11/30  Ushisar, Turkey

30 Nov 1985, Posted by Scott An Chora in Travelogue, No Comments.

11/30 Ushisar, Turkey


We had planned on seeing Urgup and the Goreme Valley and headed out into the streets in search for the tourist office.  It was still very cold but it was like a reversed microwave, my bones were colder than my skin.  We located what we believed was the tourist office but there were no brochures or posters to confirm that we had found the right place.  Everybody inside was huddled around a small stove trying to keep warm.  They explained there were no buses or organized tours this late in the year and suggested we find ourselves a taxi driver.  The word taxi driver was not a good sign and we began to view our circumstances as expensive.  Jenni began expressing her reluctance to do anything that would cost more than what we originally budgeted, which was zero.  My philosophy was that I was there and most likely would never be there again so I was willing to sacrifice and take it on the chin.  I felt as if my initial fears were confirmed when the taxi driver walked in through the door wearing a silk suit and alligator shoes.  He was right off the cover of GQ.  He was dressed as if he was and wanted everybody to know he was doing much better than just okay.  Jenni just shook her head and gave me a stare.  He spoke good English and appeared to have excellent knowledge of the region.  At least everybody gave us the impression that he was the man.

We drove through the Derivkuyv region stopping off for brief periods to see some of the local sights, the places he thought we would like to take pictures.  When we reached Raymakli he parked in front of what looked to be a hotdog stand.  Our driver shook hands with the man behind the booth and then gestured toward the opening of a cave.  “Take your time, I’ll be here when you come out”, he said as he was handed a cup of tea.  Talk about unexpected pleasures.  This was a hide and seek wonderland.  I wished there had been some place like this back home when I was Tom Sawyer’s age.  It was an underground city, eight stories deep, with passages running in every which direction.  Jenni made it clear that she was uncomfortable and didn’t want to be separated.  I explained that she’d be okay as long as there wasn’t an earthquake.  As we were heading down I explained that she just had to follow the electrical outlets to the surface.  When the two of us reached the lowest point the child inside me crept out.  “I’ll race you to the top.  I’m just kidding.”  There was a cool breath of air rising to the surface so I knew there was good ventilation but I couldn’t imagine that many people would live underground like this.  I would be more apt to believe that it had been constructed for defensive purposes rather than everyday living until presented with evidence to the contrary.  That reminded me of a dream I had as a child, a very young child.  There was a tunnel into the earth that was warm, almost inviting.  I would look in but was afraid to enter.  That dream would repeat.  Sometimes in the middle of another dream the tunnel or cave would present itself.  Sometimes I’d look in but was always afraid to enter.  When I was older that dream took a different twist where deep in the tunnel there would be a door to the right that was always closed.  I felt as if I had been inside there before because there was a familiar feeling of knowing.  But greater than that knowledge was an the feeling of an evil presence that was so evil I felt that if I disturbed what was behind that door it would kill and eat me, or worse.

We then headed into Cardak.  Our driver explained he needed to drop off a package in Ushisar and that Ushisar would be an ideal place to eat.  That also gave us a chance to wander about the city.  Chiseled into the earth’s unusual shapes it was like roaming Disneyland in ruins.  I climbed up to the top of one of those ant hills and sat down to write while overlooking a unique view of the valley below.

Forbidden are such mountains, in the shadow of the light, to hold faith that it’s the fountains that lay forth its delight.  And there paused above the mirror, in the reflection, I saw a glance and the breath of a faint murmur, like me she seeks romance.

Deep within the garden, we cared but not for time, where I was more than a friend and she was nobody’s but mine

We drew lines within the darkness, not the utter of a word, nothing but a shared caress, our hearts were all we heard.  I got lost within her pleasure, she was blindness to my sight and I gave it all to nature, without the slightest fight.

Like eagles flies descending, my wings cut through the air, holding on with such a grip, to every strain of hair.  My sprit then lay weakened, the height from which it dropped, though emotions were still all peakin, time has chosen to stop.

Such eyes were laid to darkness and within my mind I flew, was only me who needed the rest, I had stopped to see the view.  It was a view above the valley, I so wanted you to know, a place where I have felt so free, like a child long ago.

As I ran throughout the garden, you didn’t want to play, my heart was out to you again but again I heard you say.  There behind your window, only glancing out to see, why aren’t you interested to know, love is something free

It’s this day I hear the singing, the whispers of its song that grows inside this longing and helps me sing along.

From far beyond these mountains, awake beneath the light, I know it’s not these fountains, that shares with us delight.  And there paused behind the mirror, a reflection and I glance but I’m no longer the explorer, out searching for romance.

My love’s now growing in this garden, no restraint in time, where everything’s more than a friend and nothin’s claimed as mine.  To be one within such pleasure, where they’ve opened up my sight, for me it’s here with nature, is where I’ve found the light.

We drove around and eventually pulled up in front of a large cliff face where there was a small opening about half the size of a standard door.  I would describe it as a chimney about the width of a man’s shoulders with small foot holes carved into one side.  Looking up I could see the light of the opening and estimated it was over a hundred feet up.  Our taxi driver dressed as he was gestured that we follow him and began climbing up.  Jenni was second, me and then a young Swede who had been following us around.  Once we were all in the tunnel I could barely see the light of the flashlight ahead.  Every so often I would look down measuring the distance we had traveled.  We came to a small opening.  There was a crack on its outer wall that allowed enough light in so the flash light was no longer necessary.  It was a small church with religious paintings decorating its walls.  I believe Jesus had said not to parade one’s religion in front of men, so places like this where prayer was in solitude are special to me.  We had a dialogue without words in silence and exited on the other side of the mountain.  The Swede that followed us had left his bag behind and there was no way he would attempt climbing back down the chimney alone.  He had a long walk around the mountain to fetch his belongings.

The next and last stop for the day was the Goreme Valley and wandering amidst the “Fairy Chimneys”.  Along the way there we passed a group of five guys one of which Jenni had eyes for back in Marmaris.  Our driver was not going to pick those guys up so all she could do was wave as we drove past.  Staring at them from the rear window.  We walked among stone mushrooms which was yet another absolutely unbelievable formation.  It’s hard to believe that either wind or water had created those structures.  It looked more like a very large giant had come along and placed each stone on top each chimney.  They are the exposed bones of the earth and windows into our past.  That was a remarkable venture and my concerns earlier were unfounded.  Considering everything, what we paid the taxi driver was quite reasonable.

We picked up our bags and headed for the bus station but hadn’t yet decided what our next steps would be.  The choices were to either spend the next day in Ankara or travel straight through and end up in Istanbul the next morning.  When the sun went down it got cold and I mean really cold.  I got myself comfortable next to a heater on the bus, went to sleep and wasn’t awoken until the sound of snow began hitting the bus’s windshield.  When we arrived into Ankara neither one of us felt much like searching through the city for a room.  As a matter of fact we really didn’t want to get off the bus, but this was the end of the line.  Luckily the transfer between buses was short and we didn’t have to spend too much time with the elements.

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    Usually behind a cup of coffee waiting for the world around me to wake up I entered today’s thoughts about yesterday’s activities into my travel journal. I’m not a writer, so I’ll apologize in advance if I jump around or seem confused. These are just the thoughts of a young man who left his possessions behind and who believes that getting lost is how one finds oneself.

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