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Up, up and away - Friday 19 Oct 2007

TURKEY | Saturday, 20 October 2007 | Views [633]

We feel like we are floating in the air!  1200m in the air to be precise!  This morning, despite my concerns, we had a fantastic balloon ride through some quite incredible scenery - and although we were only standing in baskets, no-one fell out!  To my knowledge, Dennis, no one was even tempted to jump out (which is fortunate as the pilot told us he was depending on us for ballast - a bit rude I thought!)  So from being a rather tentative starter in the balloon stakes, I am now reformed and recommend the experience.  This area of Turkey would have to be one of the best places in the world to do it too.

I am also recovering from a panic attack as I thought I had lost all of my photos. 8000 photos just disappeared.  I have been storing them all on Tims ipod and for some reason I pulled the cable out before the transfer was finished and then EVERYTHING disappeared. After 5 minutes of panic, I left it there for a few minutes and it sorted itself out, but it did give me cause for worry that I would be able to show my readers all my photos (now its time for you to panic - 1500 photos of fairy chimneys to start with!)

Thursday we went on a tour for the day, and ended up with a Turkish nights concert with folk dances, belly dancers, musicians and some food. The tour was great - lots to see.  And the dancing at night, while it didn't rival a Belgian wedding celebration, was much more energetic than morris dancing. The highlight of the tour was a visit to the underground tunnels that go down 8 storeys - not a tour for the claustrophobic.  I don't know what it is about these people but they just love digging holes (Even the animals do it.  We were out walking this morning and saw lots of mole holes.). They started digging 4000 years ago and haven't stopped since.  The underground tunnels were apparently only used for safety for protection from attack, but it seems like a lot of effort for that.  One of the tunnels is 9km long! And then the churches and houses all cut out of the cliffs and these fairy chimneys.  Our room at the hotel we are staying at, Elif Star (I mention the name as I strongly recommend it - the word must be getting around as there have been quite a few Aussies here), is built into a cave.

The scenery around here is quite fantastic (Have I already used the word, surreal?).  Similar in some ways to Bryce Canyon in the US, but much more varied.  God (perhaps with the aid of Slartibartfast?) really excelled himself here!  

I still haven't learned much Turkish, though I can now recognise a few signs.  The sign "Dur" on a sign the same shape as colour as our stop sign means "Slow down a bit if its not too incovenient for you".  Most drivers in these parts haven't got as far as figuring out indicator lights, and if convenient (for them) they will drive on the wrong side of the street.  Nevertheless, apart from the nasty pedestrian accident I mentioned in Marmaris, we have not seen an accident.  Many vehicles drive fairly slowly anyway - especially as a large proportion are tractors! We hired a car yesterday, and at one point we passed 5 tractors in a row before seeing any other sort of vehicle.  Often the wife is sitting in the trailer at the back, as the wives are the ones who seem to do the manual field work digging the potatoes.

Often we see signs in multiple languages, and I noted in particular that the word passengers is similar in other languages but always without the letter n.  This made sense as a passenger is about someone who takes a passage somewhere.  How do we go about changing English to being it more into line with the other languages?  If we all start using the word passagers where we would have otherwise use passengers, do you think it would go into common usage?  Sound like a challenge?  How long before we can see it as an alternative word in the Macquarie dictionary?  Remember you saw it here first, on 19 October 2007!
I haven't mentioned much about food, though we have been eating a bit (every day mostly).  I like the chorba (soup) and the bread is fresh and we always get a loaf or two with each meal!  I enjoy the borek, which is a pastry rolled out very thin and then folded many times (a maximum of 7 times, I believe) and has various fillings inside (honey, cheese, spinach - not usually all at once).  I have drunk many cups of chay (tea).  Sue particularly likes the apple tea, though I don't think apple is actually involved in its preparation.  We have had lots of kebabs - though that name seems to be used for a wide variety of meals, none of which are very similar to the kebabs I am used to in Brisbane.  They have a pizza like bread called pide, and another flatter one called lahmucan, both of which are great for a quick meal.  We have eaten grilled fish a few times, and invariably it has been fresh and very tasty.  Baklava is of variable quality, but is sometimes very good.  Pumpkin seeds seem very popular - farmers grow the pumpkins, extract the seeds and throw away the pumpkins! All in all, we are eating very well (probably a bit too well).

Only a week left of our holidays - aaargh!  I will try to suppress that thought!

We are off to Istanbul tomorrow.  We decided to try the overnight train.  Sue is trying to find us a place to stay on Sunday night while I write this drivel.

Colin in Goreme.

Tags: Sightseeing

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