Magical Lands of Turkey

Stunning mountain seen out the plane window on the approach to Kayseri, Turkey

The comedian Louis C.K. has a funny sketch in which he talks about how “everything is amazing and nobody is happy.” He uses airplanes as an example.  He talks about how people complain about delays and silly issues like leg room, but they don’t take the time to stop and realize how incredible it is to sit in a chair in the sky and fly like a bird. We often don’t think about how in a few hours we can now cross continents that used to take people years to get through.

View from the deck outside my hotel room

Today, as I flew through the air from Kyiv to Istanbul, and then Istanbul to Kayseri, I was truly amazed by the miracle of flight.  In between, I will admit that I had some other feelings: exhausted carrying my heavy backpack, confused by the process of getting a Turkish visa for my passport, and a little annoyed when my second flight didn’t have a movie. Despite these grumblings, it was all worth it.  Looking out the plane window, I was in awe at the landscape of Turkey.  I saw farmland, oceans, islands, rivers, mountains of every shape and size, valleys, and more. Then, after an hour of additional driving, I arrived in Goreme, in the center of the Cappadocia region.  The landscape is breathtaking.  See for yourself:

Students: I’ve been realizing how much I’m using other kinds of learning to get by on this trip.  See if you can help me solve some of these mysteries using skills from your various classes:

1. Math: In the taxi from my hotel in Kyiv to the airport, my taxi driver got up to 130 kilometers per hour. And there were no seat belts in the back! How fast is this in miles per hour?

2. Science: If you were to create a topographic map of the Cappadocia region, what interval would you use for the contour lines?  What’s the highest elevation is in the area? Are my sneakers enough for hiking around here? I didn’t bring boots.

3. English Language Arts: I have to write a letter to a principal in Istanbul to try to convince them to let me visit their school this coming week. What should I use for my hook and/or topic sentence?

4. Math: It will cost about 35 Turkish Lira to do a load of laundry.  Is that worth it? Or should I wear dirty clothes this week?

5. Language: Help me figure out some basics.  How do I say “thank you” “good morning” and “excuse me” in Turkish?

6. Social Studies: I know that most people in Turkey are Muslim. Will I offend people if I wear short sleeves? What about a tank top?

7. Science: I’ve caught a glimpse of the bizarre rock formations in Goreme National Park. How did they form?

Can any students out there help me with these? I don’t have time to do all this research on my own and your skills would be much appreciated.

Categories: Global Citizenship, Turkey

Tagged as: ,

18 replies »

  1. Answer to Q 5: Thank you is teşekkür ederim in Turkish, good morning is sabah iyi, excuse me is afedersiniz 🙂

  2. I found a website on Turkish etiquette. I pasted some useful info. The website is Hope this helps!

    1. Dress Attire in Turkey
    DO dress conservatively for business occasions. A suit and tie will do. In cities like Istanbul where the summers get really hot, it is usually acceptable to not wear a tie.
    DO wear more conservative clothing outside of large cities, but shorts and short sleeves are still acceptable.
    2. Table Manners in Turkey
    DO eat everything on your plate. Some Turkish hosts might be offended if you don’t.
    DO put your knife and fork side-by-side on your plate to indicate you are done.
    DON’T use your left hand when dining. The left hand is considered unclean.
    DO be aware that smoking while eating is common and you probably shouldn’t request that your dining partners stop.
    DO pay for the meal if you initiated the invitation. Splitting the bill is not traditionally done in Turkey.
    DO reciprocate if someone invited you out for a meal. Invite them out to a meal in return before you leave Turkey.
    3. Tipping in Turkey
    DO leave a modest tip at a restaurant. Tips aren’t expected, but they are appreciated. In fancy restaurants, you may leave a 10%-15% tip.
    DO round the fare up instead of tipping a taxi driver. For instance, if the fare is YTL 5.7, round it up to YTL 6.
    DO tip hotel porters 50 cents to a dollar a bag.
    . Body Gestures in Turkey
    DON’T stand with your hands on your hips or in your pockets.
    DO be aware that in more rural areas where people are more conservative, men and women are expected not to touch. Even shaking hands can be taboo.
    DO understand that “Yes” is a nod of the head going downward and “No” is a nod of the head going up, along with a sucking sound made between your two front teeth.
    DON’T point at someone with your finger.
    DO keep your feet flat on the ground when sitting. Showing the bottoms of your feet is considered insulting in Turkey.
    DON’T make the “OK” sign with your hand. It’s a rude gesture in Turkey.
    DON’T put your thumb between your index and middle finger. It’s also a vulgar gesture.
    Visitors Etiquette in Turkey
    DO be punctual when invited to a dinner party.
    DO bring the host a gift.

    For a load of laundry it costs $19.87. That sounds pretty expensive to me.I don’t know though.
    Also you were going 80.7782 miles per hour! Without a seat belt!

    Turkish words: (I thought you might need some of these)
    Hello- merhaba
    Goodbye- elveda
    Thank you- teşekkür ederim
    Please- lütfen
    Wow- vay
    Excuse me- afedersiniz
    Where is…-nerede…

    Are you traveling alone?
    It looks like you are having a great trip 🙂 :D.
    I hope this answered some of your questions.

    • Thanks, Sophia! This is VERY helpful! Yes, I am traveling alone for this section of the trip. But I am meeting nice people. Today, I spent time with people from China, Japan, Australia, Canada, and Brazil. There are travelers here from all over!

    • Sophia, Thanks for doing research about how to be a courteous visitor to Turkey. When I first read Ms. Krakauer’s post and your reply, I enjoyed learning about Turkey, but I didn’t know I would get to go there myself. Now I am rereading all of the posts about Turkey to be prepared for my visit this summer. My best to you.

  3. The one thing of use I forgot to tell you is that often when Turks mean “no,” they will often tilt up their chin (as if nodding once) and make a sound with their teeth like, “Tch.” It confused me every time. Looking forward to catching up on your travels through this marvelous blog.

  4. Okay, first Ms. Krakauer, are we allowed to answer a question that someone already answered? Or should we just answer the question(s) that are left?
    I just answered the questions that haven’t been answered yet.

    Based on your pictures and your description, it looks like the Cappadocia Region has a lot of highland.
    The interval that I would use is probably every 1,000 meters.
    (ex. o m, 1,000 m, 2,000 m, 3,000 m, 4,000 m, etc.)
    The highest elevation in Turkey is Mt. Ararat (5,166 m), so I’m not sure if you’re sneakers will be enough. Just to be safe, you should probably some boots. Here’s the money key:
    1 USA dollar = 1.76515 Turkish money (Lira, I think)

    Sources for #2:

    (Please Note: all of the examples are AFTER the “Dear ____” part.)

    You could use:

    – “I know Turkey has many travelers, but not many of those travelers visit Turkish schools.”
    – “I am a Social Studies teacher willing to visit your school, and learn more about what it’s like there.”
    – “Have you ever had an American Social Studies teacher visit your school?”
    – “Recently, I have just left Ukraine. During my stay there, I visited a Ukrainian school, and I learned a lot about it.
    Now I am in Turkey, and I would like to visit a Turkish school to learn what Turkish schools are like. I was wondering if I could visit yours.”

    The crazy rock formations that you saw in Turkey most likely formed by Weathering and Erosion.
    Weathering is when precipitation or other kinds of weather like rain, for example, weather away rocks. As a result, the rock either breaks apart, and/or it changes in to a different shape. For example, if a rock has a small crack in it, and it rains during the night, then the water would freeze in the low temperatures at night, causing the rock’s crack to grow bigger! If this continues, then eventually (over hundreds, thousands, or millions of years, depends on the rock’s size) the rock will break down, or apart.
    Erosion is when things in Nature like wind, carry away the bits and pieces of rock that Weathering has already done. For example, if Weathering has already weathered away the top of a rock, then Erosion would kick in, and (in this case, using wind), carry away the tiny pieces of rock that’s left there.
    When these two forces work together, they can create beautiful or crazy rock formations that tourists from around the world can enjoy.

    Some examples of famous rock formations based on Weathering and Erosion are:
    – The Grand Canyon
    – Wave Rock
    – Queen’s Head
    – Flowerpot Rocks

    Sources for #7:

    P.S. I think your hotel looks super cool!

  5. Ok, I’ll do the best I can. Here we go!

    1.) 78 mph, since you multiply by 3 and divide by 5, so 130 km=78 mph
    “excuse me” in turkey= afedersiniz, pronounced: a-fer-der-sinz
    “good afternoon”= iyi akşamlar (iy-ak-sham-lar)
    “good night”= iyi geceler (iy-shiz-e-ler)
    “good morning”= sabah iyi (saabah-yi)
    “hello”=merhaba (mer-haa-ba)
    “good bye”= elveda (el-ved-ar)
    “thank you”= teşekkür ederim (ta-share-tu-da-ditor…i’m not sure though)
    “ok”= tamam (tah-mom)
    “yes”= evet (ev-ett)
    “no”= yok (yoke)
    “where is the hotel?”= otel nerede (o-tell-ner-e-day)
    “that’s cool”= çok klas (choke-class)
    “where is the market”=Çarşı nerede (carsh-sin-ere-day)
    “I’m sara krakauer, nice to meet you”= Ben sara Krakauer değilim, seninle tanışmak güzel (ben-sara-krakauer-dehelium-senil-trans-muck-gu-zel)

    Credit goes to google translate.

    I’m glad to help, have a safe and fun trip! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. more language:
    “no thanks’= hayır, teşekkürler (hi-er-ta-shi-too-lar)
    “what?”= “ne?” (n-eh)
    “my hotel is….”= “Benim bir oteldir ..” (ben-im-bil-o-tall-dare, said fast and almost unclear)
    “good day”= iyi günler (ee-gun-ar)
    “how much does this cost”= “Bu ne kadar maliyeti nedir” (boo-nee-ka-dar-MALI-yet-ee-ned-a)

    Like I said before, i’m happy to help any time! I used google translate.

    🙂 🙂 🙂 Have a fun, educational, and safe rest of your trip!

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