Thursday, August 7, 2008

Turkey - Day 7

Mevlana Museum and approaching Ankara

What’s the capital of Turkey? (Guess and don't peek yet)

If you say it’s Istanbul, you are wrong. Ankara IS the capital of Turkey. I don’t think anybody has heard of this city as well. Early morning, we started our excruciating 10 hour journey to Ankara. Here’s one question. We drifted in and out of sleep in the bus. Stopping once awhile for toilet break and last minute souvenier purchase.
Luckily, we stopped at another interesting place known as Mevlana Museum (left pix). For those that has heard about the whirling dervishes…you know where the men dressed in white with long hats and flowing robes whirling round and round in a dance-like motion. This is where the ritual originated. Mevlana was a Sufi. Sufi is generally an inner or mystical dimension of Islam.

Mevlana was burried here. Hundreds of visitors thronged the museum daily. Some as tourists. Some to pay respect to the famous Sufi.

We entered the hall displaying notes and models of the life led by a Sufi. To make things more understandable, I would regard Sufi like monks. Next, we entered the main hall where tombs of Mevlana, family members and high ranking Sufi were burried. Holy Quran was heard throughout the hall. One can see inscriptions of Quran on the walls and tombs. Photographs are strictly prohibited unfortunately. Then, we came to the actual tomb of Mevlana. It’s the largest and has a large green dome on top of it. The actual tomb was situated beneath it.

Further down, we saw Qurans displaying inside glass boxes. These are all the Qurans that were used by the Sufi. Interesting place to be as we won’t be seeing such museum back home.

Time to continue our boring road trip to Ankara. Stretches of fields were seen along the way. Drifting in and out of sleep again. It was night when we reached Ankara. We immediately checked in to a 5 star Radisson’s Hotel. Dinner was the hotel buffet and we were all too tired from the journey and sick of the usual bread and spaghetti servings. Seeing the food made me more sick. I took 2 slices of potato and drank plain water. By now, my taste buds has got accustomed to the weird taste of the plain water in Turkey.

The hotel was fully booked and we were all so tired wanting to drop into our beds. Since me and Su were the youngest in the group, rooms are given to the seniors first. We waited and waited. Getting more frustrated as its been an hour since dinner we still couldn’t get our room. Hotel’s guest relations tried to comfort us that the room will be ready soon. Asking we want some refreshments. We were too frustrated and tired that all we want is our room, shower and bed. Things are not looking good and not we expect from a 5 star hotel. We finally got our room. Thank goodness else we will start our explosion in the hotel lobby.

The room was nice but after looking a bit closer we discovered there are hair and dirt on the bed sheets. The floor in the bathroom also has what looks like some bodily “hair”. We discovered the bed sheets weren’t even changed! 5 star hotel..puhleeeze. We stomped downstairs ready to give an explosion. We demanded a room upgrade for causing us the grief and frustration. The girl from behind the counter tried to console us saying that Turkish men such as her father has hairy chest. Sometimes, during washing, the hair may still get stuck in the sheet. OH dear! This is even gross and funnier than we expected. Then Bayazid came and looked concerned. He kept apologizing and we were so much into getting our upgraded room but he spoilt it. He kept saying, the hotel cant upgrade the room but maybe giving us some refreshments. In the end, we got a new room but not an upgrade thanks to him.

Scarred by the previous experience, we quickly check the new room. It was fine but I discovered they did not completely restock the supplies in the bathroom. There we go again. Asking for soaps and shampoo from the cleaning boy. The hotel did a courtesy check and sent us some treats (Turkish delicacies and drinks).

To chill out from the night's drama, Su and I enjoyed the view from our balcony. We saw the only building shining bright up the hills. That's the Ataturk museum which we are going to visit tomorrow.

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