Day 7: St. John’s Tomb

I woke up pretty early today, just in time for Fajr. The masjid was only one or two minutes from the hotel on the scooter and its entrance was situated in front of a graveyard. I don’t know if that’s how it was designed, but it was sort of nice to visit the graves unintentionally before and after Fajr salat.

The weather was so crisp, I took the scooter out to explore the city a little. The ‘poor’ sections of the city were easy to find, they were just over the next hill and at elevated portions of the city. The people were loading in to what appeared to be farm trucks, and later I found out that the bread we eat fresh in Ephesus was made right here in this section of the city while everyone is sleeping.

After I took my ‘reality check’ spin of the city I headed towards the castle. Apparently, the castle isn’t the main attraction. In the castle itself there is a church, and underneath the church is where they say the Prophet Yahya (as) (John), is buried. They call it St. John’s church… for good reason.

I twa 5 liras to get in to see the castle and the church and what not, but it all didn’t seem appealing at all. The day before I saw ancient ruins of the Romans, and this seemed, boring at best. Besides, the Syrian’s say Yahya is buried there too. Who knows where he is buried, and more importantly how does it impact my spirituality? It doesn’t. So I headed off.

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View from St. John’s

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Entrance to the castle

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The best part about going to St. John’s was when I met some elderly German ladies. They came up to me asking about the adhan because they heard three airing at the same time which confused them. I explained it to them a little and then we talked about Islam a bit.

That wasn’t the highlight. As we were talking they were asking me questions, which I couldn’t understand through their limited English.

So instead, I asked them to say it in Deuthsche (German). I took three years in high school, and I felt I remember SOME of it, and lo and behold I did! I remembered several keywords and they started coaching me through some grammar and helped me with my vocabulary, but we ended up having a great conversation. We talked about Islam, the German perspective of WWI and WWII, 9/11, and George Bush (I learned some insults while talking about him).

Interesting note: They didn’t feel WWI was their fault, in fact they feel they were the good guys and we were the bad guys! Weird!

I spent too long with the Germans and had to rush to the otogart. A common theme in all my travels is rush rush rush. Catching a flight is rush rush. Catching a bus is rush rush. Catching a car is rush rush.

I caught the bus for 13:00 (everything is in 24hr time), jumped on the bus which was late and waiting on me, and settled in for the two hour ride to Denizli.

Note to all: Bathrooms in many places around Turkey are not free. You have to pay.

As I stepped out ouf the bus in Denizli, I was greeted by Mehmet. He was trying to convince people to take his bus to Pamukalle, my destination. Nice guy. Asked him how to get to my hotel (Venus Hotel or Melrose Allagua Hotel) and we have the following dialogue which I shall narrarate Mafia Style (I’m feeling really good today):

Me: Eh, how zoo I get to Venus hotel? (with a shrug)
Turk: Why you wanna go to zat hotel? Goto zee Melrose Hotel.
Me: No, no, I don’t likey that hotel… i vanna goto zee Venus Hotel.
Turk: Why you wanna zoo that?
Me: They got wireless internet … Melrose don’t got it.
Turk: Melrose do got it!
Me: No they don’t. You know ver zee Venus is or what?
Turk: I’m telling you they got wireless internet.
Me: Ok. I saw on internet they don’t have it. What makesa you zink they do? Uh?
Turk: My family owns the damn place! I put it in maself!
Me: The hotels good uh?
Turk: It’s so good you’ll like it. Ifa you don’ta I takea you to venus.
Me: Ok.

Me and him had another conversation on the bus ride there. Very nice guy. We talked about Islam, his english was pretty decent for a Turk in a remote part of the country. We both agreed on how Istanbul wasn’t the best of place among many things.

We got to the hotel and…

… it is PHAN-TAASTIC (with a pakistani accent) . The BEST hotel yet. A TUB!!! I have a TUB!! A beautiful view, great decor on the inside, clean bed, HOT water, heater that really works well, top floor, big room and more. Check out pics below.

It was too late to do anything when I settled in, and the village here gets really dark at night, and there is nothing to do during the low season. The pool is even dried up.

What am I doing here? The travertine’s of course! I took a stroll outside to look around and grab a bite to eat. Along the way I saw one Turk punch another guy, he yelled some stuff, and then ran off. I turned around and minded my own business. The way the people reacted here made it seem like this was normal or expected. I get the feeling everyone here knows one another. After all the village is about three or four miles long at best.

The town by the way is DEAD. It’s only me, a New Zealand couple, and a Turk/Italian couple in the hotel. The city pretty much shuts down during the off-peak season. The place is FILLED with bars EVERYWHERE. It’s gross. Went towards masjid, it was locked, did salat outside.

Grabbed some food at a restraunt… kabobs, rice, tomato soup and bread. It was edible. Just edible. Place was filled with flies.

About to watch an episode of the Justice League with my favorite Turkish cookies and hit the sack.

Tomorrow: Traverntines, Hierapolis, and then bus to Fethiye/Oludeniz.

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