Thursday, December 08, 2005


As if the surreal Capadoccia’s landscape was not enough I was still to meet its most particular inhabitants... The place, an area in Central Turkey where erosion produced by the wind and rains in the last million years has built improbable contours in solidified lava. Most of them are cones, which look like melted ice-cream from the distance. Proffiting from the smooth substance, humans have dug their houses on the rock and the first Christians founded monasteries. Bizantine churches are found dug in the ¨tufa¨, even showing paintings on the walls. While I was exploring the area I saw nails flying . Somebody was doing malabares and listening to music. I climbed to the caves to check who were those people…and there it was, the Bike Circus. They are 9. Four Americans, (the Texan Chanin plays the bandoneon, the one of New Orleans the contrabass, another one the flute and the last handles the violin) two Italian (Piero and Simone, one looks like Mario Bross, I swear it, the one who plays the Tablao. The other is drawing all the time and addressing his partner as ¨stupid italian¨), a Canadian from Quebec (Marie Elise, violinist, gymnastic, with a J.Joplin-like voice, the one with a red seal on her passport banning her from entering Europe for I-don’t know-how many years.) a German (guitar) and the last member… ...When I got to the group the last member was walking over her hands inside one of the carved-in-the-mountain devastated chapels where one can still distinguish the arcs and altars . I was wondering where she was from when she started singing: 'Voy caminando por el aire'...... Where are you from? Can you believe the fact the Rocio was from Ramos Mejia (Argentina)? After a long hug, the first thing we asked each other was ¨ Che, do you have yerba? (local tea)'' She has also been looking for it in Istambul’s bazaar without any luck. There, vendors attempt to sell her a strange kind of black grass that had scared her and, of course, a carpet. The Bike Circus goes around the routes with their, sorry to be obvious and repetitive, bikes. But they are special bikes. They are a meter fifty high and have two verticaly welded frames. Once, a Turkish policeman stopped them to check on the phone with his boss if that type of means of tranport is able to circulate around theTurkish highways. They perform their circus-like music show in the towns and then, they go on travelling. The substance of their trip is beyond each of them as individual travelersi, since some of them joined the group on the road, while others left it. Any way, they are an ode to movement. Rocio lost her Argentinian accent after so much wandering. (Those things the passport can not account for). One time she asked me : ' How do you call what is inside a peach?' ' Cob!' (¨carozo¨in Spanish) I answered angrily.... Rocio plays the drums and sings flamenco while she dances chamame. Then she tells her audience she is Japanese. It is crystal clear to everybody! There are two signs hanging from her bike (in the middle of her provisions and briefcases). These posters are about two different problematics. The first one says ' Cycling against Oil Wars'. Everybody understands it. The second is more related to her neighbourhood and says: ' We are all teachers. Ctera.' (Argentinean Trade Union) Although I had already found a place to sleep in Goreme, where we were, a town almost totally built on the rocks, I decided to move to the caves with them. It is not an everyday experience to occupy a bizantine church from the 10th Century, with its very own fresco on the wall…. Inside, they discuss the following step to follow.... the Turkish visa of one of them is about to expire, it is necessary to leave and return , so they spoke about hitch-hiking to Bulgaria and back. But, before that, they decide to go to Mersin, a town in the Mediterrenean Coast, where winter is smoother (here it already started to snow). This way, I join the circus for some days, I am also going south.... A scribbled Jesus is trapped in a painting and from the door he stares the scene and he does not add anything. In the morning, lunch is cooked, with one of the prettiest landscape I have ever seen. On the while, the dog, who has joined the group since Serbia, warns us about the presence of an Australian tourist in search of a picture with the us, the colorful loonies...

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