Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 6: Kusadasi

Another early morning and another breakfast buffet. Not the best but not the worst. Bread, cheese, yogurt and strong black tea.
To Ephesus! More ruins, haha. Very elaborate ones though, with an administrative section with a small theater, a long ramp that would have been lined with shops, an incredible library. We had the chance to take an optional tour of the rich people's houses, super cool, lots of mosaic floors and frescoes on the walls. Extra neat were the public latrines. Pooping was apparently a social event, everyone got to sit next to each other, took their time, chatted, no walls to separate anyone. Oh my. The keyhole shaped holes led to a stream of running water to take all that business away, while a gutter ran along the floor in front of you with clean water for cleaning. Very interesting, so odd to consider. Lots of tour groups here, and our guide ran into another guide with whom he went to school! Small world? Also, this man looked like the Turkish Johnny Depp and I took his picture lots, ha! And we saw the big theater. HUGE. The awesome thing is that we convinced Barb, who happens to sing opera, to stand at the center to sing. She did and the theater filled itself with her voice. All the other tourists fell silent, but burst into applause, and the cheers of a hundred languages, when she finished. Way cool, what an amazing sound system, ha!
Then off to Sirince for some lunch and to soak up the atmosphere of a quaint mountain village. Unfortunately the place we chose to eat at was a mistake! Pleen and Jayde's meal took a long time but mine took even longer:over an hour and fifteen minutes! Pleen and Jayde had been done eating for some time before mine came, and not even what I ordered, meat and cheese pide instead of the mix pide I'd wanted. Lots of other people from the tour came here too, including Selcuk, who was not impressed. As our time here was limited, and it had also been an optional tour for an extra charge, I scarfed down half and took the other half while we went with Barb to do some frantic wine tasting. The guys on the shops were super friendly, very accommodating. We tasted lots, and I bought a melon wine that I hope makes it home to Thomas, and a blackberry wine, as blackberry wine always brings fond memories. Across the street we went to another wine shop. This shop is actually where the blackberry wine was from, but the first shop was out, the guy had had some brought from another shop, apparently they all like to help each other out. The second shop was very charming, and he had us sit at a little table to do our tastings. Such a cute atmosphere, with stone floors, rugs strewn about, pillows and tables, maybe almost authentic, ha! I bought a pomegranate wine since pomegranates abound in Turkey, so the wine seemed very Turkey-ish :) Unfortunately our time was up. I was sad and disappointed not to have been able to spend more time in this cute cobblestoned-hillside-cottage village. So quaint, and so full of neat shops and stands, the merchandise here actually differed from what we'd seen in Istanbul and at all the tour shops. Oh well...
Back to the bus for a ride up a different mountain to visit the House of the Virgin Mary. I had no idea what to expect. The house is small, reconstructed from the original foundations, and looks very authentic. It is cute, very pretty, in a gorgeous and immaculately maintained setting, gardens, etc. The inside was dimly lit, no pictures aloud, no talking, music softly played. Religious artifacts were in there, on altars and on the walls. And people were in there praying, very somber, but they were really into it! I felt almost as though I were intruding to be honest. When you leave the house you can light the candle available before entering it, and then there are three taps of holy water, one for health, happiness, and wealth or good fortune. Pleen washed here hands in all three, but I only chose happiness, and we pretty much just copied what we saw other doing. Beyond this is a wishing wall, a wall where people can put wishes they've written on paper. Apparently the most commonly available paper is toilet paper, so the wall has actually a pretty nasty look to it. I had a notepad handy, so Pleen and I wrote our wishes, tucked them amongst the others on the wall and took pictures of them. Hoping that the wishes work nothing like birthday candles, we went ahead and told each other what our wishes had been! (I wished for happiness :) ) At the entrance/exit are some shops, filled with, among other things, icons and holy water, and where bargaining is not done. I'm glad for this as I'm terrible at it. I found a beautiful scarf, browns, greens, a hint of blue, that matches the octopus cuff I've been wearing this trip, for only 7.50 Euro, which isn't too bad. The scarf is gorgeous, and bonus: what a story to tell when/if people admire it and ask me where I got it, lol. I also bought a novelty icecream cone of pistachio flavour. Finally some icecream, and super delicious!

Our wishes live here now.

My new scarf, finally some ice cream, and a sneaky Barb.


The bus then took us to a carpet place where we saw how the silk is unravelled from the cocoons and how the carpets are actually made, which is way time consuming! No wonder they are so expensive. We also learned a lot about the different kinds of carpets, like wool on wool, wool on cotton, cotton on cotton, silk on cotton, and silk on silk. They took us to a show room, offered us drinks, I had a cay and a raki, and they started unrolling carpets, first one at a time, while they encourage us to get right on them to see and feel, and then more and more until there were carpets everywhere with more coming, so fun! I never thought I was much for Oriental Rugs, but I saw more then a few that I truly loved. Some day! Most shocking was how a group of people that seemed so ho-hum about the carpet thing ended up spending over 17,000$ combined! Holy shit! Who are these people?! Also, the man giving us our demonstration was Turkish George Clooney, ha!

I want to decorate like this, multiple carpets strewn about. It's great for lounging!

Turkish George Clooney!


Back to the hotel for dinner buffet. Afterwards we walked down the street, Pleen, Barb, and I, to use an ATM (I've got less money then I thought!) and for Pleen to buy a skirt. It is hotter then we expected. In fact, Pleen and I have been smearing deodorant on more than just our armpits, shh! HAHAHAHA. Back at the hotel I did some laundry, just some undies, but the sink stopper wouldn't open, so I couldn't drain the water out after. Ew, it was so dingy, how can 5 pair of lacy panties be soooo dirty? How embarrassing! What a day though, so much seen and done, it was time for bed. At the House of the Virgin Mary Pleen had bought a journal with the evil eye on it with leather and a fancy clasp; I call it the scary book and asked her to sleep with it under her pillow, lol, but she wouldn't. Damn that thing is creepy!

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