Bulgaria & Turkey, November 2001 Travelogue
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Saturday Dec. 8th, 2001

Sacramento Kings, Gorome village, Frescos
My wake-up call came right on time & I went downstairs to watch the game. It was about 5:30am, by which time all of the Turkish Muslims had gone back to sleep after eating. That was kind of lame, because sports are kind of pointless to watch by yourself, but this was the first game I had seen all year & I wanted to see how their new lineup looked. I had some coffee, watched the game and filled out postcards. The announcer was especially excited when Hido made plays or errors, and they had special promo bumpers for their countryman, including his whirling, flashing name, complete with accent marks: Hidayet Türkoglu (The last "u" should have a crescent over it).

It was an exciting game & the Kings won, but Hido was unremarkable in it. I went back to sleep for an hour before the tour was to start.

The Koreans had left for Istanbul, so we were just 4 today, visiting many strange landforms, cliffside houses and frescoed churches. In this case the frescoed churches were carved out of solid rock as well. The first strange landscape was made up of hundreds of these 20-40 foot rock-cones, to which the Japanese kept repeating "it is so great!". Indeed it was great. The hills were windy, but the sun was out.
Next we saw some cave-houses cut out of rock & some nice vineyards. I am so used to seeing grapevines wired up to posts that I could hardly recognize these.

Next we toured more caves in the town of Gorome & had a little hike around the hills.
Before lunch we made a stop at a pottery store to see how pottery is made. I was in a pretty good mood so I asked lots of questions. They had two rooms worth of displays, showing how pottery is made, then four rooms worth to show you what you might want to buy. It was really expensive, like US$35 for a bowl. I really liked one urn that was blue with gold details, but it was US$11,000. A carpet salesman in Selçuk told me that the guide gets a 30% commission from any carpets or junk we buy on his "tour".

We got lunch at a nice buffet place & stopped for a few photos at striking spots along the road. One place had a camel, so I went for a cheap little ride. I had passed up this opportunity in Morocco, so I took advantage this time. I handed my camera to Nasu and asked her to take eight photos. She did a great job! Everybody patiently waited for me to have my little ride & then listened to me giggle and laugh excitedly about it until we reached the Gorome outdoor museum.

More rock caves and churches in Gorome outdoor museum. These have nice little churches carved in, with frescos dating to the second century AD. They started painting with just red icons, then moved on to more colorful stuff when the church relaxed it's stand on icons.

Many of the religious scenes were ones I had seen many times, the stations of the cross, Jesus and Mary, the Crucifixion, St. George slaying the dragon. etc. About half of the character's faces had been carved up, not by angry Muslims, explained our guide, but by treasure hunters.

First "these idiots" dug up the floors, he said, then they started carving up the faces, looking for hidden gold.

Finally we went to a carpet shop...uh, factory, where they showed us how the carpets were made. I was split apart from the Japanese tourists & catered to in English, while they got the salespitch in Japanese.

The first room had something really cool: The machine that unravels silk cocoons. First they soak the silk cocoons in warm water, then they brush at them with a whisk-broom, picking up a thread from each one & twisting it together with about 40 other strands to make one thread. eight of these tiny threads are used together to make one silk cord that they use for their carpets. It was fantastic to see them really unraveling these cocoons. It looked easy once you got the system down, not like the micro-surgery I had always envisioned. He gave me a silk cocoon. I wonder if I'm going to be able to bring it into the US.

Anyway, have some coffee, look at these $450 carpets, no obligation.

I took a bit too long inside the carpet showroom however, because when I got outside, the tour bus had left! Don't worry, they assured me, they would be back in a minute for you. Indeed, the driver came back for me in just a few minutes.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to say goodbye to my friend Nasu, but I did run into the other couple in town, shopping for postcards before their bus left. I was planning on tipping our guide 20 Million TL, but I never saw him after the carpet shop!

I went back to my hotel for dinner, and then went out for a Saturday night on the town...right back to the internet place. I hung out there for a bit and then found a little club that looked promising.

There were about 8 people inside, but immediately a Turkish guy with two girls asked me over their table. They were having a drink & we talked over the loud music & had a great time. One was an English teacher. The two girls were spoken for, but they were really trying to get a woman for me. It was pretty funny. We talked until the power went out mysteriously around midnight, then lit candles and stayed a little longer goofing around with some musical instruments they had behind the counter.

They asked me to go along with them to a city nearby the next day, and since I didn't have a tour planned, I agreed.

A glimpse of Sacramento

The bizarre landforms of Cappadocia

trekking near Gorome

Turkish Lizard

Cavehouses meeting stone houses in Urgup

I finally got my hands on Turkish pot

My maniacal laughing didn't phase the camel

frescos in the rock caves of Urgup

Potassium and Daisy should be kept isolated!

Silk cocoon unraveling machine

He played a mean Outi...

...But my lyrics got the ladies!

Sunday Dec 9th, 2001

Urgup Village Portraits

I woke up late and puttered around my hotel, having a late breakfast. One of the guys at the hotel asked me to set him up with a nice girl from the USA, so I told him I would give it a shot: His name is Yusef Eroglu, he is 20 & he lives in a really neat part of Turkey.

I met up with the guy from the night before, but the girls didn't show, so we decided not to go.

That turned out to be really lame, because on Sunday the town was really deserted & I was pretty bored, walking around taking photos of closed shops.
At one point I thought I would try my hand at taking photos of regular people on the street, which worked out great for about 9 people until an older guy showed me his hand in a "piss off" manner. Oop.

Finally I decided to take a sample of the makes and models of cars I saw on the streets of this small tourist village, as I had done back in London two years ago:
  • Fiat Tempra
  • Renault 9GTE
  • Toyota Corrola (x2)
  • Renault II TXE
  • Mercedes 190E
  • Tofas Dogan L
  • Tofas Dogan SLX
  • Kia Pregio Minivan
  • Renault 12 SW (x4)
  • Fiat Uno
  • Tofas Kartall (x4)
  • Renault Broadway (x2)
  • Tofas Murat
  • Opel Vector
I filled out postcards and drank coffee at a little cafe until it was dinner time, then I headed back to my hotel. During dinner, all by myself in the Hotel's restaurant, the young cook came out and was teaching me a little Turkish & I told him about myself.

I went back into town & stayed online for almost 2 hours. I was leaving tomorrow night & I prayed that Monday would be more eventful than this day had been.

Yusuf, now available for marriage

Static withers away at the sight of
The Reception Warrior!

These bricks are just as strong,
with half the wind-resistance

Cliffside cave houses at Urgup

Friendly man outside cafe

Jawa motorcycle with camel bag

This candy was very cheap, but not too tasty.

Trees and hotels off of the main street

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Read my other travelogues: Minneapolis 2001 | Burning Man 2001 | Europe 1999 | Costa Rica 2000

Back to main Cockeyed | Write to Rob@Cockeyed.com Last updated December 14th, 2001.
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