Selçuk and other

Trip Start Jul 04, 2006
Trip End Jan 15, 2007

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Well, we've made it to Selçuk - only a few more days to go here in Turkey - which is OK as we really have covered a lot in our 3 weeks here.

Over the last 4 days Tania and I have:

- Kayaked through islands in the northern Mediterranian and seen a sunken city (not quite Atlantis, though the day was pretty fun)
- Hiked 4 kilometres up a gorge with mountains on both sides, through a creek/river in the middle (and I even tried a little body rafting donw the river afterwards - all intentional of course...).
- Paraglided over Butterfly Valley and the Blue Lagoon
- Hiked up the "cotton hills" of Pannakule (a mountain which looks likes it's covered with snow, though which is indeed covered in emminently less soft Calcium)

So it's been a bit busy.

Rather than go into all the details, I'll try and have things explained through the pictures which will hopefully eventually upload...

And for those that may be interested, a few more random tid-bits on Turkey.

The busses in Turkey are surprisingly good. The seats are pretty comforatable and about 80% of the larger buses we've ridden on have been built by Mercedes. Bus travel here is actually quite similar to plane travel back home as buses usually have an on-board movie (granted it's usually some over-acted, emotional Turkish film with absolutely nothing blowing up) and a little man that brings you water/soft-drinks (no beer - Muslim country) and snacks. This same little man will also come around periodically to squirt a bunch of cologne into your hands to make you smell like lemons for a few hours.

So just as big buses are good here, mini-buses, or Dormuşes, are not.

Everything seems to be ok when you first get on - besides the fact that there is rarely AC. That wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that these wagons of pain seem to stop at any given moment at well posted locations like, say, that tree on the right, to pick up more and more people. No actual seats left, no problem. No standing room, no problem - share a seat. No deoderant, well lots of problems for the rest of us that decided to wear some (it's a shame that more people don't use the baths that this country is so famous for). I firmly believe that the reason that most of these vehicles don't have AC is due to the fact that if they did, the windows would simply blow out given the extra pressure that that added air would create in the solid mass of flesh that becomes the inside of the dormuşe. Couple all this with windy roads and an ailing stomach...well, you get the picture.

Music in Turkey sounds very similar to music in Egypt and what I assume sounds very similar to music in other Middle Eastern countries. Quite a bit of "Aaaaaa" sound along with heavy "tock, tock-a-tock" drum beat. I realize that in North America we produce a lot of synthesized, unintelligent, teen-beat crap, but at leat theres a bit of variety thrown in (Chilli Peppers to Big and Rich to NIN to Michael Buble). I'n not saying I don't like the music here - it's quite good. I just get tired of it pretty quickly...

Energy production and conservation
There are solar pannels everywhere. We in Canada can really learn a lesson from this. Most of the places we have stayed as of late use solar power to heat the water. But to take energy conservation a bit further, the Turks also found a way to not expend as much energy as they get ready in the mornings. You see, most bathrooms don't actually have anything seperating the toilet and shower. No stall, no tub, just a can, sink and shower nozzle. I'm assuming this is so you you can both wash your hair and do your morning neccessary at the same time. Clever.

Turkish baths
Go to one. Ideally one in Turkey that's been around for about 600 years as any that are newer often don't make the grade.

So we're off this evening to what is supposed to be one of the better restaurants on our trip (a bunch of our group is learning how to cook Turkish food there now). I must say, it will be hard to beat the last few places we've had dinner. "Mostafas" in Pannukale had fantastic fallafel sandwiches and Tania and I cheated the night before and went to an Indian restaurant. No, it wasn't "experiencing the Turkish culture" but one does get tired of only seeing kebabs on menus...

Day 2

So we spent this morning visiting the ancient city of Ephesus (the one that the beer was named after). Pretty interesting actually. We had a little old man as a guide who seemed to know just about everything and whose temper always seemed to remain level even though we were running around, like, well, tourists. The city was originally founded by Amazon Women in about 2000 BC. These chicks were pretty hardcore - going so far as to cut off their breasts to be able to shoot arrows better.

Anyway, the city fell and was built up many times over after wars and earthquakes and all that fun stuff. What I found interesting was how far advanced the Romans were in their thinking. Specific examples:

- they thought the world was round as they had globes that symbolized the world in their statues and reliefs
- they had running hot and cold water in their cities
- to keep cities cool they had cold water running down the sides of their streets
- they had functioning sewage systems (this really is key for a civilised society)
- in their construction they had methods for central heating

Unfortunately after the fall of this empire, most of the knowledge was lost and then had to be re-thought up. How long were people just tossing their waste on the street before they got functioning sewage again? Sad really.

Anyway, Ephesus was cool.
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