Thursday, August 18, 2011

Photoblog: Turkey

We left Taipei on Sunday morning, flew to Istanbul in one long day and night with transits in Manila and Abu Dhabi, stored our luggage, spent a day in Istanbul and then took an overnight bus to Goreme in Cappadocia. This was grueling, and I smelled so preposterously fetid that if I’d raised my arms, from Turkey, in the general direction of Tokyo, Godzilla would have scampered away like a spooked gecko.

The best way to recover from this is to drink a very large quantity of cay, or Turkish tea.

The Hagia Sophia is gorgeous on the inside – which we will find out when we return in September. It is closed on Mondays and Monday was our day in Istanbul.

The Blue Mosque is gorgeous on the outside (inside too, don’t get me wrong) and the hundreds of tiny glass lamps on the inside give it character. It’s too bad so many tourists don’t realize that when they are asked to wear a headscarf and cover their legs, that they actually should do so.

I’m a big fan of the blue and turquoise tile and ceramic patterns of 17th century Ottoman Turkey.

There’s a reason why Myspace Angle photos are so popular – they can be really flattering. But blue eyes don’t handle harsh sun very well.

Ornery Old Ladies are the same around the world. They’re like that in the USA, in Taiwan, in China, in Japan, in Indonesia, in India and in Turkey as well. I bet that even though all those nationalities of Ornery Old Lady don’t share a common language, that they’d get along just fine if you put them all in the same place. Within a week they might take over the world. Then, hyperspace.

You think it looks like a bunch of big penises. Yes, you do. Don’t pretend you don’t. They call one valley filled with such natural stone monoliths “Love Valley”, proving that the Cappadocians have a sense of humor.

Sunsets and mosques go well together.

There’s a reason why Goreme is a touristy place.

Pottery is big here. Real big.

You’ll always look stunning against any backdrop in Turkey if you wear blue.

You think you’re an intrepid traveler, but you’re not. You go to a gorgeous town full of unworldly rock formations, 400-year old buildings and cobbled streets. As the sun hangs low, you hear lovely traditional music wafting in the lanes. You think “ah, some locals playing mandolins, drinking cay and dancing” so you take a look. It’s the Cappadocia Gift Shop playing traditional music on CD to entice customers.

Valleys of Cappadocia. Love.

Even in the most touristy towns there are local people going about their daily lives.

Turks like domes. They really, really like domes.

Don’t pretend – you’ve been these people too. If you say you haven’t, you either haven’t done anything exciting or you’re lying.

Did you know that in the early Christian era that sometimes, Satan was depicted as a weird cockroach thing surrounded by two crosses to show that he couldn’t hurt people anymore? I didn’t know that. Now I do.

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