Day 24, June 23, Monday
(DAVE) After breakfast, we headed off for our Gallipoli tour. T.J. was our tour guide. I honestly thought he was gay at first, but in the end, it was simply that he had a really COOL Australian accent. We took a ferry from Cannakale to the Gallipolian peninsula, and then a bus over to the west coast of the peninsula. We first went to the main monument near Anzac (an acronym standing for: Australian New Zealand Army Corps) Bay. And then on to various cemeteries (COOL, Aye!) and monuments commemorating what happened there 82 years ago. (April 25th and August 8th and 9th of 1915 to be exact.)
the New Zealanders about 2,300 and the Turks 82,000 (250,000 unofficially) in nine months of fighting at Gallipoli. It was a tremendous experience to be walking the same fields and hills where so many men gave their lives. It seemed all so senseless - many of the men did not even know what they were fighting for. The COOLEST (AYYE!) experience was walking through the trenches and seeing the storage tunnels of the Anzacs and Turks.
We were all, of course, looking meticulously on the ground for shrapnel and other artifacts of yester year. Matt got a piece of shrapnel, Sam a can-opener sort-of-thing, Greg a piece of shrapnel and a grenade detonator capsule - I got a rock. Oh well. A bus ride - a ferry ride back to Cannakale and we were back to playing ping-pong - Sam beat me. Now Matt will tell you - the reader - about our evening trip to Troy...
(Matt) We got back to Cannakale and were pretty tired, but after a soda to refresh some of us, ping-pong for others and a look at a pretty girl for me, we were energized and ready to sack the city.
T.J. (our Gallipoli tour guide) had grown on us and by now we all liked him and his goofy antics. However, it turned out that his girlfriend (from the land of Oz) would be our leader in training, with T.J. in the side bleachers. Joe, the most excited about seeing the city in the first place, was disappointed by the little that remained. I had, on the other hand, read Let's Go in preparation for the ruins and was pleased to find that they had understated them a bit.
"B," the tour guidess, was pretty good. She re-told the Illiad story and with visual aids to boot. The city was pretty much unexcavated. H. Schliemann, a rich German dude, decided to turn archeologist. He staked out the most promising spot according to Homer's writing and started digging. Actually before he came he contacted the Greek government and told them he'd find it and pay for it himself on some conditions; he wanted a Greek goddess, she had to be a linguist and be able to recite Homer. Fortunately they found him a woman, or should I say girl (she was only 17 and he was a mere 45.) He wedded her and came to dig. He was a fortunate fella to say the least. He dug a 10 meter wide hole on a hill and hit ruins (to the astonishment of real archeologists.) Not only did he hit ruins, but (to our astonishment) he hit the treasury of Troy. What a guy!! His deal with Greece was to give them 1/2 of whatever he found. He was a bit greedy so he snuck the treasure out before he told anyone that he found Troy.
The city, "B" said that they said (they being them in the know) it was really 9 Troy's. We were confused - 9 cities on the same spot? Couldn't they have just renovated now and then? She said, "Well, basically, she didn't know either." However, "they" insist that the city was destroyed time and again and rebuilt new. They still have alot of digging to do before the city is uncovered. All in all, it was pretty dang small for the mighty city of Troy I had imagined.
We left and T.J. & B took us to a nice Turkish restaurant where we all had Turkish pizza and Fanta. It was good if you liked scrambled eggs on pizza but it was a bit bland even with the Turkish version of Pizza Hut peppers covering it. At dinner, we heard B gossiping about Osmond (the owner of the Yellow Rose Pension that we'd stayed in) and how "Down Under" was T.J.'s business not Osmond's and T.J.'s like we'd thought. Whatever. We drove back to the Yellow Rose to hang out till 1:15 am (when our bus left.)
Since Turkey was my job and I wanted maximum exposure (so to speak) to Turkish culture, I found a local "Bath" (hamman) for us to visit while we waited for our bus. (It was 10:30pm). T.J., now a prince among men to us, walked us over to the baths just to be nice. He also said if we ever come back we could stay at his flat for free.
He took us in and left us in the hands of the bathers - literally. We disrobed in our own little rooms, gave the keys to Dave (who thought better of stripping naked and being rubbed down by a hairy Turkish guy) and fearless as anyone could be in those circumstances, walked into the steam room. (We each wore a towl around our... well, you know where we wore it.) We went to the commode-shaped things around the edge and I figured this is what you wash yourself in.
Fortunately, I later learned that I was right. So we soaked ourselves and spread out, laying down on the circular altar like thing in the middle. It was really hot and we were sweating like mad.
(Chris) Then in came THE BATH HOUSE GUY. He sat me down next to one of the mini-tubs and began splashing me with hot water, Suddenly there was soap. I don't know where the soap came from - I never saw it even when he was working on the other guys. Perhaps he just shot it out of his fingers. Nevertheless, he worked up a huge lather on my head and then worked his way down my arms and legs and rinsed me off.
Next he put on this big Brillo pad mitt and began scraping it over all my skin. Since I had just passed from the PAIN STAGE to the WET PEAL stage of my Tel Aviv sunburn, I wasn't quite up for this. Some of the pain returned because you're not supposed to peal until the DRY PEAL stage of a sunburn (approx 6 days after exposure.) He took off ALOT of skin with that blue mitt and seemed quite pleased at that. One more rinse and he slugged me on the back and sent me to the hot rock.
The other guys who had had quite a laugh watching me, were done in order next and were surprised at how much skin they lost too. The guy had to take a break before tackling a man called THE BODY. Once we were all sprawled out on the hot rock, it was time for the next stage.
(Matt) Fortunately, he kept the same order so we got to watch Chris get "the treatment" before we did. He produced soap again and really rubbed it in. I guess it was kind of a massage/soap up. Anyways, the soap gave the massage lubrication so it was quite fun.
First he did his front all the way from neck to toes (thankfully skipping the part with the towl), then slapped his belly with a loud bang and yelled TURN (in barely recognizable Turkish accent.) Then, the back. From neck to feet including arms down to the toes. Then came the good part. he stood up, kicked off his flip-flops and picked Chris' feet up, then stood on the back of his thighs. Then, to our astonishment, hooked Chris' feet in front of his knee, then leaned over him, yanked Chris' arms across his back, then put his weight on his own knees which put it on Chris' feet which arched Chris' hips way up. (I think it was supposed to crack his hips.)
Then he did it again, now pushing his arms up so his back and hips were all arched then to top it off, he put his head in the back of his neck and did the same. Chris was yelling out - we were laughing really hard. (I've never seen Soos laugh that hard in my entire life.) Then the Turk hopped off, motioned Chris back to the commode and splashed him again, then showed him the towl and walked out.
This cycle happened for all of us in turn. It really didn't take that long. I cracked
pretty good but he didn't let up; he kept arching me till I was yelling and laughing
pretty loud. He was a good bather, I guess. We all had fun and felt sanded, washed, and
cracked to perfection. We then went to our little rooms, laid on our little beds, and
rested a bit. We found out talking to the workers that the bath was 300 years old and
heated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by a huge wood stove.