April 20, 2005 - May 04, 2005

Day 04
April 23,  2005 Goreme, Turkey
The text and the picture is submitted by Gloria Fraser   e-mail:

Sunrise awakened me for the kind of dawn shoot I like-wearing my nightgown shooting out the window. The tufa stone houses shaped like a witches' hat are a wonderful rosy hue at this hour.

Next was a typical Turkish breakfast in our gorgeous hotel but with many special extras like fresh squeezed orange juice, omelettes to order. Yum!

The 23rd of April is like our 4th of July-the anniversary of the founding of the parliament. But in Turkey the holiday is a celebration of children who will be taking responsibility for the future of the country. We gather in the town square of Mustafapaso with children in uniforms and bright costumes, many women with head scarves. The mayor speaks too long as is typical of politicians around the world- of the importance of children for democracy- family planning- planting trees. We photograph the children dancing to music of Vivaldi- a big surprise.

The mother of Cappadocia are two volcanic mountains which erupted millions of years ago, spreading ashes. The resulting formations, called Tufa, are soft but harden when in contact with the air. Here there is competition between the creator and the created. - God, water- rain. Different minerals have different tolerance for erosion. The result are tall pinnacles called fairy chimneys. 6000BC the ash was soft like cheese, It was chiseled inside to make stables because the temperature in winter and summer were about the same. Then these rooms were used to store food. Eventually people lived inside the rocks to deal with the changes in climate summer and winter. The differential in erosion results in some tall sculptural rocks fittingly called "fairy chimneys. Cappadoccia is in the middle of Turkey, so all roads lead to Cappadoccia.

Cappadoccia is the British spelling-in Turkish: Kapadokya.

We visited an underground city which has 9 layers- only several are excavated. It was used as a hiding place for 1500 people. Meli warns us this place is not good for claustrophobic people with back trouble ( that's me( and we will have to walk like a duck. I did not understand the ceilings are so low you have to walk bent in half. But despite the discomfort, it was well worth the trip as Meli brought the underground cave-like spaces alive- creating a vivid picture of how people survived in this space- often without light or fire. The room with blackened celing indicating fire was the place where mothers gave birth. Wine storage and other essentials for months of underground living was provided, Decorated.

There is little topsoil in this area, so rock was broken to a sandy consistency., This sand is used for tile and put around grape vines for fertilization. Piegeons are encouraged to roost and their droppings are also used for fertilizer.

As usual, Meli arranged a lunch of local food- lentil soup, yogurt, chick peas.

Meli explained why we see so many groves of poplar trees. When a child is born, the family plants an orchard of poplar trees. At the hospital, when people come to visit a newborn, they can purchase certificates for poplar trees to be planted. They take 20 years to mature, so that when the child is grown, the trees are harvested, providing income for the child. Poor families can not afford poplar trees, which is why the description of poverty is: I don't even have a tree planted in my name.

We have a change of plan and visit the frescoes in St. Vasilios church from 4th or 5th Century. Three of us missed the tour and took a siesta in the square.

Boys are circumcised at about age 5 or 6- gold coins are left on the pillow and kept for the child.

Since Meli invited us to ask any questions on our minds, today, she responds to a query about Turkish toilets. Someone asked her how to use a squat toilet when she first started leading tours. Atypical for her, she was struck silent. Fortunately her eight year old son was on the tour and immediately explained" you match the holes" Turkish people prefer the squat toilets in public as it feels more sanitary not to sit where someone else has been before you, but at home, Turks prefer seat toilets. And the little water pipe just under the seat is much handier than a bidet but it took us a while to figure that out.

Dinner at our gorgeous hotel. Meli calls to advise us to go outside where we see an incredible moonrise. Cindy is prepared with her mini tripod, and using her camera's timer, this whiz photographer captures the gorgeous sky.

Jerry does a night shoot totally on his own, finally making use of the tripod we've been lugging around. He was inspired by the lighting on the pool at the hotel. Great job!