Posted by: Naomi Baltuck | November 24, 2013

Unidentified Flying Objects

Last year my son Eli and I traveled to Turkey.  One of the highlights was Cappadocia in Eastern Anatolia, a land rich in history and natural wonders, such as ancient underground cities, and fairy chimneys.  And…So. Many. Caves.  Some were natural, but most were carved into the soft stone as houses for the inhabitants, going all the way back to the 6th century B.C.E.  They reminded me of swallows’ nests or anthills, but for people, and they were everywhere.

People are still carving caves into the stone to create habitable space, but most of them are entrepreneurs building hotel rooms for tourists eager for the experience of sleeping in a cave.

Eli and I stayed in just such a hotel, with all its rooms carved into a rocky hillside.
I expected it to be rough, cold, damp and crudely done, but travel is all about the unexpected.  Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised.  The walls had a stone-like pattern beautifully carved into the rock, it was brightly lit and tastefully decorated.  I loved the shelves and nooks carved into the walls.

The interior of this closet is stone, but the wooden frame and doors were fitted to the opening in the rock.

At first Eli and I couldn’t imagine what this nook was for, but then we figured it out.

It must have been a terrific photo op placed there just for us.

Here’s my favorite shot.

Our stay was full of unexpected surprises.  After weeks of washing things out in the sink, we splurged and sent laundry out to be done.  It came back the next day, but all my socks and underwear had gone missing.

Then we had an unexpected opportunity to fly up in a hot air balloon.  I’m uncomfortable with heights and it was expensive, but Eli really wanted to, and both my kids were mostly launched, so I surprised myself and agreed.   But the last place I expected the unexpected was in our spiffy bathroom.

One morning I entertained the notion of a relaxing bath, but quickly changed my mind…

…when I found this in the tub.

I did what anyone would have done.  I took a photo.  Oh, yeah, and then I yelled for Eli to come look.  And then I ran out looking for someone else to come see our scorpion. Terry and Wayne were on the way to breakfast when I accosted them, and dragged them into our bathroom to act as witnesses.

Here’s what we saw.

You know that joke…what’s worse than finding a worm in an apple?  (Finding half a worm.)  Well, worse than finding a scorpion in the cave where you sleep is finding nothing where there was a scorpion just a minute before.  We looked everywhere, but it was gone.  At least I had photo-documentation–stone cold proof we were rooming with a venomous creature.  As for my missing socks and underwear–it all came out in the wash…Terry’s wash, in fact.

But that night you’d better believe I was ready for anything.  I peeked under the bed, and checked my sheets before I got into bed…and I looked up just in time to see something flying through the air straight for me.

Down it came, and…

 All images and words copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected



  1. […] Unidentified Flying Objects | Writing Between the Lines […]

    • Thanks for the pingback. I enjoyed your blog!

  2. Beautiful pictures & what an adventure!! Although we’ve always dreamed of travel we had never given much thought to Turkey. Til now. What an enchanting place. We are new to your blog by way of mutual blogging bud, Carrie Rubin. We look forward to dropping by in the future & reading more of your posts.

  3. 🙂 🙂 Two flying bed bombers! How lucky can you get? (Oh, and always check your shoes for scorpions before slipping them on…) Did I mention you have a great life? It’s true.

    • Hi Scilla,
      I learned the check-the-shoes every morning when I went to visit my sister Miriam, who lives in Australia, where they have the ten most venomous vipers, spiders, and fish in the world. That makes a couple of bed bombers seem pretty tame. (BTW: I never heard that expression and LOVE it–I raised two of ’em and didn’t even know it).
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I always love to hear from you. P.S. My kids and I think you have the best job in the world as a living history educator and re-enactor who actually gets to dress up for a living.

      • *sigh* …it’s actually a stretch to call my museum gig a “living”…6 months of the year, part-time for Federal minimum wage…but it’s still an honor to do it, as are those other pursuits at which we volunteer…which prompted me to request the volunteer application for the Milwaukee Zoo. I might be doing zoo tours in the winter, too!

      • Dear Scilla,
        You have picked our OTHER dream job, working at the zoo. My kids and I have spent many an hour observing, sketching, and loving the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. When Eli comes back from Argentina, at the top of his list is a visit to the zoo. But we have never been so privileged to work behind the scenes.

        You seem to me a person of passion, always learning and stretching yourself, especially intellectually. For most of us, our life work, that which we feel most passionate about, is not the one that is going to make us wealthy, but it enriches our lives and helps us become who we were meant to be. I think of you as a very gifted, self-aware person, Scilla, with a talent for expressing your thought-provoking ideas in a very refreshing way. I still think you should write a book. NOW. You have so many important things to say.

  4. […] Unidentified Flying Objects | Writing Between the Lines […]

    • Thanks for the visit, and the pingback!

  5. Yikes! I think I’d have to check out of the cave if I found a scorpion in the tub. Thanks for sharing you fantastic photos!

    • I didn’t check out of the cave, but you can be sure I checked out my shoes and sheets before using them! Thanks for the visit, Jill. BTW, I really enjoyed checking out your blog, too.

  6. Oh, Naomi, you did make me laugh 🙂 Those were wonderfully entertaining words and photos. All my friends who’ve visited Turkey have loved the country so much, they want to go there again. Perhaps they missed the scorpions and UFOs.

    • Dear Sarah,
      Thanks so much for putting a smile on my face this morning. I really found Turkey fascinating. I was just careful about scorpions, and there’s really nothing I can do about the UFO–the party is BYOUFO. (I bring my own wherever I go. My blogging buddy Scilla just introduced me to the phrase ‘bed bomber’ and I love it. How did I manage to raise two of them, and not know this word?)

      • I didn’t know that phrase, either.

  7. The caves are amazing, scorpions would mean I would not get a wink of sleep though.

    • Hi JD,
      I don’t worry about scorpions so much as I do about bedbugs or malarial mosquitoes, depending upon where I happen to be. I am a true travel weenie, except on the rare moments when I rise to an occasion, but this time I figured if I checked the shoes and the sheets first, I’d be okay.
      Thanks so much for the visit. It is always good to hear from you.

  8. Too much fun!! I love your adventures! ❤

    • Hi Mary,
      Thanks so much for the visit. I love to hear from you.

    • Dear Mary,
      Thank you so much for stopping by, and taking the time to comment!

  9. Oh! You cannot leave us hanging like that!

    Sent from my iPad


    • Hi Carol,
      I learned a new word today from Scillagrace, who has a wonderful blog, if you haven’t seen it. It’s called “Bed Bomber.” Somehow I managed to raise TWO of them without knowing that word. For a graphic illustration of bed bombing, please check out this link:
      and then you will know what terrible fate befell me in the scorpion’s cave in Turkey!
      SO good to hear from you!

  10. I’ll be checking under the bed tonight! Pretty sure they don’t have scorpions in Hartlepool but you never know 🙂
    Wonderful times, Naomi. I love those hole in the wall photos.

    • Thank you, Jo. I don’t think you need to worry about scorpions in Hartlepool, but keep an eye out for the pub grubs!

  11. Proof, if it were needed, that one shouldn’t go to foreign places.

    My learning point for today, B.C.E. 😉

    • Roy, you crack me up! But Jersey is such an incredibly beautiful gem of an island that I don’t blame you for wanting to stay put.

  12. You do the best travel tours in the blogosphere. I always learn something I didn’t know–sometimes things I didn’t want to know. 😀 Like scorpions.

    The rooms are magnificent. Who would have thought? Unbelievable, Naomi and thanks again for sharing.

    • Dear Tess,

      You just made my day! Thank yo so much for the visit, and for sharing your very fun and very kind thoughts.

  13. The cave hotel looks pretty amazing but that scorpion might have had me packing! You are a brave one – the hot air balloon and spending the night with a scorpion 🙂

    • Hi Arlene,
      I am really a travel weenie, but these things don’t seem so daunting if you take them one at a time, basically committing to something and being forced to live up to it. Now to see if I can make that work with a novel!

      • I have no doubt you will! 🙂

      • Thank you!

  14. You see and do the most interesting things! I’m quite happy to enjoy seeing them through your lens…especially scorpions and such. That was quite an unexpected ending.

    • Hi Patti,
      Thank you for the kind response! I am so happy to have you stop by. It is always good to hear from you.

  15. Amazing post and amazing shots Naomi!
    Turkey is a place that I’ve always been curious about and would love to get to see!!
    Miss you on facebook.
    Best regards.

    • Hi Pablo,
      Turkey is an incredibly photogenic country, and you would enjoy it so much. But with your photographic talents, I expect you could turn even a trip to the grocery store into an amazing photo op.
      I have been pinched for time and haven’t been able to spend too much time on FB lately, but hope to catch up over the holidays. Any chance you might start up another photography blog? Yours was outstanding.
      Thanks so much for the kind word.

  16. Scorpion, what a shock! Otherwise, the cave hotel looks impressive. Hope to see more photos of your trip. Thanks for the sharing the story, Naomi 🙂

    • Except for the scorpion, it was really a beautiful hotel, and I didn’t even mind the scorpion that much. Thanks so much for the visit.

  17. Having read your blog for a little while now, I’m not too surprised that the unexpected happens to you 🙂 Nice post for the theme!

    • Thanks so much for the visit, and for making me smile!

  18. Oh my gosh Naomi – we are hoping to go to Turkey this fall and Capadocia is high on my list. Loved your photos!! Will keep an eye out for uninvited guests however!!!

    • Oh, yeah. Just check your shoes before you put them on. We really found Turkey a fascinating place, and such a long and interesting history.

  19. […] Unidentified Flying Objects | Writing Between the Lines […]

  20. Naomi,
    I’m so glad you commented on my blog post so I could find you. What wonderful pictures and I so enjoyed the vicarious trip!

  21. […] Unidentified Flying Objects | Writing Between the Lines […]

  22. […] Unidentified Flying Objects | Writing Between the Lines […]

  23. Especially enjoyed your framing shots with the feet peeking below. I appreciate your good comments on my blog when you visit. Thank you, Naomi.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Ruth. I enjoy your blog–you have a great eye!

  24. Oh my Goodness, scorpion!!!!!! Have you told the manager of the hotel? You have to. I am afraid so much and I couldn’t have stayed there… But I know these cave hotels are so otantique and so beautiful… Most of them are serious about disinfection to kill them, like danger creatures… I am sorry that you lived this. But photographs are amazing and you are a real photographer didn’t miss the moments, especially about scorpion! But he escaped… jumped into the photograph brrrrr I am afraid even in words too. You can’t believe but I haven’t visited yet this area, Cappadocia is one of must see places in my country. Thank you dear Naomi, love, nia

    • Dear Nia,
      I hope you can go to Cappadocia soon! It is one of the most unique places I have ever been to! I wasn’t too worried about the scorpion. I was more afraid of the poison they would use to kill it than the scorpion itself.
      Thanks so much for the visit. So good to hear from you!

  25. I like your Turkey diaries – and now on Thanksgiving, are you eating a turkey?
    HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and yours, Naomi!

    • Thank you so much! The same to you and yours. So you celebrate Thanksgiving in Germany? I’m sure there must be some kind of harvest festival. Oktoberfest, maybe?

      • it’s called Erntedankfest – but we are eating our goose on Xmas …

  26. […] Unidentified Flying Objects | Writing Between the Lines […]

  27. dear Naomi, I hope you managed the turkey oven procedure on THANKSGIVING DAY!
    I just reblogged one of your kind comments at

  28. A most entertaining post, Naomi! Things that fly around in the bedroom are the stuff of nightmares. One really does have to be on the look out at all times when visiting an unfamiliar place. Good thing you were prepared for the unexpected. 🙂 Great pics again!

    • Hi Sylvia,
      Thanks for the visit and, as always, your encouragement.

  29. Yikes Naomi! Spotting a scorpion in your bath tub is bad enough. To have it disappear would have freaked me out completely. I would have probably stayed up all night with the lights on, if I didn’t check out before then! 🙂 Great post!

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