Eastern Turkey: Day 10 - Wednesday, 28 June 2000
The morning got off to a slow start as the bus was blocked in and it took some minutes for Mehtin to get it out. In the meantime, we shopped at the hotel entrance, buying red checkered scarves and black bloomer pants.
When the bus arrived we went to the fish lake, and saw the grotto believed by the local people to be the birthplace of Abraham. It has been enclosed and partitioned. The men go in one section and the women in the other. On the women's side, there were several women who were praying. On the men's side, young boys were receiving lessons from an older man.
Before entering, however, it was necessary for those women whose arms or legs were bare, to be covered by light trench coat style garments. We also had to wear a head covering.
There was a quote from the Koran beside the lake, Chapter Enbiya, Verse No. 69. Where it mentioned Abraham the letters PBUH were also there. Meli said it is customary to put those letters beside a prophet's name. It means "peace be unto him."
It was during this section of our trip that we were most aware of contempt from the people toward us - perhaps for our bare limbs and uncovered heads. But we could feel their attitude. I would recommend to anyone visiting this town that you consider more modesty in dress than you might normally wear. It might help you feel more comfortable with the people, and will give them a better image of tourists.
We walked back to the hotel through the market and streets lined with small shops. It was another buying opportunity for many.