Almost all photos today, as there is no way I can describe the geology of where I am.

Well, as you can tell from the pictures, and the text from yesterday’s report, I’m in Cappadocia, although it looks a lot more like the moon.

I got out early— just after 7:00, and didn’t get back until 11:30.

I took all these pictures within about 5 Km of the little pensiyone where I’m staying.

Up, Up, and East?

When I first hit the town, the balloons were starting to ascend, so instead of hitting the geology (it will always be there) I went charging down some back roads and found the launch area.

Eventually there were 23 balloons in the air.

You can see how far up I’d climbed by this shot:

An hour or more later, I was clambering up in the rock spires (of course) and down in the parking lot below me, they set up and launched.

The balloon launch took about 10 minutes from the first inflation from the big fan on the truck to people getting in the gondola, and then another ten minutes until it lifted off.

I kept thinking, as the thing went east a lot more (trust me on this) than it went up:

Aren’t these things supposed to rise?

Then, after am embarrassingly long time, I realized that the lower he was, the better the view— and the better the memories.

So I only knew more than the pilot did for about ten minutes— not bad.

Back to the Rocks

The light was only so-so— hazy, clearer in the west, but still pretty contrasty.

This valley is about a quarter-mile across, to give you the scale.

Later on, the light got good— but by then it was getting hot.

One of the rock-carved churches had (barely) visible frescoes on the ceiling.

I bombed around the local region for almost the entire morning snapping away, climbing hills, checking out these places.

Here’s some of the geology about 4 Km away— you can see how the hard capstone rock has greatly slowed erosion of the much softer tufa underneath.

The oddest part of the day’s events was when I was up high, prowling around looking for pictures, picking up a little trash here and there, and a big, fancy tour bus rolls into this little village, and dumps out about 50 French tourists.

The local merchants are already setting up a new gauntlet (here’s about a third of it)

Here’s some more

and I’m watching, but none of the tourists did anything other than hit the souvenir tables. None of them so much as crossed the street and climbed up to make any more-than-from-the-parking-lot shots, even though some of them, I later observed, had some pretty high-end cameras.

Camels?

And I’m partly up on the spiky (slippery) rock spires and the guy brings out the camels.

Tourists will pay to ride them later once they are saddled, and blanketed, and all that.

Even More Poppies?

I found a third kind of poppies out there— and may have (finally) noticed a variant on poppies I hadn’t noticed yet.

Here’s what I brought back in the camera today.

And an iris picture or two for an old friend.

Finally, when I got back to the pensiyone the weekly town market was going on—

pretty small, not the demographics I’d wanted—too many twenty-something young men selling stuff, not nearly enough of the old village, Muslim women.

But here’s another component of the stooped-over culture.

Here are some brooms that women use to sweep out rooms (and driveways, porches, patios).

You’ll notice there’s no broom handle. . . .

So the tool here is driving the operator, rather than vice-versa.

There is a much larger and more authentic, if you know what I mean, weekly market in a town not far from here on Friday.

Originally written for Two Minutes in Turkey