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
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