Day 8

July 1, 2003
Kayseri, 9:30 p.m.

One last walk to Hatice’s house this morning, where I cut and pasted email for Barbara from my little flash memory keychain, and Hatice copied her PC Turkish dictionary program onto it for me. Remzi was due to meet us at Barbara’s house between 9:30 and 10:00 to take us to Kultepe, so we all headed there and sat and talked, and tried not to feel sad and miss each other before leaving.

Remzi and son came, loaded our heavy bags into the van, and drove us out of the village. As he drove us toward Kultepe, Remzi gave us a capsule history of Cappadocia, from Paleolithic times to the days of Ataturk. I noticed as we drove through Avanos that someone had put two carpets into the road to be driven over. I’d heard of that as a method of aging rugs, but thought it was an exaggeration. I guess not.

As we rode along, I watched the landscape even out, as the tufa formations calmed down and then disappeared. Farmland took its place. We passed a tent encampment of migrant farmworkers, there for the summer to work in the sugar beet and sunflower fields. Kultepe was beautiful, as much for the walk over fields with a good breeze blowing and sun shining and the hum of innumerable insects in the air, as for its historical merit. The university archaeologists don’t start work for the season until next week, so we had the place to ourselves. So much of the site has not yet been touched.

Then we went to see the archaeological museum in Kayseri, where the finds from Kultepe are housed. . They had tastes of everything, but not an exhaustive collection, which was about the perfect size museum for me at that point - I was interested, but nearly worn out.

And then to the Kayseri Hilton to check in. Oh my. It really is a five star hotel, and we were in our traveling gear, dusty from walking around the site, tired, thirsty…

So we had a quick rest, and then met Remzi and his son again. We walked along the old city wall, skirting the bazaar, through a couple of streets and into grounds of the ethnographic museum. What a treat. A restored Ottoman-era house, with mannequins in costume, posed in each furnished room. Jen and Ellen were even invited to pose with the mannequins in a wedding party diorama - otherwise all male - in those days the women would have been behind a lacy wooden screen at the back of the room.

But I am too tired now to write about anything and make sense, so I’ll try to add more on the plane. Walked, took many pictures today, and didn’t really eat until suppertime. And then that meal took three hours, start to finish… We sat outside at the Hilton’s roof terrace restaurant from daylight to darkness. I’ll tell that story tomorrow, because I’m about to crash.

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