April 17, 2010 (Saturday)

Day Off. Today, we are giving ourselves permission to do just whatever we want to do. For the first time on the trip, on our eighteenth day, we finally have taken ourselves offline from any official schedule. Jerry and I both realized that after pushing so hard from dawn to dusk for weeks now, we were ready to crash physically and genuinely needed to take a day to catch our breath. We are up around 7 am or so. This Hotel Tripoli is okay, but the receptionist is not very friendly or attentive. Yesterday, I stood at the front desk for several minutes while a lady and man behind the desk argued about something and completely ignored me! I shall complete their customer satisfaction survey, no doubt!!

Anyway, we first go to the car and figure out how to get the “message” on the blinking warning light on the dash to toggle off in order to get kilometers to show again. We find out that the red light thankfully goes off once the car is cranked. We hope to get car assistance in Selçuk (the modern city next to the ancient site of Ephesus), our next major stay-over after visiting the site of Aphrodisias on the way. We have contacts with Janet Crisler and the Crisler Institute in Selçuk if needed; at least there’ll be someone who speaks our language to help us with the car. After checking on the car, I notice the hotel has a pigeon roost in its side yard, so I get a picture with my iPhone.

WiFi Searching. Our Hotel Tripoli, though brand new, has no WiFi. We have not communicated home with anyone for a while, so really need to make contact. We decide to chance a quick run over to the Colossae Thermal Hotel where we had stayed the night before to try to use their lobby WiFi. Unfortunately, the WiFi in the Colossae Thermal lobby doesn’t work for some reason this morning—dang it! After our vain attempt to get WiFi at Colossae Thermal, we head back to our Hotel Tripoli to catch breakfast. Jerry fakes a pose anticipating a dip later this afternoon.

Pamukkale Shopping. After breakfast, we are off to downtown Pamukkale to do a little shopping. The modern resort town of Pamukkale is right at the bottom of the hill of the ancient site of Hierapolis. We also continue to look for an Internet café. I bought some little zip cases for the Tapestry ladies—they’re kinda cute. Didn’t find anything else of interest in the little storefronts along the main drag, so we asked about an Internet café. We get directions to a place that some suppose might have Internet. When we get there, however, the place is closed.

Judy’s Hotel. We spot a small hotel nearby that seems to be open and go inside. We inquire about any Internet access in the area. Lo and behold, we are told we can use their WiFi! We then are introduced to the hotel proprietor. Her name is Judy. She is a very nice lady. Judy gave us tea and the password for her hotel WiFi. We’re in business now.

I send email to Richard Johnson to let him know Jerry found the water tower pipes at Laodicea. We do a little Twitter and Facebook posting. Had a pleasant visit with Judy. She’s very nice and loves Apple computers, so conversation easily ensues. She tells us of woes with Korean hotel guests who want to bargain on everything down to the nub to the point she basically barely breaks even with any Korean group and really does not like to see them coming. She has owned the hotel for 2 years. She bought the establishment from a family that was socially “shamed” and had to leave town as a result. We are getting the distinct impression this honor/shame society is serious business.

Judy tells us of a village up the road called Karahayit not too far past the Colossae Thermal Hotel and says the little town is worth a visit. [She says that shopping is better there, so Jean is persuaded right away to make an unscheduled visit, and I realize suddenly that now, I am just tagging along. Tables are turned. Ha!—Jerry] So off we go.

Karahayit Visit. The little village to which Judy had directed us has the weirdest thermal spring coming up out of the ground in the center of the road. We take pictures. The village has a brand new hotel called the Grand Marden that looks very nice. We immediately happen upon an Internet café on the main drag—goody—we’re in business. We do email, Jerry checks his favorite forums, DPReview, Macworld, MacLife, and iLounge sites. I check my email—all this for less than $2. After using the Internet, we walk up the main street and smell some wonderful chicken. We stop and eat lunch, since the time is about 1 pm now. After lunch we walk on up the street and look at some shops. There’s a nice glass shop, but we can’t find anything we might be interested in. We then return back to the car to ride through the rest of village, but we discover there’s not much else to see. The town is extremely dusty, much like the rest of Turkey. Whenever I will think of Turkey in the future, I always will feel the dust flying and remember the red poppies popping.

Thermal Pool. After finishing the side trip to the little town the Pamukkale hotel proprietor, Judy, had recommended we visit, we head back to our hotel. I wash out a pair of pants, shirt, etc. for Jerry. I hang them on the balcony to dry—they’ll be wrinkled but at least the pants will still be beige and not yellow!

Jerry has on his new swimsuit as if to go to the thermal pool, but he has fallen asleep with his ipod (iPhone) playing in his earphones. He has worked so hard. He really needs the rest. I’m glad he finally allowed himself the luxury of collapsing in exhaustion. He’ll be taking a dip later in the thermal pool.

Jerry arouses from his little afternoon nap, and around 4:30 we are headed to the thermal pool that is fed by the mineral waters of Hierapolis. Jerry took a swim. He said the water was wonderfully warm. I took some pics and a movie of him in a rare moment of purely relaxing on this trip. After 30 minutes, Jerry got out of the thermal pool, and we headed to the big pool outside. That water was shockingly cold! Jerry took a while to get in and swim. I took some more pics with the cliffs of Pamukkale (ancient Hierapolis) in the background.


Pamukkale Dinner. We head back to our room to clean up. We go into Pamukkale back to Judy’s place for dinner. (This is the same lady who had helped us earlier in the day, serving us tea and allowing us to use her hotel WiFi and giving us a recommendation to visit Karahayit on up the road.) We eat on Judy’s restaurant balcony upstairs and can see Pamukkale in the distance. While we were sitting there, we saw people rolling their bags down the street (“see them bag rollers rolling they bags”). We used Judy’s WiFi connection again to call some folks, including Richard Johnson (to thank him for helping find the water tower at Laodicea), our godchild, Lauren (it’s prom night for her, and she and her mother, Donna, were shopping for earrings), Mother, my brother-in-law, Johnny Martin (to check on this injured back falling off the roof of the house), my sister, Janice, and niece Tonya, Pops Stevens (left message), and John Crider (left message).

CSI Programming. After a wonderful dinner with our beautiful balcony view of Pamukkale, we head back to our hotel and just relax. We review plans for the next day when we will go to Aphrodisias, and then on to Selçuk (Ephesus) and Janet’s place at the Crisler Library. [Aphrodisias is a classical Greek site that in the Roman period was favored highly by Rome due to social connections between the elite of Aphrodisias and the imperial house in Rome. As a faithful client of Rome, Aphrodisias benefited from this strong patronage system that endowed Aphrodisias with many public works, statuary, temples, and other public construction. I hope to learn much about the nature and function of Roman imperial propaganda in the Roman Empire through visiting Aphrodisias, as well as illustrations of Roman values.—Jerry]

We actually find an American cable program on TV that is not dubbed into Turkish—an episode of CSI—in original English—our first television English in days!!! That was great! And we are not even CSI fans.

For a video of the Pamukkale and Karahayit action today:

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