Oh, my poor throat! I finally did step into a hospital, Haseki Hospital, at 6:30 AM, having woken up at 3 AM to a throat that refused to even swallow saliva. They say it gets better after the worst. I disagree. Bless the soul of the cabbie who offered to help us through the super-efficient, extremely clean and swift medical checkup process (well, government hospitals in India are not really a place you’d want to step in, so). But paranoia overtook me while we were on our way back to the hotel at 7, the Sun not having risen yet, and our cabbie driving us back through alleys and off the main road he’d driven by earlier – they obviously treasure their tourists considering my paranoia was unfounded. Surprisingly though, we couldn’t find any pharmacy or Eczane, as they call it, open at 7 in the morning – what happened to the 24X7 emergency medical access concept?
Well, plopping a few pills down my closed throat, we were on our way to Goreme village in Cappadocia, in Central Anatolia region. When I’d read about the landscape of Goreme village, words like psychedelic, otherworldly and mesmerizing, popped out – I couldn’t quite picture it because no matter how good a camera, what the eye sees, can’t be captured well enough. But as soon as we started on our way to Goreme from the Nevsehir airport, I knew we were in for a treat! Undulating landscapes, interspersed with small towns, pretty houses and wide, clean roads. Goreme was a village with a population of 2,000 and possibly as many tourists there! The village is placed smack in between the fairy chimney rock formations, houses, shops, restaurants, hotels all carved out of the same rocks – soft enough to be chiselled at but strong enough to live in. Go figure! The first question my mother posed to me after checking in to the hotel room was, “How long are we staying here?” I was taken aback and dished my usual sarcasm at her. It was only after we were back in India and discussing the highs and lows of the trip that she told me why she asked that question. As Indians, we’re so used to seeing people around us all the time that in my Mom’s words “when I barely saw a soul over the hour-long drive I wondered if you kids had made the right choice of location in a country we barely knew anything about.” And I thought I was paranoid.
Also, God bless medical science. I was able to slide rice and veggies down my throat by evening – pottery kebab style! ❤️ Turks and their soups are something of a tradition, so we figured why not. To our parents’ surprise and our dismay, the ‘lentil soup’ we’d ordered was basically, ‘ghar ki daal‘. Guess what was ordered with every meal for the next four days?