Having a very flexible itinerary has been awesome but at times we’re presented with difficult decisions about where to go and what to do. The trip to the Cappadocia region of Turkey is a good example. We had to get up before 5am for our first flight and then were faced with what to do with a 9 hour lay-over; waiting for luggage at a carousel, getting visas, stowing luggage and the prospect of 4 hours of travel to and from Istanbul and another hour to get to the airport on time for the next flight…as well as the possibility of political protests upon arrival. We vacillated on this one for days and finally decided what to do just as we got off the plane from Tel Aviv and into the airport terminal. Go to the mall!
The Viaport Mall was a 5km taxi ride from the airport. Along with the usual stuff found at third world malls around the world this one included a bowling alley, a movie theatre and and an amusement park. We grabbed lunch, hung around drinking coffee and purchased a SIM card which resulted in finally getting our smart phone to work with data. We had to pay to get a code to unlock the phone which was purchased in the US. In Israel the phone worked but not the data functions which we were relying on for GPS and mapping.
Turkish doesn’t sound like any other language I’ve heard before. I usually try to learn a few words of the native language of the countries but my attempts at Turkish result in one tounge twister after another. “Thank you” is 6 syllables. I’ve written, or had a kind local written the phrase several times and after a couple of days I still can’t get it to stick in my head. The Turkish language may fall under the “Dutch language rule” which is “Don’t bother even trying”, or, “Fugetaboutit” (only 5 syllables!).