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Icky Birra Lutfen....

Two beer please - our language lesson for the day!

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Today we had a lot of time on the bus, en route to Cappadocia. Our guide, Omer (pronounced Umur) decided that we needed a serious lesson in the Turkish language. Being the eager students we are, we listened intently and tried to wrap our tongues around this challenging language.

For those Turkish language experts - my apologies if I make a few typos. Turkish has 8 vowels including those with double dots which my computer is incapable of producing. Here are a few of the words we have mastered:
Merhaba – hello
Te Shekur – thank you
Navar – a friendly version like ‘what’s up’
Numbers: Bir is one, icky is two (so I guess when ordering one beer it would be bir birra)
Evet – yes and Hayir – no (useful when you don’t want to buy from the ever present vendors)
Gooli Gooli is a favorite way to say goodbye but only if the other person is leaving. The person leaving says Hor Shekur (Masoud – if you are reading this I apologize)

Students in Turkey begin to learn basic English in Grade 4. We have encountered many large groups of students at the museums and attractions. We are always greeted with great smiles and lots of hellos! The kids are so cute, loud and enthusiastic but very cute!

So a little more about rest stops and bathrooms. Rest stops are multi service facilities. The one this morning offered services to wash the bus – yes, in 15 minutes our bus is sparkling clean. You see coaches washed at almost every rest stop. The bathroom facilities (a necessity after 2 ½ hours on the bus) are very clean and often have attendants there to help. Travellers should always have .50 Lira to 1 lira in their pocket to pay the attendant (the cost is 30 to 60 cents). One rest stop we encountered had two imposing Turkish women working – they admired my pedicure first, then the next pedicure and the next. You didn’t have to speak Turkish to know that is what they were talking about. None of the students (or instructors) have braved the ‘squatting toilets’ that are always an option at the rest stops.

Also at the rest stop is a café offering fresh squeezed orange juice for about $2.50 and tea for about 60 cents. Today the hot tea was especially wonderful as it is very cold here, raining and foggy. We are climbing up the mountains, passing many small towns along the way. We are hopeful for a break in the weather soon. The planned hot air balloon trip is in jeopardy if the weather does not improve. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Our guide assures us we will be at the hotel at 7:43 PM. It is now 6 PM so for today’s update. Our first stop today was in Konya, a city of 1 million people. I would have loved to spend some more time here. Another SAIT study tour of Architect Technology students were here for most of their stay in Turkey (they just left – we missed them by days). It will be fun to compare notes when we get back to work.

The stop today was at the Mevlana Museum, the home of the Whirling Dervishes. The ancient mosque is now the museum. After donning little booties for our shoes (no head scarves required) we entered a small but beautifully decorated mosque. It took 1008 days to become a dervish, with many repetitive tasks assigned in those 1008 days. Many of the dervishes are buried in the mosque, all with elaborate dervish hats. The most elaborate was Mevlana’s tomb. In addition, we viewed Korans from the 11th and 12th Century. What a master craftsman to be able to decorate and write the intricate symbols of these holy books. When Mevlana died the dervishes built a gorgeous minaret made of brilliant green tiles. It is said that when he died they folded his beard fourty time and it is now housed in a glass case that is said to give off a lovely scent. Visitors can have a smell through the case.

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After another long drive we made a ‘pit stop’ at the Sultanhani Caravanserais. Each Caravansei was built the distance a camel could travel in a day – 9 hours and 40 kilometers. And just like those camels we arrived - it took us ten hours but we covered a much longer distance that those camels! This particular caravansei has withstood earthquakes over the past 7 centuries due to its engineering. It even had a haman, (Turkish bath) one for men and one for women. Being built way back though means it was pretty sparse for a Turkish bath.

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On to Cappadocia. It has poured rain most of the trip. The clouds are trying to disappear. We passed a dormant volcano and came over the edge to get our first look at Cappadocia. At first glance it looks like a drive into Drumheller.

As promised we arrive four minutes early to our unique hotel set on the side of the hill. We are still keeping our fingers crossed for good weather for the hot air balloon trip tomorrow morning. Our wake up call is 4:30 AM. Good night!

Posted by jonaway 21:55 Archived in Turkey

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