04/16/2010 - 04/17/2010 63 °F
We are back in Istanbul again. Yesterday we faced the difficult decision to cancel our flights to Hungary and the UK. We couldn't rationalize flying into the ash cloud with the possibility that we wouldn't be able to fly out and make it to NYC in time for Ben's step-sister's wedding. So, we opted to cut the trip short and head back to the states early. We consoled our disappointment by arranging to visit our good friends in Washington DC for a few days before we head up to NYC. When I asked the kids, "Spain or the Yardas'?" It was an immediate unanimous answer. Of course, by the time we thought it out and considered all the options, and then waited on hold to the airlines for two hours, the earliest flights out of Istanbul to the US were on Thursday! So we have another three days here--Emotionally, it felt like we ended the trip when we canceled the last few weeks in Europe. So now there is a little struggle with the waiting time to get homeward bound. Tonight, the usual dinner issues--where to eat, who isn't going to like it, who got to pick last, what kind of food to eat, what time should we eat--had Ben and I grinding our teeth. I miss home!
Everything about the last week is a big fat lesson of letting go of control--a common theme in my life! Maybe common for many people, at least in Europe right now!
Our time in Cappadocia was a hop out of step--I brushed against the frustration of life not going my way so many times!
I think Ben mentioned that our guide couldn't speak English very well? At first, her accent was funny with the way she emphasized the wrong syllable of each word. But she also thought that raising the level of her voice would make her more understandable. (I notice this is a common reaction when people aren't sure about being understood.) For us this meant our day with her consisted of her yelling at us her oft repeated version of Cappadocian history in response to any questions about the area--"the Christians came to cave howwwzes in 1st centureeee" or other basic observations such as "look at the pigeon howwwwses" "lots of pigeon howwwzes" "seeeeee the baby Jeeeesus" or our favorite "see yes the big mounteeeen" This one in response to our efforts to inquire about some pillars we could see on top of two large mountains near Avanos. We were all mystified about what ruins would be on top of the mountain, but we couldn't get her to understand what we were talking about--she repeated this in about 7 different variations--"there are two mountains" "the mountain is high" "it is very tall" Aarrghh! We gave up. Fortunately for us, the next lesson in letting go solved that mystery!
We had to do the hottest thing to do in Cappadocia--a dawn hot air balloon ride over the crazy rock formations. Of course, the day of our reserved trip, Posie had a fever, so we rebooked for the next day and couldn't get the early sunrise time slot. I was bummed to miss the great photo ops. We decided it was all for the best since we wouldn't have to wake the kids at 5AM--we didn't even mind that the breakfast cookies were picked over, or that there were no clean glasses left for tea, or that we were in a balloon with 12 LOUD talking tourists from Japan and China (we are immune to that now, and of course they had to take pics with Posa), -----it was the wind that got to us.
Notice that all the other balloons are over there....way over there, over the cool rocks and we are over the fields heading for the highway?
As we drifted farther and farther away, I asked Hussien, the balloon man, "how do you steer this?" His reply,"whad ever ways da winds go." OK. So the winds decided to answer our earlier query and we found ourselves drifting far away from the Cappadocia Valley right towards the "two big mounteeenns." And we did get to see what the pillars were all about--
LAND ART! Who climbs up here and gathers all these rocks into these neatly stacked stone walls? A crazy Aussie, of course!
The ride was getting quite exciting at this point, especially with the unknown destination and landing zone predictions being yelled out by Adrian every few moments. "we're gonna crash land in that circle!" "We're gonna hit that mountain!" "the balloon is gonna pop on those rocks!" "we're gonna land in the rock circle and never be able to get out!" It was a bit unnerving to see the rescue jeep racing up over rough roads below us to try to catch us before we went over the other side of the ridge into Avanos Valley. The balloon guys were professionals, though we had to assume "landing" positions, we were brought down right on the trailer bed and hardly even tipped sideways or dragged along in the dirt too much. Adrian has a different version of course--you can ask him about the crash landing.
And the moral of the story is: the wind blows where it will, and we have to deal with the consequences as they come to us--sometimes changing direction comes with a treat, like seeing much missed friends or getting the best view of art from above or just having to eat more rich and tasty Mediterranean food for a few more days...