Saturday, July 5, 2008

We'll all go together

I realize this will come with absolutely no context, and I promise I'll provide some in the next entry (which will be soon).

Today was a lovely day off (the second of two!), although we started early with research, we worked for only a couple of hours before coming back, getting townclothed, and finally departing. Townclothing means various degrees of updressing among the 8 of us. Dr. Wells wore the same clothes; Daliris went all-out with makeup, nice sandals, and straightened hair. I wore a clean t-shirt, a red bandana, jeans, and tevas. That's your fashion update.

We all hopped on the minibus to Küçük Sanayi, and from there got on the subway train going to the bazaar stop, which I can't spell or pronounce, but starts with an "S". (This is a self portrait on the subway.)

We walked up past the Mosque and the Koza Han (Silk Bazaar) to the busy street and caught a couple taxis, which took us up, up, up:

At the Teleferik, we paid 6 YTL apiece, and got into gondolas for a two-leg journey up the side of the Uludag mountain range.

This is a vertical map of the first half of the gondola ride.

Every time we went past a pylon (is that the word?), the car would sag a little bit, and 29 people (not me) would all say "Oh!" in a half-amazed, half-frightened way. Especially the parents of small children.

At the top, I first had a nap on some tall, round granite chunks:

Then I went on a walk and found a beautiful rock face:

at the foot of which was growing wild thyme (thus the title of the post). It was really delightful to be off by myself; the last month has had virtually no alone-time, and my batteries dearly needed recharging.

I climbed the face, and ate lunch on the top of it, looking at the cloud shadows run up the valley towards the big mountain. And after lunch, I had another nap (well, it is a day off), and fell asleep anchored to the rock face by the friction coefficient of the seat of my jeans (I tied my backpack off to a tree, just in case it wanted to roll down without me).

As I was in that delicious place between sleeping and wakefulness, I heard the drifting call of the muezzin from the small mosque near the gondola station. It edged the experience into the sublime.

After my nap, I went exploring. I can't record the smell of the pine forest or the feel of loam under my bare feet (it's not really socially acceptable here to be barefoot, so it's been over a month since my soles have felt anything other than tile and carpet)...but I found many plants that made it to California and are now common as weeds (literal, and both parsings of that sentence).

I found a rock, split, near the remains of an old camp fire. The rock was yellowed and old on the outside (granite) but the crack was nearly pure white in comparison. Using spit, then water, and the powdered charred wood, I made the outside of the rock black, to contrast more with the inside.

It's not an Andy Goldsworthy. But it was fun, and I haven't played outside in a really long time. Unfortunately, I did wear a really painful hole in my finger, and didn't notice until I washed off my hand:

But it was worth it. On the way back, we took a group picture:

And pictures of the mountain on the way back down. Back to the dorm, I stopped in the bazaar to buy gifts, but of course I can't tell you on here what they are. All I'll say is that Chaponica, Quill, Kaleen, Dan, Dad, and Sophia lucked out. The rest of you either have gifts already bought, or have rolled a loss on the gift toss. Sorry about that.

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