Well, it was pretty windy this AM when I headed out and although there were about a dozen big balloons out there in the field, with crews and passengers (at about $225 per pop) and all, it was too windy to fly safely, so it was more like Grandpa’s honeymoon (partly up, then all the air came out) than anything else.

So instead of some great launch photos, I headed to another local moonscape about a Km from the pensiyone until 8:00, when it was time to go back to the pensiyone to pick up the day’s travel pal.

I’ll be trying for some better launch photos tomorrow AM.

But she kept telling me she was easy!

I’d met this nice German woman Sabine Mueller, (early 30s), when we were both staying at the same pensiyone in Konya, and she’d told me about this place in Goreme, where I now am, and it’s also the first place listed in Lonely Planet (always a good sign)

I got here Tuesday, and she arrived by dolmus (the little busses) on Wednesday.

And today, Thursday, we went out exploring and shooting together. A very nice day— very nice to have someone to visit with.

And we made a little loop about 150 Km today, hitting some pretty interesting sites.

First was Kaymakli, one of the many (with many still unexplored) underground cities in the area—apparently, as I suggested recently, when the bandidos showed up, the locals retreated to their in-the-tufa retreats. Well, some of the retreats were underground.

The big one in the area held 20,000 people and had many levels—the smaller one we were in today had only a few levels.

But level is the wrong word, if you are 6’2″. The word is bent over, (here’s Sabine in a tunnel)

as that’s what the passages were like for much of the several hundred meters. I’ve been complaining mildly about Turkish toilets in these ramblings, but I want to tell you that 6 weeks of Turkish toilets can get your thighs in pretty good shape, and sometimes that can come in pretty handy.

Like this AM.

There were bedrooms down there and kitchens, and granaries, and mill-stones, and all that—

plus some very clever 6-foot tall round rocks that the locals would set up to roll across passageways here and there to keep the bandidos from just following them down.

Here’s one side of the vault door

And all morning, Sabine kept saying, when I’d ask her a question about where to go next, or do you want to shoot this, or is it time to eat:

“Well, I’m very easy.”

And I finally explained to her that she should say “Well, I’m very easy to get along with,” since ending the sentence at “easy” sent a much different message.

Her English was wonderful— and it’s only one of the languages she knows: her native German, English, a lot more Turkish than I have, and Arabic.

She’s on her way to Syria in about three weeks to study more Arabic: a three-week individual study refresher before the classes start at Damascus U.

Some nice Canadians— am I being redundant?

Between two of the rock churches we stopped for a little break, and in the same outdoor joint (surrounded by a gauntlet, of course) were four Canadians (two couples), and we had a lovely visit with them.

One of the guys had just discovered photography as a hobby, and had a great new Nikon (the same one Kim bought for the trip) and the same great 18-200 lens, and a macro lens and tripod were next, and here we go.

I told them that on trips in the past I’d claimed to be Canadian, from the south suburbs of Vancouver.

Originally written for Two Minutes in Turkey