Monday, July 19, 2010

Kapadokia, with notes on How To Deal With Bus-Stop Creeps

Ah, so much that's gone on.... sorry ıt's been so long sınce I posted.  My host sıster and father were away thıs week, but my host mother and I stıll were very busy and I couldn't seem to get to thıs.  Last week I was approached twice ın a really uncool, not-flatterıng way at the Kızılay bus stop by turkish guys... the first saw me snapping pictures while waiting for the bus, which is how I got this one of him, and he wanted to know my phone number and, I think, where I lived.  The second time I didn't let it get that far and just looked at the ground when he came up to me and started to ask me if I spoke English... It's not as if my clothes are particularly revealing, the way I dress is downright conservative when you compare my clothes to those of some of the turkish women on the street.  And I don't generally engage with people, except to ask for the occasional photo or, you know, buy something to eat.  But when I'm alone (sometimes one of the NSLI-Y guys catches the bus at the same time, and nobody comes near girls when they're with boys or men) and tall and kind of fluorescent compared with everyone around me, I guess I just stıck way out. 

(Actually, a lot of people here try to speak to me ın German...especıally when I'm sunburned!)

In better news, Kapadokia!  I went on Saturday with a neighbor's brother who's in the State department here.  We left ankara at seven in the morning, and drove for three hours, with a quick detour to Turkey's enormous Salt Lake (no mormons there, though).  For some reason (halophilic bacteria, maybe?) it looks reddish from a distance, but when you get your feet wet ıt's clear and sparkly, and the salt beach has only the faintest tinge of pink.  Yes, I dıd taste ıt and it ıs ridiculously, burnıngly salty, and the lake bottom was sharp!  This enormous lake, so big you can't see across it, is about a metre deep at ıts deepest poınt.  Great thing to see. 

İf you don't know about Kapadokia (sometimes also spelled wıth 'c', but that makes a /j/ sound in turkısh so I'm using the native spelling), ıt's all these incredible volcanically-formed cones of rock with caves and cathedrals carved into them and, less famously but equally importantly, underground cities honeycombed into the mountains.  It wsa mostly christians who lived in these caves, a couple thousand years ago, and some of these mountain-churches still have paintings intact.  I was shocked by how un-touristy some of the places were.  We went to one absolutely spectacular spot with caves and paintings and saw two turkish famılıes.  On a summer Saturday afternoon with beautiful weather and barely any charge at all to get in.  Honestly, it was about 5 Lira.

Brief sentence in which I am happy that the BP oil mess has been capped, that Argentina has legalized gay marriage and adoption, and that the Obamas visited Bar Harbor, ME, about an hour from where I live, all in the last week. 

I taught my host mother to make pie-crust spiral cookies - just the type made out of leftover dough and cinnamon sugar - and she took some to her office last week.  One of the people who work under hre, who graduated from the Cordon Bleu cooking school, asked for the recipe!  I was so delighted to hear that, because I really like my pie crust and I've worked on the recipe a lot. 

We of NSLI fame have also discovered a new place to have drinks after school.  It's sort of faux-hawaiian, but ıt doesn't matter because the smoothies are so good, and ıt's at the top of a very steep hill, so they're actually heaven after the climb.  Lots of fun, and now I must go to bed. 


  1. IMOGEN! first of all, your blog is amazing and i loooove reading about your time in Turkey! i hope you're having a truly amazing time!!

    secondly, i love the pictures. your camera and skills at using it rocks.

    i miss you and keep posting!

  2. Ew! Creepers! *shudder* I had my first creeper the other day so I feel your pain. :P