Saturday, September 3, 2011



The big Turkish buses are pretty state of art. They have some climate control for everyone. There are also TV's to keep everyone from visiting with each other and forming friendships. Note that everything is dubbed (often badly) into Turkish.

While I was on the bus, I was hoping that the connections and such would be better once I reached western Turkey. In fact, they became a bit worse as I am now in competion with lots and lots of tourists.

When you're at a bus stop, it is important to pay close attention to the staff of the bus. There isn't a lot of notice when they are ready to take off. Don't let the bus leave without you.

At the bus stop, they had a choice between a grab food fast from a kabob dealer for 5 TRY or you could spend 15 TRY for one main and a side of rice from a desultory caffiteria. I noticed nobody ate at the caffiteria. I wonder if the other restaurant owners want to burn down that guys shop.

The buses are a pretty smooth ride, though being in the bus seat for so many hours made my back feel like it was on fire. If someone had a film of me in the seat and played it in fast forward, it might look like the torture scene from the Princess Bride. It might have been Niechie who said 'That which does not kill us makes us stronger'. If it were true, I'd be remarkably tough. I'm not. I suspect Niechie was talking about somthing else - or more likely - talking out of his ass.

Eventually, I arrived in a different town. I got reassured by three different people I was indeed in Kayseri. I alwayys check with several people as the language barrier and a healthy dose of stupidity can often get in the way of me knowing things. Whenever I am trying to get information - be it directions, where I am, anything I always interview several people who are not within sight of each other until I get a consensus of at least three.

As I was writing this, I was listening to the five AM call to prayer. I am so happy I am aegnostic. At least there is a chance of sleep.

I had to wait two hours for my connecting bus to Goreme.

Cut to...

What has taken you seconds to read for me has been a troubled and oft interrupted sleep. Visions of the past and perhaps the future are under laid with the strange fluting music of the spheres. Alderaan's not far away.

I get a bit strange when sleep deprived.

I kept a close eye out for Goreme as it was not the last stop on the route but I need not have bothered. The giant stone penis shaped rocks were a big tip off.


The first thing I thought when I arrived in Goreme was 'holy fuck, I've wandered into a rocky version of Disney Land'. Talk about masses of tourists, this place is as rotten with them as many of the larger cities in western Europe. The noise of rolling luggage across cobblestones torments my soul.

I wandered over to the tourist information office (conveniently located) and inquired after 'Star Cave'. They called and told me that I'd be picked up. I thought that was nice but was a bit surprised when I ended up 'riding bitch' on a scooter.

The guy who is working the desk is named Ramazon. His happiness with me ebbs and wanes depending on if he believes money is forthcoming. The room is 20 TRY (rather than the 15 TRY on 'wiki-travel', hence I updated it and added other...notes...) and includes a breakfast the which could be excelled only by stale cereal and old milk. Or some mysterious piece of bread that I can buy at a store along with a box of fake juice.

The laundry service is decent though it is the most I've ever paid to have my clothing washed at 15 TRY. It needed it. Badly.

In addition there is a sign up asking people to not bring in alcoholic beverages as they sell them here. In their defense, I did purchase a rather nice bottle of wine I really enjoyed.

As far as the ambiance here it is as Adam said - pretty nifty and extravagant. Not bad for a 20 TRY bed. It isn't very clean however and without the Aussie who owns the place, the other half of the hostel equation is missing as well.

Food is a bit expensive here in 'tourist land' and the hostel has no kitchen I may use. That's OK. I'd rather burn to a different country where buying prepared food is cheap rather than eat anything I've cooked.

As I'd seen several scooters around, I asked Ramazan how much it cost to rent them. He responded that it is 'not my job'. This immediately put the sleep deprived, filthy Logan to a 'well disposed' mood toward him. Then, he wanted to tell me about all of the different tours and such he could get me on. I know he gets a referral cut from this. Attempting to put his hand into Logan's pocket made Logan positively friendly toward him.

When I was working in the hostel and people showed up, one of my first questions for them was "What do you need right now?" Some of them were interested in going to do stuff - others in nothing more than stretching their legs with a nice walk and some in a shower and sleep. I tried not to assume I knew what they wanted.

I walked around a bit after dropping my pack (and chaining it to the bed) and discovered a fancy coffee shop you could buy espressos and such for 4 TRY. I explored still further and found a place where I could buy Turkish coffee for 1.25 TRY.

Looking around, this place reminds me a lot of the stories I've heard about Venice where the tourists wildly outnumber the locals. If tourism stopped and everyone knew it would never again be back, this town would shrink from 5000 residents to 500.

On the second day, I zoomed around on an ATV. I'm not sure if it was pretending to be the late, great Crocodile Hunter Cappadocia or getting to ride the ATV I enjoyed more. That was the best time I had here. If you are going to do it, bring some goggles (they have none) as the dust is really bad - worse if you are in a group. They even hose you down with pressurized air afterward to get rid of some of the dust from your clothing. If you have no goggles, bring eye drops. You'll thank me later.

Also available are horses, camels, scooters and balloons. You will not want for lack of options - if you want to spend the cash.

Speaking of balloons, I think the reason I may end up dumping the cash to do another ATV ride over the same course instead of a balloon ride is that an ATV is an active thing - a balloon ride is a passive thing.


While I was looking at my iteniery I was contemplating the next place. If it is $20 or more to hit each place I am interested in visiting, I'll have to get more choosy on what I'm really interested in seeing.

The Turkish flag is everywhere. People seem very proud of their country.

The Turkish alphabet is the first one in awhile that uses characters I'm use to. It is possible to make out what some of the stuff is saying.

Africa is the first country I wish I had an 'African style' fly whisk in. I can understand why many of the natives wear long sleeved shirts and long trousers.


After about two days here, I've seen enough pointy rocks. Neat. No, I haven't gone into the 'watch the fat man try to squat in houses in the underground city isn't it funny how inflexible he is' places. I've seen them on TV and thought 'meh'. I am not really interested in cave churches either. Even the guy at the hostel asked "Why did you come to Cappadocia?" Fortunately, I didn't respond with "To be interrogated by assholes." I said "To relax." This irritated him because my relaxing does not put money in his pocket. After one night of sleep and two days in total, I am pretty much ready to move on. Since I can't due to the holiday and the chalked full buses until the fifth I may end up doing the ATV's again, even though the route would be exactly the same.

Other travelers have told me that Anatalya is just as touristic but not as nice as Goreme. This makes me so happy. I think I will try to pay by the night there. Yes, I hear Adam's voice in my head "Hey you stupid bastard, you're going to tourist places - what did you expect?" My answer: Perhaps a bit more subtlety with the hand out? Yes, I know - I'm in Turkey. I will either deal with it or move with alacrity.


Don't be shy about showing your ticket to several employees at a bus station to make sure you get on the right bus.

The companies that sell tickets are many and varied. Some sell tickets for other places. Some are completely sold out of everything and will tell you that the bus is full. Others will somehow have a seat available. Check around. In America, this type of system would be referred to by the phrase "cluster fuck" but it seems to work here. Sort of. Even the official 'information booth' (marked 'information' in English though the inhabitants of it speak none) is pretty useless. Just walk around and talk to everyone. You'll eventually find the information you need.

Just after Ramadan, there is a festival (Ramazan Bayramı in Turkey) that lasts two to four days, depending on who you talk to. I'd suggest booking well ahead or just stay where you are and don't move till it is over if you are in any Muslim country. Transportation lines and hotels are overflowing. [Side note: As I am writing this, I am listening to a couple of Japanese girls whose whole travel plans have gotten totally fucked due to this holiday. Aren't you glad you read this blog?]

The single most important phrase to learn in any country is 'thank you'.

If you are with an incompetent guide and become lost, stop moving and wait for him to come find you.


According to a cool guy I met from Vietnam named Van, Vietnam is twice as cheap as Turkey. Nice.


They like to spread water upon the ground to 'make it cooler' and keep the dust down.


Can of soda, 2 TRY at bus stop restaurant, 3 TRY in Cappadocia

Soe sort of chicken sandwich at bus stop, 5 TRY

Bottle of Cappadocian wine, 20 TRY

ATV - you must get a guide but it is included with the price. Totally worth it IMO, 60 TRY

Most other dorm living (including a place called the 'Flintstones' which bears no resemblance to the cartoon and that is a pity) has dorm beds for 25 TRY. I didn't ask if they included a shitty breakfast with that.

A half hour massage, 50 Euros. When the guy said Euros I tried not to burst out laughing. By his expression, I don't think I was controlling my facial muscles well enough. But I did try. So, for half an hour of massage, you can go on a two or three hour balloon ride that includes breakfast and possibly lunch. I'll leave you to think which is the better.


I was wandering around Goreme and accidentally wandered onto the death march known as 'Pigeon Valley'. It was a fairly arduous climb. Well, for me anyway. And I was totally unprepared for what it turned into - I wasn't carrying water, was wearing flip flops and carrying a sweater. Eventually, it became the 'in for a penny in for a pound' sort of thing that my stubborn streak likes to go up against. I'm glad in this case I did because I met a Vietnamese guy named Van who I got to chat with for quite some time. I also met a nice Dutch family (husband and wife with a baby in a backpack thing) and an old man who sold tea very close to the terminus of the trip. I addressed him as 'the smartest man alive'. Unfortunately, he did not have a backgammon board or I would have spent even more time there. It was a pretty good amount of walking that I didn't want to repeat again in any circumstances.


Stone Penis


Cappadocia Hunter

Holmes Needed

Meet the Horse

Tosspot Helmets

Location, location and...

Fresh TV

The Walls

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{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2018}} Ukraine: Kiev - Chernihiv - Uzhhorod

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