had just graduated from university. One of them got married off in a turkish wedding ceremony and the other got picked to demonstrate the gyrating moves of belly dancing. It was quite amusing - I'm sure they're mothers wouldn't be too pleased.
Today, I'm just chilling out and exploring this small town of Goreme. We went to the Open air museum which is filled with little churches inside the cut rock. What is peculiar is most of these churches have niches in the flooring to accomodate dead bodies. I'm not sure if the dead bodies came later because it'd be slightly disturbing to be stepping over poor old Uncle Edward (these graves were pretty shallow) everytime you came to church or stepping over the small body of your enfant sister who lay in the doorstep of the church.
random thought of the day: The Turks seem to appreciate cologne as multi-purpose. The most popular usage seems to be cleaning your hands with as we were offered some on the bus before eating or dabbing this scented cologne on your hands as a first-aid treatment. On the good side, instead of your bus smelling like sweat and body odor, it smells heavily of cheap cologne!
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