Monday, 20 June 2016

Mon 20 Jun 2016. Around Cappadocia

Mon 20 Jun 2016. Around Cappadocia
Woken by alarm at 3.25am (!!) to be at front gate to catch bus to the hot balloon area. It was cool in the dark, and the passengers crowded around the hot coffee. The jets shot flames into balloons providing light. It was all "hurry, hurry" once inflated. There was no footing after climbing the ladder so you had to drop hard into basket. GirlRob dropped her glasses in a tumble of legs - the frame broke and lens disappeared. Bugger - goodbye eyeglasses (lucky there's a second pair in the truck) With the photographer running blind, had to trust Lumix camera to take good photos. 

Moon sinking behind Old City

Alongside 50 other balloons, the pilot ("pee-o-lett 10 yrs fly - no worry") took us up to 800 metres, and down close enough to touch one of the chimneys. For an hour we flew along rim (watched sunrise), then down along valleys, up to strange formations, mushrooms, cones and waves (clearly people living in some). 

Good morning horse!



We finally came down close to Open Air Museum, and with a trail of people catching our rope and running behind to slow us down, landed neatly on the back of a pickup truck. An excellent experience, worth every Euro! The celebratory champagne tasted non-alcoholic (we are in Muslim Turkey after all) and everyone got a medal. 

Goodbye Girl's Rob's glasses....

Bus drove us back through old town, passed still-closed cave hotels and carpet stalls, to our bus and now mundane chores of making the bed and getting breakfast. Hooked up devices to charge at nearby power outlet as we won't be driving the truck today, read emails, one from Andrew in Switzerland that he'll try to find where we can source a similar type window to the Dometic ("sorry your window having a different holiday to you"!)

Walked down into town and spent a couple of hours wandering through the stalls and shops looking for a cloth to fit our new dining room table. We were shown "pure wool", "pure silk", "cotton hand sow by nomad woman", some garish, some soiled, some obviously years old and faded along fold lines or in patch facing afternoon sun. After an hour we ascertained ours was too unique a size for the locals to carry. BoyRob soon got sick of the "engaging" questions from shopkeepers and started his own conversation with: "We want a tablecloth 2.7 x 1.2 meters, if you don't have one to fit that size then we won't come in, or waste your time", but it didn't stop anyone from saying "yes, have some in back of shop, come in come in", or "my cousin down road have some...". One young man said we'd have to go to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul to get what we wanted, we thanked him for his honesty, he chatted about decline in tourism numbers, talked about his family, and that although he didn't believe in arranged marriages he had seen that intermarriage between different cultures or different religions didn't work, in fact had himself left his village and worked in Istanbul in carpet business, but tracked down his old school friend on Facebook and met her for outings before asking her (then her father), to marry him. He asked about our family, produced hot apple tea, then said with 5 such lovely children they should all get one each of his carpets "best children, best gift!” We laughed and complimented him on his sales pitch, but declined. Hot and disappointed with our lack of a purchase, we sat over coffee catching up on emails. We decided to look in the last couple of stalls to see if anyone carried Whirling Dervish postcards, and were amazed to find the right-sized tablecloth after all! Whilst it wasn't the better quality material, weave or pattern we wanted, it was pretty enough to buy from the crotchety old man who complained bitterly about having to bargain, then smiled and added an evil-eye bauble once he had the sale. We'd seen plenty of evil eyes, and wondered whether he was cursing us, but found it was for good luck, to ward off evil. So that was OK then….

We'd also had no luck finding strong plastic or tape suitable to cover the truck window. Hot, and definitely over middle-of-the-day shopping, we had frappe and queselladas in a cafe, with a Golden Retriever lurking around our table. No one shoes away dogs or cats in food places in Turkey. 

We bypassed "fairy chimney kebap"

In almost 40⁰ heat, retreated to camp for a swim and a rest to wait out the sun. Later we drove back down to town and booked tickets for a Turkish Night "all you can eat and drink" and Turkish dancing at an underground hotel. Went on to Post Office to mail c/- Jenni tablecloth, souvenirs and gifts accumulated to date (no space in camper truck) and to send camping sites and "Travelling Healthy" books to Julia for their Spain trip. At the Post Office the whole process was painful whilst we tried to explain what we wanted, they tried to send us to the market for a box, then found a suitable "plastic bag" (express post bag), then had to find interpreter to fill in Turkish form in English, then had to write both address to, and address from, on front  of package. Everything was compounded as an important visiting inspector was closely observing every move of his staff. We will be disappointed (but maybe not surprised) if the package does not arrive in Oz at all. (Editor’s note: all packages posted from overseas arrived safely!)

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