A Day of Big Disappointments

Trip Start Mar 26, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Turkey  , Gaziantep,
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Today is Edwin's 34th birthday.  We hoped to celebrate in
style....instead, today was a day of some major disappointments.  We
awoke to some extra cold weather.  We kept looking for the balloons to
fly over our hotel but by breakfast no one had seen any sight of them. 
Then Pam, Tom and Erwin were back...the flights had been canceled due to
wind.  We looked around but didn't feel any great wind.  I think it was
during breakfast that someone noticed that it was snowing.  There
wasn't any accumulation at first but after we started the bus ride, the
landscape was beginning to be covered with snow.  It was kind of pretty over
Cappadocia's strange rock formations and then the Taurus Mountains, but
it was cold.

We went to the rock castle and most everyone went up
to the top for the view.  Catherine and I stayed down.  I just didn't
feel motivated today.  I walked around and took a few photos but it was
overcast and the cherry blossoms didn't seem to have peeped out up here
yet.  After the castle, we headed for the underground cave city.  Here
again almost everyone went, but I remembered having gone before.  I am
not exactly claustrophobic but I didn't relish bending in the cave
tunnels either so I had a lovely cappuccino in a little cafe....indoors
.... next to the heater.  Erwin and Betty joined me.

After that
we drove around 7 hrs. to Gaziantep near the Syrian border in
preparation for our crossing into Syria.  Right after lunch Erwin got a
call that the British government had put out a travel advisory for Syria
and Explore was canceling our travel to Syria.  We were in the dark
awhile about what would happen next as we traveled on to Gaziantep. 
After several calls that Erwin and Kamil took, we learned that Explore
was offering 2 alternatives.  We could end our trip now and receive some
partial refund or we could continue, have our extra 4 plus days in
Turkey and fly from Turkey to Jordan and continue with the itinerary. 
All of us opted for the latter.  Not much to think about there.  After awhile, Explore and the local
agent sorted out the plans and we now have a new itinerary that is
satisfactory to everyone.  I think.  We get to see the big heads.  I
know I have seen them somewhere and they seemed pretty spectacular even
thought I don't know their name.

We arrived in Gaziantep.  Our
local bus driver and guide didn't exactly know the way to the hotel so
the hotel sent someone in a car to guide us there.  We eventually
reached it and found it to be one of the best so far.  Lots of marble
in the lobby.  Clean and spacious with a balcony, although it is too cold
to go outside.  Apparently snow is rare for this time of year here.

settling into our rooms, we went to a kebab restaurant (where their
kebab specialty doesn't resemble our notion of kebabs on skewers) and
treated Erwin for his birthday.  Kamil brought his sister who is
studying at the university here and whom he hasn't seen for almost a
year.  They seemed quite happy to spend some time with each other. 

I am in the hotel lobby using their wifi.  A group of people with quite
a few little children were gathering across from me but they've now
left and I am ready to get on ... perhaps with uploading a few pics
before I go up to bed and catch some needed z's.

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