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Travel with Joan and Paul

June 8th, 2024

For about 15 years, Joan and I took up Travel in a sort of semi/professional way.  Tropic Isles was our new home for the winter months and we had taken a few cruises with Martha Fleetwood, our community travel consultant. On the way back from Ft Lauderdale on the bus, Martha put out flyers for a 12-day trip to mainland China. I had been to Hong Kong many times on buying trips for our manufacturing business but never ventured into China itself. Here was a tremendous opportunity as the price was less than $100.00 per day including accommodation, tours, meals, travel inside the mainland and air fare return from Florida to Beijing. China was opening up finally to the West. I bought a ship container of merchandise from Hong Kong that came direct from China but at the time few were dealing with this huge country legally. I felt much later that I was, in a very small way responsible for this whole China takeover on their huge trading business throughout the world.  - As a side note. A Chinese food company bought my Company out and nine months later went bankrupt and left me without a decent pension.

Needless to say, our trip was fabulous and as China was so new in the tourist business, we were on the threshold of many hundreds of thousands of western tourists to visit that fascinating country. Martha was with us on this trip and at the Beijing airport we were overwhelmed by young people trying to see a famous Rock group that was on our flight. No, these kids were not there to welcome us but, in their enthusiasm, they swept Martha away and I found her in a daze outside in the parking lot. This incident convinced Martha that it was time for her to retire. She offered Joan and I her position and that was the start of a new facet in our lives as tour sellers and guides.  

Many of my hundreds of short stories are of our experiences on trips to so many foreign lands, while introducing so many friends to the world. We were reminded of our trip to North Africa Egypt and Turkey by a TV show documenting the beginning of modern mankind on earth. They took us to one of our favorite destinations in the middle of Turkey called Cappadocia. When we arrived there by Turkish airlines (very good) I thought, what are we doing here? It was almost baron dessert with little vegetation. We were soon taken up by the enthusiasm of our guide who drove us straight to our hotel. This was the beginning of a total experience we will never forget.  Our hotel was actually carved into the soft stone that the Christians, after fleeing the Romans made as their homes over 2,000 years ago. Our suite was quite comfortable but with no windows as we were deep underground in the stone. The temperature was quite pleasant and maintained the same temperature year-round.

I am not sure how we squeezed so much into the few days we were in this incredible land. One day was consumed with a Balloon ride. Drifting 3,500 feet over the carved-out homes where Christians lived high and away from their Roman enemies. Visits to early cave churches and homes and viewing Holy paintings there for hundreds of years.  Balloon rides are usually early in the morning or at dusk when the breezes are at their lowest. Ours was an early morning experience. After landing safely directly onto the tailer, we had the customary glass of Champaigne and then off in our Limo to the city where we experienced something few will ever have the privilege to witness.  The underground city of Cappadocia.

 In the TV documentary, the host entered through a very simple  Turkish private home. Pulling a bedsheet aside there was a small opening in the wall and into a narrow tunnel the host descended into an underground maze of multi levels of tunnels large and small rooms and places for people and other rooms where the livestock was held. Our entrance was somewhat more elaborate but the experience was every bit as awesome. Much better as we were there in person.  As we descended from one level to the next, the tunnels seemed to get smaller and smaller so as Joan mentioned there was no light around me as she followed blindly to the next lower level.  Warning! Do not take this tour if you are claustrophobic or have heart issues. We explored 8 levels under the city and were amazed at the size of the underground city especially as we were told that at least four times as much of the city was still unexplored. According to our guide, this underground city was just another escape for the Christians to avoid certain death for their beliefs. As if we were not totally impressed with our day in Turkey, the TV documentary had more info that we were not aware of when we were there in 2008. The theme of the show was to investigate the origin of modern-day mankind.

The theory has been established that about 12,000 years ago, there was a cluster of asteroids that hit the earth causing the eventual cooling of earth and it was covered with ice and snow. Stone age mankind was eventually driven underground to survive. The early caves were carved out with stone tools and the further they went lower they have proved that early Iron age man chiseled some of the newer caves. To know that we were in the spaces of Stone, Iron and early Christian human beings, to me, this is very special and to have the privilege to experience this time in Turkey is humbling.

We met a very friendly Persian Carpet maker who took us into his showroom. We sat on a Persian rug throne that has hosted notables for the past 800 years.  His complex had thousands of rugs and was a Camel caravan stop on the Silk Road for almost 1000 years. This was a special treat that makes travel so special.

 Few people have had the life that my wife and I have led. We have done and been and experienced more than the average person.  This experience in Turkey was just a small slice of what we have experienced over the past 85 plus years.  I can only thank my good luck, my curiosity and above all my guidance through many life-threatening times with my loving Heavenly Father there for me. I know that especially in my youth, I would have had some very unfortunate results due to my stupidity. Only for the Angels of God, we call then Guides or Guardian Angels, I would probably not be writing this today.

Isaiah 54-17   No weapon against you shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against you in judgment you shall condemn      This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord -  

“And their righteousness is from me” Says the Lord.                                  

 

 Paul D. Scott                          rantingsandraves.com

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