Posts Tagged With: tents

CARAVANSERAI, SILK ROAD, WHIRLING DERVISHES

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We enter Sultanhani Caravanserai through this beautiful carved marble entrance which faces East. This caravanserai was built in 1229. After a fire, it was restored and extended in 1278 and became the biggest  and best Caravanserai in Turkey.

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Traveling the Silk Road, parts of it now preserved  in Turkey,  because of its historical importance, Usla knew I was excited about “…walking in the steps of Marco Polo.”  He’d point to a caravanserai from a distance. “There’s one!” I could never spot them because I was trying to see a huge desert area surrounded by trees, a source of water and many bedouin tents set up to show what it must have been like to travel across huge stretches of hot sand, and take refuge with camels laden with goods in a safe spot for the night. Instead we entered a huge courtyard, with winter rooms on the left and summer rooms on the right.

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To the right of the entrance, are summer kiosks where the merchant put forth his goods. The arches to the right of the kiosks is a Turkish bath.  First, servants would come and unload the merchandise while the travelers bathed. The horses or camels were taken to a stable in the back of the building. To the immediate left of the entrance is a stairway leading to the top of the wall where guards patrolled. And huge rooms where the servants and travelers slept and had their meals and displayed their goods during winter months.

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This painting shows what it was like, guards on the rim, travelers seeking refuge, not only merchants. The guards could signal with smoke signals from one caravanserai to another in the distance to know who was coming so they didn’t let in robbers who would lay in wait for a caravan and try to relieve them of their goods.

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In the center is a small Mosque.

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You entered the Mosque by this set of stairs, identical to the stairway leading up to the top of the walls.

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The stables, a dark and foreboding place, lit by torch light and now electrified for tourists.

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The rooms are now quite barren. Black smoked walls identify the kitchen area.

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The cold marble does not exactly suggest comfort station to me. I think I’d prefer a tent.  I didn’t see the W.C.  But, according to others it is now a modern toilet unlike what it must have been with stone seats and a runnel. In my mind, I see Marco Polo, in awe of his surroundings as he traveled to China, and all over Asia, an epic 24 year journey, and back to Italy with Noodles, rugs, silks, porcelain, pearls, jade, jewels but most of all, a detailed history of the marvels of the world he visited.

Kapadokya Lykia Lodge

We returned for dinner at our new hotel in Cappadocia, the Kapadokya Lykia Lodge. I swore I wasn’t going to picture another buffet, they are all so splendid, but this one outdid  the others. This is one wing of the salad bar. Behind you can see a long dessert bar. Thirty three different desserts and Owen managed seven of them before his dinner.DSC06282 (Copy)

We enjoyed multiple choices from huge chafing dishes, or a vegetarian bar, and a breakfast bar, omelets made to order, etc. available all hours. Overwhelming choices.  But, enough.

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Our evening optional tour brought us to another, smaller caravanserai to see the whirling dervishes. To the left is  gift shop. The place had beautiful paintings of caravanas.

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You can see how much smaller this courtyard is from the big one we saw. It has a fountain in the middle.

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Inside a staging area surrounded on three sides by seating. The musicians enter first, you see them at the back of the room. The dervishes are dressed in black like the guide. They allow no pictures during their ritual. After the ritual, they perform for a few minutes for the camera. No words are spoken. No announcements made. This is how they start, heads bowed, arms crossed.

 

They begin circling with eyes open.

They begin circling with their eyes closed.

They whirl with arms in an upright position, never letting them down for about 13 minutes. They return to rest position for five minutes and then begin again in a trance like state for another 13 minutes. Then they return to rest state.

Then they silently file out of the staging area the same way they entered. No words are spoken, no eye contact made. They do not discuss their ritual and what it means to them. Norman saw a Dervish Ritual in Iran and said they came out with swords clashing and whirling. It was a “show”. This ritual is said to be the real thing, very pure form, nothing flashy. I was astounded that anyone can keep their arms in the air, and whirl dizzily with eyes closed for 13 minutes, without falling over or resting their arms. A truly amazing feat. Very subdued, but amazing. I can’t hold my arms up in the air for two minutes. I was totally impressed.

 

 

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PREPARING FOR THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

Excerpts from Bill Dryson’s Walk In The Woods as he prepares for walking the Appalachian Trail after he discovers a good back pack costs $250, it isn’t water proof, sleeping bags require a stuff sack, straps to strap things to the back pack are extra, plus he needs a ground cloth and a raincover.

“I ended up with enough equipment to bring full employment to a vale of sherpas-a three seasons tent, self-inflating sleeping pad, nested pots and pans, collapsible eating utensils, plastic dish, cup and complicated pump-action water purifier, seam sealer, stuff sacks, patching kit, bungee cords, water bottles poncho, waterproof matches, compass/thermometer key ring, a little collapsible stove, gas bottle, hands free flashlight, long johns, undershirts, bandannas, snake bite kit, sewing kit, a small orange shovel for burying your poop, and a big knife for killing bears and hillbillies. The orange plastic spade seemed to shout:  “Greenhorn! Sissy! Make way for Mr. Buttercup!”

Thus committed, he repaired to a book store and bought hikers handbooks, books on wildlife and natural history, and a series of 11 paperbacks with fifty-nine maps covering the trail, for $233.45 for the set. Then, he spotted a book called Bear Attacks: Their causes and Avoidance. 

After he got home with his booty, he began to tremble and told himself this wouldn’t be so bad, but secretly, he thought otherwise.

Hmmm! Expensive, yes. But, carrying all that stuff while walking? Well, certainly I would have to have my new hip, and get myself into shape again, and do some practicing with a heavy pack. Hey, if Hilda can do it, and others like her, surely this isn’t an impossible goal  for me. Let’s see what happens as Dryson hits the trail. And, I have to contact Hilda. I know her email address is on my other machine. Gotta find Hilda.

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