EFE

Effe is a wonderful young guide in Goreme, Turkey. He just got married 20 days ago. We went on two tours with Effe, his knowledge of the area was amazing, he doesn’t just learn the history, he is a local boy and has that passion that makes it special when he is talking. Yes, I am going to do a little advertising for him.

Nomad Travel Agency. www.nomadtravel.com.tr His full name is Hasan Huseyin EFE.

There is a story (true or untrue) that in the past a man has to make a pot and a perfect lid to be a suitable husband. Efe’s attempt at pottery when we were there was not showing signs of perfection. It was all in good fun of course.

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THE MULTI-TASKING WOMAN

Everyone knows how we women can multi-task. Is it a gift or a curse? A little of each I guess. One woman in Turkey was multi-tasking in a manner I have never seen before. She was an elderly sheep herder way out in the country side, miles from anywhere;  as she walked she crocheted. Plastic bag (modern times unfortunately) on her arm, wool around her neck and a beautiful piece of crochet on its way to completion. Every now and then she would herd  in the occasional stray, but never stopped her crochet.

What is that gift or curse we have been given…multi-tasking? I personally like it. I find I do many jobs at once and to others it looks just like a mess but ultimately all jobs come together and somehow…hey presto, it works. The curse for me is that my mind thinks in multi tasking mode at a rate of speed that I can’t seem to keep up with. No sooner than I have completed ten jobs than the mind has thought up another ten seemingly to be all done at the one time immediately. I would be interested in more multi-tasking stories.

TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR TRAVELLERS

Found this in the Shoestring Pension, Goreme, Turkey

1. Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou has left them home for thou has left thy home to find things different. Remember that if thou were to expect to stay in one place thou wouldst have been created with roots.

2. Thou shalt not worry nor shall thou take anything too seriously for a carefree mind is the beginning of a fine trip and few things are ever fatal.

3. Remember to take only one half the amount of clothes thee thinkest thee needeth and twice the amount of money.

4. Thou shalt not let the other travellers or tourists get on thy nerves for thou art paying good money to enjoy thyself.

5. Remember thy passport so thou knowest where it is at all times – for a traveller without a passport is a traveller without a country.

6. Thou shalt not act too cheap for we are lucky to be from western countries where we have the opportunity to travel abroad. If in doubt, ask thyself how many people thou sawest from third world countries visiting thy country in the west.

7. Thou shalt not show thyself too obviously as having thy nationality. When in Rome do somewhat as the Romans do and bring a curse on stereotypes.

8. Thou shalt make an effort to speak the local language. It showeth respect to the locals who art thy hosts and they shall treateth thee with much respect in return.

9. Thou shalt not judge the people of a country by one person with whom thou hast had trouble.

10. Remember thou are a guest in every land and he that treateth his host with respect is treated as an honoured guest.

Shoestring Pension is carved from the rock and so you get to stay in the coolest of cave atmosphere. The people that run it are the greatest. Our stay was something we will remember for ever.

Language… or… lack of it

O.k. First of quite a few stories that on one hand are hilarious, on the other hand, down right embarrassing, but, that is life.

I travelled with a girlfriend of the same age. Her husband refuses to carry a backpack so we went on our own. We are both in our late 60’s so maybe we can be forgiven for our ways. We arrived in Ankara, it was cold, dark and we were very very hungry so we walked into the first place we saw which by our standard was slightly up market…well, they had waiters.  We ordered our meal and proceeded to look around us when my girlfriend asked me  quietly to turn around and look at the beautiful woman sitting behind us. I did and yes, had to agree, her make-up was flawless, her hair brilliant, her clothes were to die for. As we were being served our meal we were discussing the fact that surely she was someone important, even famous! First mistake is she asked the waiter(whose command of English was no better than our Turkish) if the lovely lady sitting behind us is someone important/famous. His reply was, “Lady very important”. He then proceeded with charades holding out one hand with palm up and indicating writing with the the other…pen on paper and began pointing to this amazing looking woman. I derived from this that she would be happy to give an autograph so I whipped out my book and pen; the waiter called her over and with a little bit of difficulty of looks and shrugs she signed my book. I was about to try and find out if she was an actress, singer, writer???? when the waiter said “Pay her money”. “Pay her money?” I repeated. “Why pay her money for her autograph?” As I said this I retrieved five lire from my purse not wanting to offend anyone but I still asked the question yet again. Mis-communication went on for some time until the outcome became so embarrassingly obvious…

She was in fact the cashier of the restaurant, she writes the bill (charade of pen and paper) and then you pay her the money for eating in this restaurant!  Oh dear! We ate in silence without too much appetite and left vowing to only eat Donas from the street stall for the rest of the time. Now with time and space, it is a delightful story of language mis-communication or plain stupidity, which ever the case we will laugh about it for a long time to come.

HELLO FROM THE SLOWEST BLOGGER

Yes, well…I wonder if I get any prizes for being the most tardy of bloggers? I can’t help it, life runs away with my time.

I have been overseas for two months, six and a bit weeks in Turkey and eight days in Thailand. Trust me backpacking through Turkey is a breeze. Their public transport is great from getting from point (a) to point (b). The dolmus (small mini bus) can be caught everywhere.  On one occasion we were walking along a road quite away from a village and the dolmus slowed, we waved and they picked us up. On longer trips 3 or 4 hours the Mercedes buses are well equipped with seat belts and they served coffee/tea and snack. If not then they make a stop and the tea and snack was complimentary. There are so many stories that they will have to come in instalments.

Hamams – What an experience in more ways than one. The first one I went to was a young 500years old. For a Western women who has been brought up not to show ones body it was a hurdle to get over but when you delve into the history of the Hamam and their purpose, it is so worth experiencing. That first Hamam (there were many that followed) was the best introduction to the world of the Turkish woman (I am not speaking for all Turkish women of course, only the ones I met in the Hamams). I stayed in there for at least 5 hours.  Part of the time being scrubbed, washed, soaped, massaged, shampoo’d etc. The rest of the time I spent sharing food with the women and talking. Now my Turkish is practically non existent and their English was on a par with my  Turkish but talk we did with smiles, charades, laughter and hugs. It was truly an amazing time. After that the other Hamams were just as enjoyable, dancing, mis-communications that sent all of us into peels of laughter once we got the drift of what was actually meant. I have travelled quite a bit and I find women of the world have a beautiful way of communicating with each other. It never ceases to amaze me.

The history of Turkey kept me enthralled. One minute I thought I had it all sorted then some one would throw in another war, another take over. Who was linked to whom, how where when? Such a fascinating country. Of course I was also interested in learning more about the Muslim faith. I entered many mosques but felt I didn’t get perhaps a complete feel so we stayed for prayer time with the women at one; it was so much better than just visiting it. There were many times the echoing call to prayer over the mountains and in the villages caused us to pause and take it in. In Istanbul, in Gulhane Park, you can hear a number of calls to prayer. They don’t call in time so it was like a dozen echoes.

The people of Turkey are kind and most generous. Everywhere we were there was an offer of tea, help with a map and invites to their homes. Nothing was too much trouble for them.