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TURKEY
These pages document my time spent flying balloons in Kapadokya . . .
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Chapter 13
Another Flight - Another House
I got another chance to fly yesterday, so I'm averaging just over one flight a week. Take my salary and on a per flight basis, I'm doing pretty good. I'm sure, once spring gets here we'll be flying pretty much everyday though. I didn't bring my camera this time, because I wanted to concentrate on flying the balloon. We had both balloons out this morning, Sancho with 20 passengers in the 400 and I had only 10 passengers in the 315. It wasn't even 25 degrees outside and I've only got 10 people on board! I didn't think I'd ever get the thing back on the ground! It was almost airborne before it ever came out of the bag! Once again, the weather was great. When the flying is good here, it is really good. You can fly almost all day long. Not like Teton Valley, where the wind picks up significantly in the afternoon, here, from what I've seen so far, if it's calm enough to fly, it stays that way. We started out going the usual (for me anyway, after only two previous flights) direction toward Red Valley. However, after crossing the first ridge east of our launch site and dipping into the valley, the wind was going in a direction away from all the sights. As we came down the back side of the ridge into the valley, there was this large opening that we could see into. The opening was large enough (and on the east side, so the sun was shining right in) that the paintings on the walls were very clear and easy to see. I got my first look at some real frescoes! I wish I had brought my camera with me, but since I didn't, I will post the Google Earth image of the flight path and link to the Google Earth file only. Also, on the way back to Uçhisar from the landing spot, I saw my first bird of prey. Looked like a Red Tail Hawk. If we were back in Teton Valley, I'd positively say it was, but I'm not sure if that's exactly what it was here. Very similar and certainly had a red tail! I really haven't talked much about the wild life here, maybe because compared to Teton Valley there really isn't much. Lot's of fox (we saw one on our last flight) and of course rabbit. Some deer, but not really here where we fly, more to the north. There are asian black bear in Turkey, but not around here. They do have wild boar also, and that is the most popular hunting here (the bear are protected) . Most of the birds I've seen are magpies, (kind of makes me feel at home) a lot of pigeons, and some sort of wren or small songbird of some type.
Google Earth image of flight path
The bigger news of the day is that Sancho and I moved into a different house! We complained enough that the boss found us another place to live. One of the passengers I flew on the 9th is a local businessman (click here for a photo of him and I) that owns several houses here in Uçhisar and rents them like a hotel. He gave the boss a deal on a two bedroom, two bath house. We went to look at it the night before last and then last night moved in. This house has central heating (still powered by coal, but no soba!) and real hot water . All the time, not just when the sun shines. It is on the east side of the castle and has an excellent view of Red Valley and Pigeon Valley (as well as Mt. Erciyes) . It even has a dishwasher and maid service twice a week! There is a patio off of the dining room with a fireplace to use as a bbq and below that a fairly private courtyard. It is costing both Sancho and I 125 Euros a month (deducted from our salary) , but for me... it's worth it to have hot water and a warm room. Not to mention having someone come in and clean twice a week. It is a really nice place built into the side of the hill, so it's almost a cave house. It's all stone and very traditional. The bedrooms are kind of small, but it's a hotel and we have a nice dining room and kitchen. Did I mention hot water ?
I took lots of photo's of the place, so Joanne could see what she's in for when she comes over in March. For a tour of the house, click here.
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