About Nomi

"I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few times since then." -Alice in Wonderland

A day betwixt ruins

You could imagine Hieropolis perfectly.

The moon is full, the tombs and stones either recently hewn from the mountains, or old enough to hold layers of moss and several cracks and chips. A few of the oldest tombs were eerily empty, with spooky dark openings, raided a hundred or so years ago for the riches held within the curse-bound sarcophagi. Trees of a few types, maybe olives, swayed in the dark breeze.  A crow cackled, the rock carvings glistened dully or spread murky shadows. Hundreds of tombs scattered across the hill, some lonely, some with company, with their chiselled inscriptions in Greek confusion,  bearing secrets of people and riches.

Now in 2012, it’s a little different in parts. All the tombs are old and cracked, chipped and mossified. Now all the tombs are empty, big cracked openings showing where the daring thieves hacked it open, not afraid of the possible chances of being cursed for stealing the deceased’s goods within. Trees are still there, the olives the only ones still from the graveyard’s heyday. Crows and birds still cackled and popped, the rock carved in now dull, once-beautiful, ancient carvings still give wonderful stories with their detail or colours. Instead of a few hundred, 1,200 empty little buildings and boxes serving for the dead are clumped instead of scattered across the hill. Greek words, though the tablets and stones are faded and broken, are still there. Everything still bears secrets, although they may be more mystical, imaginary ones.

And the town of Hieropolis could be easily envisaged in its glory day as well. Tall fat towers, the olive oil grinders pounding and twisting away to create their famous oil, arches in fine ivory stone arcing away above the heads of busy or lazy citizens and travellers. Grooves created by a travel of chariots going to and from the city make it obvious as to where to avoid placing your toes. Shadows created life. Water flashed up high and wide and glorious in the fountain. Simply beautiful pillars and columns, mainly Iconic and Corinthian, held up the roofs over the public bathrooms and other places. People talked, people laughed, kids ran, all ages played Backgammon, women sat and weaved baskets or helped the men with the olive oil making.

Life and work and love and life again. The whole place, though it’s now in ruin, shines of the three words. I love how Hieropolis is so glorious even though it hangs in ruins. It used to be, but it still is, even if it is a little different to what is used to be. If I closed my eyes and fingered a column head or a wall or pillar, I could imagine the feeling of it all when it was alive. Like what I wrote above. (of course, one feels really ridiculous when you have your eyes shut and your just standing there. But! Ah-hah! That’s why I wear sunnies!! Heeheehee)

One of my main highlights of the place were the beautiful columns, (does anyone else here ever say it as it’s spelled??). This is the first place I’ve seen incredibly intact column capitols (capitols are the top piece) –Iconic (the ones with scroll or ram-horn carvings at each corner), Corinthian (the acanthus leaf (Greek plant) floral carvings) and the Domitian (which are simply the plain pillars with no decorative capitol). Columns are separated by their capitol, not the body. Like I said before, there were mainly Iconic and Corinthian, which of course are my most favourites out of the three –as you probably could have guessed. To think that they’ve survived soooooo looong in such awesome condition! (Granted, some conditions are better (much better) than others, but who counts the details??)  Many photos and hopeful sketches to be done there.

From the main square we could see the hill where Saint Phillip was crucified; upside-down on the cross because he didn’t want to die just as Christ had. We could see the very hill –imagine that day! We could see the theatre for the town, mostly encrusted rubble and grass, but on the faint road to recovery. And not far from the boundaries of the city of Hieropolis stretches the Teratines, a small valley full of calcium carbonate. Nowadays this place is titled Pamukkale. Both plateaus are jotting and jutting out and everywhere. It looked like snow (not that I’d know anything about such stuff) but it was not at all cold so… scratch that example off the blog post. It was very beautiful countryside.

Then to top my day dad, Josh, Jess and I went and saw a gooooorrgeous Roman theatre. It was slightly marred by the reconstruction poles behind the stage, but it actually added a rather out-of-place comical look, if you looked at it right. It was probably medium-large in the status of Greeco-Roman/Roman theatres, and it was absolutely in wonderful shape and condition. Behind the stage was probably a little plainer than the one at Aspendos but it was still an ivory splendour. I really loved it.

(Of course) LOTS of photos were taken there with the energetic crew. Lots of booing at the performance, lots of smiles and poses, and as a Must Have: plenty of Toyota Jump photos. I’m really enjoying the theatres we see on this trip. And it makes it awesomer to be on it with a great guide, bus driver, bus and family. That of course helps. 😉

Roman Drama

It’s one of the best preserved Roman theatres in the world.

Built for holding 15,000 people, designed  for best acoustics, windows serving as thrones for the gods, detailed carvings, tall pillars… and to top it all off; Bacchus, the god of merriment, guardian over the stage and audience watching from his etched place higher than everything else.

We could see that this definitely is… what it used to be. I’ll admit to you that it wasn’t as grand as the what you just read. But I’d say that it is now grand in a different way. Definitely not the type of awe-striking wonder that the creators had originally anticipated, now all cracked and crumbled, but certainly an awe-striking beauty in another way to us today.

Yesterday we went to see the Amphitheatre at Aspensos near Antalya. It was the most complete ruin I have seen all trip, although some of it had been modified at added too over the two thousand years since its creation.

It is in such healthy condition that it is still used today for the same purposes it was used for aaallll those years ago –drama productions. There were several people dotted around in costumes –I spotted two maidens (one dressed as a milkmaid and the other like a goddess) and a Roman soldier. I’m not sure about the maidens but the soldier was meandering around the place taking photo shoots with random tourists and another of his mates with a professional camera. Another lady was going around with a snazzy camera and was snapping away like crazy the whole time. I saw her taking several photos of me against an arched column as I took some photos of my own from the high view, and, of course, I didn’t have a problem with that and even pulled a pose for her –because we all know how fun it is to pull poses for a stranger with a smart looking camera. I think she then caught on straight away that I was happy posing in front of a camera and so she asked Jess and I later on if she could get some more photos of us by the archways overlooking the theatre. Of course, we said yes, and she even gave me a crown of purple flowers to wear! That was pretty special. *sheepish grin* The gladiator obviously only went for photos with the cool and good-looking ones, for he stopped Jess and I on our way out for some photos. Jess smoothly and swiftly managed to abandon me before it even started, so I was left on my own to smile with a creepy-looking guy in armour.  But at least I was able to feign running him through with his sword –that one was alright. Take that Mr Eerie.

Unfortunately we were running out of time and patience and so had to skip getting the photos on the way out –but maybe I can find them on their website.

We have a fantastic guide whose information seriously seems to know no bounds. I envy her constant knowledge on everything, until I remember that she’s had about twenty years between uni, training and then experience. I guess that explains heaps. She’s teaching me a little Turkish, she’s a great teacher, but her teasing is harsh! I think she’s figured out that if she teases me on my flops I’ll fire up and fight with the zing of injured pride… hahaha a good way to learn a language. Last night I surprised her when I said something out of the blue in Turkish; her praise is worth it. When I get back to Kununurra I think I’ll have several words and phrases down pat!

To imagine the theatre as it used to be painted a beautiful, unexplainable picture in my head. But I could see it happening. I like it when imagination does that. Restore the broken pillars, remove the twenty-first-century tourists, the weeds and false wooden stage, re-carve the seats to their former glory, and add some actors to the stage (with convincing armour, please), then envisage the people, of all ranks and statuses and imagine the right sounds and noises –everything seemed so real. It was a wonderful ruin; my favourite part would be the wall behind the stage with the columns and beautiful carvings.

Besides everyone pouring sweat like it was Kununurra’s November, and the slightly-intimidating stalker in armour, it was a really, really interesting time.

 

In Singapore

We are now currently alive. So, so far so good.

AND WE ACTUALLY DID MAKE IT TO SINGAPORE!!

It was a great time, although we were all slightly crook in the head (some much more than others) and of course four out of five of us had never been out of Australia, and only one of the six of us actually had done this sort of thing a hundred times, so- thank goodness for you Dad.

Singapore was absolutely lovely, it was really enjoyable and the people there were either a) friendly or b) very friendly. What I found made it so enjoyable was a) it was all so clean!! You could see an occasional cleaner here and there but other than them you had to wonder how nearly every corner and pavement knew no litter or rubbish. The gardens all over the city were well groomed and colourful. Colour was everywhere, even at night it was not at all dull. I thought during our departure from Darwin that Darwin was bright with lights at night. But Singapore overshone Darwin on that score by far (excuse the pun). I mean, check it out! No joke when I say Singaporians even have lights on their kites!!

Singapore highlight for me: the Singapore Zoo

Singapore ‘lowlight’ for me: Forgetting my passport in the airport bathrooms –whaaat a waaay to start your first overseas adventure. Bleghgkk. (And I now thoroughly believe that waiting until your way, way older until you have your first heart attack is much better than having it young.)

But, I totally  don’t want to talk about that, so lets stick with the Zoo part. ‘Cause everyone loves the Zoo. We did.

My three favourite animals that I saw in the whooooole Zoo I think would be the otters, the white tiger, and the chimps. The otters were so wonderful and adorable; they loved the attention and were continually doing backflips into the water just for the gathered audience. They were the cutest ever –I’ve loved otters for ages (when I was little my friends and I would pretend to be otters when we went to the pool) but I had never actually seen one real. I ended up just sticking with taking a few recordings of them because they moved so fast and I couldn’t for the life of me get a still shot of them diving and being adorable. (I think I only took one good one.)

click on photos for a bigger photo…

The white tiger was amazing. He was so stunning! He (well I assume he was a he) was continually pacing up and down one rock ledge, even though he had a large pen (with very snazzy interior decorating too) and just watched us the whole time as we took photos. I never ever knew how HUGE their paws were!!

And the chimps were such characters. I couldn’t stop laughing. The adult ones were actually pretty boring I’ll admit, but the juniors were such jokers! I was continuously watching two especially –one was a really tiny little fellow, who was just too darn adorable. Another was slightly older and was always and always swinging on a rope-like palm branch back and forth. And then he’d fall crashing down, meander or scramble back up again, and either strike a pose or get right back into swinging.

Singapore Zoo is known world wide as one of the largest and most visited Zoo’s in the world. And I can see why. It was a supercalafragalisticesyaladosious time. I saw animals at the Zoo that I never thought I’d see until I actually went to their home country. I think my jaw seriously dropped on several occasions without me realising until faithful sister commented with a laugh. SO MANY AWESOME ANIMALS.

All in all, an awesome time with an awesome family.

…And now to Istanbul.