Wednesday, September 5, 2007

This was a more somber part of our trip. The skies appeared more cloudy than when it was raining a few days before in Hopa.

Eser seeked more waterfalls in an unquestionably arid area, AND SHE FOUND ONE!
The woman with the scythe was a bonus.
Also, because she was not black-cowled.

There were a lot of geese from Ardahan to Kars.

A young cow tried to join filly and mother but was not fast enough.

On the way from Kars to Dogubeyazit (The eastern route), this village was definitely out of place among the multitude of mud house villages. The colours of the buildings reminded us pleasently of the subarban Japanese family's neighborhood in the film " Survive Style 5+"

It is interesting that small towns built in lush valleys looked prosperous but the villages and the cities were very poor.

Ishak Pasha Palace is a unique structure not necessarily only in architectural terms. It is also the only palace of the ottoman times which was not built by a Sultan (Emperor). And obvious to everyone else almost immediately expropriated by the Sultan.

Ishak Pasha must have stayed oblivious before and after the executioner's visit.

We gave presents to over 150 children in eight villages and some books to the village school.

We were very worried because of the ominous clouds which covered mount Ararat (Agri ). We also followed the warnings of the commander of a military check-point not to stray off the main roads.

Dogubeyazit is inundated by 8-14 year old boys selling simple plastic bead necklaces and polishing shoes. Valid, one 9 year old shoe polisher ( also a good singer), played the saz and looked after 4 siblings. He had a beatiful smile and a great deal of dignity. Unfortunately, his photo got erased together with a photo of a man we unanimously decided was the last KGB spy, forgotten in Dogubeyazit.

The Ani ruins took over two ours to cover. There was a mish mash of Armenian, Seljuki Turkish and Georgian structures.

You did not get a feeling that if you dug down a little you would discover treasure as in the mediterranean archeological sites.

Therefore, it was proper for Eser to pose as, " Eser, the Lady of Ayaspasa, looking at absolutely nothing" an imitation of the 1930's Dali painting.

The one bright spot of Kars was our very tastefully restored and furnished boutique hotel. So we had all our dinners there as well as the included breakfasts.