Greetings and Salutations from Turkey تحايا من تركية
Much has happened in the last week or so. SCAF violently repressed the remaining protestors in Tahrir Square and replaced them with armored personal carriers and Central Security Forces. Husani Mubarak appeared in court on August 3 on a hospital bed (his trial has since be postponed until August 15, 2011. And, I continued to wander around Turkey. (I’m currently in Doğubeyazıt.)
As for the events of the week, the first highlights that spring to mind are weather related. For the first time in two and a half months, I enjoyed a day where the temperature failed to break 85 degrees (Fahrenheit) and celebrated by hiking the Red and Rose Valleys in Cappadocia. For the first time in two and a half months, clouds blocked the sun and I celebrated by hiking through the mist up to the Sülema Monestary near Trabzon. Finally, I got rained on for the first time in two and a half months. I celebrated by dancing in the rain and then attempting to shower in the rain (but after shorting out the electricity, the rain elected to stop once I got all lathered up forcing me to finish my shower in a dark bathroom).
Shifting away from away from this unusual obsession with the weather, the outdoors adventuring void in my life began to be filled this week. Egypt despite its many ancient wonders and stretches of coastline offers very limited opportunities for outdoorsmen (outside of Mount Sinai and its many camels). Thankfully, Turkey possess both temperate weather and varied topography. After touring the tourist trap more commonly known as the Roman city of Ephesus, my friends and I headed eastbound and to the great outdoors. Lying on beaches was traded for hiking the trails of Cappadocia’s valleys and photographing their phallic rock formations. Taxis were traded for a rented bicycle (even though the handle bars of said bicycle only came up to my waist) that I used in my foolishness (or hubris) to ride 30km – most of it uphill – around Cappadocia’s various towns. Lastly, ticked ruins were traded for abandoned mountainside Georgian churches.
Unfortunately, there are some lowlights as well. There are still obvious patches in my depressing attempt at a beard. Worse, these the location of such patches preclude both a goatee and a mustache. More importantly, despite a Turkish vocabulary of over fifty words, the only sentences I can construct on a consistent basis are how much and what time. (Also, I can never remember the word for nine and thus can only count 1-8, 10-18, 20-28, etc.) Lastly, I’ve finished all the five fantasy and drama novels I download to my Kindle prior to the trip and now I’m stuck with a random collection of classics for the next two weeks (because they can be downloaded from Amazon for free). Boredom on bus rides is slowly eroding the efforts of twenty-one years to ignore the cultural and educational progress that comes from reading this canon. I’m halfway through Machiavelli’s the Prince. I invite your suggestions on which classic I should read next provided that the classic was printed over a hundred years ago (meaning that it can be download legally for free).