Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Rock Climbing at Karakaya
I know... it's what you all have been dying to hear about. Well, it took me 5 days of being here to find the climbing gym and 7 days to find the nearest rock climbing area: Karakaya. Karakaya is 1 1/2 hours west of Ankara. It's basically a hunk of granite protruding from the high desert. It's a semi-developed sport climbing area, with a little bit of traditional crack climbing. I was able to sneak away from an orientation day and climb with a fellow teacher from New Zealand, his Japanese wife, and their 9 month old son, Kenji. We took turns climbing, belaying, and watching Kenji (which means "Spirit" in Japanese). Even though we climbed in shady spots, we somehow still got sunburned, and were ridiculously dehydrated the next day. There were a handful of Turkish rock climbers there, and I had one of my first proud moments of understanding Turkish when I overheard a couple of them checking out a route, and saying "Cok guzel" which is pronounced choke goozel, meaning, "It's very nice." Five times a day, the Muslim "Call to Prayer" plays over a crackly loudspeaker in any area near a mosque. I heard the call to prayer when I was in Ulus, and here, the little town of Karakay played their Call to Prayer a couple times throughout the day. The town was very quiet except for this song invitation for all to come to the mosque to pray. It was a neat way to be reminded while doing something very familiar that I am in a very different place.
I can't wait to go back when it cools down a little.