24/3/2015- Third day
Early morning I'd already holding my hand phone reading the wassap message from our tour leader. Hmmm...that's why I love modern gadget. Once there's no wifi, it's just like I had lost connection with the outside world. Hjh Shalina reminded us on our program for the day. The plan was to visit leather factory, then Ephesus and after lunch we will start our journey to Pumakkale where we were going to visit an antique city of Hierapolis (Cotton Castle). Ida asked me whether we were going to visit the site of the seven sleepers in Ephesus. I asked her...was there any seven sleepers in Turkey? She told me there were few places claimed to be the site of the seven sleepers (Ashabul Kahfi). The most likely site is located in Petra, Jordan, which can explained what had been narrated in Surah AKahfi. Ok... I didn't know that. I had not read anything about Ephesus before and had no idea what to expect.
After breakfast I went up to the room to prepare and checked whether my phone or power bank were fully charge or not while checking for wassap message and fb status. I am a person whom you can categorise as a fb addicted and can't leave without internet. Ida reminded me to take out the room key card before going down and I confidently nodded my head...a sign telling her...Don't worry, leave it to Ainon😉. Once I reached our bus, suddenly it came to my mind...heheee...I left my room key card 😜. Ida dah membebel... Baru orang pesan. Hahaa...Nak buat macam mana berangan tadi sampai lupa nak ambil keluar kunci. Everything settled after Ida went to inform the front desk. Later we heard our tour leader announced the room number which had not return the key card. Rupa nya ada lagi orang lain yang lupa pulang kan card atau card still ada dalam pocket. Saya cuma tersenyum...Our room...safe😉.
These few days, I started knowing some of the participants in this group. May be I can't really remember all the names. Only knew some of the names from wassap group. But, at least we knew each other among our group members. There was no formal introduction made or something like a 'ta'aruf' session done by Andalusia ..Not like when I traveled with POTO. Don't get me wrong Andalusia...actually I was really happy because I don't have to stand in front and introduce myself...hahaa. I remembered during a trip to Balkan 2 years ago with POTO group, when I introduced myself... They started asking my occupation. And when I told them I'm a doctor and a rheumatologist dealing with joints disease, there surely someone later will come to me complaining of sakit lutut and sendi...hahaa. Al maklum la ramai golongan veterans. I am off duty here...and very comfortable when people just call me Ainon.
Our first destination was leather factory and fashion show. Once we reached there we were invited to watch live fashion show for the designer to showcase his line of clothing at the same time we were served with apple tea (one of Turkish specialty...I guess). We were sitting around a rectangular stage where the models will catwalk later. This is a Turkish leather company 'Emelda'. The designer (I think so) or the person in charge started by introducing his leather product which were made from lamb skin. He gave us detail on the good point about it and trust me it's definitely a good quality product. (Hahaa...as if they paid me to promote their product). Definitely looking at the quality of the products...you know the price might also be costly...😭. The product looked grand and impressive especially when it was worn by a beautiful lady and a tall, handsome young man. It really looked elegant and make your jaw dropping. Yup...they have got a wow effect from us😉. Some of the items can be worn on both sides with different pattern.
The models then chose 2 participants from among us...Mona and En Abd Manan (Sorry if I named the wrong person) to try their product and became a temporary models. Thumbs up to both of the models from Malaysia...hahaaa. I would say they have chosen the perfect one especially Mona...memang ada gaya model gitu..😉.
From the showroom we were brought to the main shop. We saw, touched and tried some of the jackets and other items. The one that the model wore in showcase, the price might cost about 5-6K USD... Hahaaa... Telan air liur jer la bila buat kira-kira dalam kepala bila di convert kan ke RM😂. But the quality was superb and very soft and elegant. Bored on the price and big size items on the ground floor, I went up to see anything interesting on second floor. Just as I stepped on the second floor, my eyes fixed on a purplish or greyish colour jacket with leopard colour scarf/ ribbon attached to it. It's always my style...If I liked certain item, I won't see anything else. Hmmm... The price was reasonable especially after 50% discount 😍 and the size was just perfect for me. Since I didn't have credit card, I had to borrow from Ida to use hers instead to pay for my new jacket...😁. Don't be surprised ...Quite sometime I stopped using credit card. The main reason was because, I just got fed up getting calls from insurance companies or other agencies which I guessed could be a fraud. Secondly, it helped to limit from overspending money. Frankly speaking, I was not crazy about shopping. In fact I couldn't understand how people can shop for hours. It reminded me to the time my trip to Bandung...I slept on the sofa in the shopping complex while others shopping. But, definitely I love sight seeing.
From the leather factory, we went straight to Ephesus. The weather was good. Finar mentioned about the historical background on Ephesus while we were in the bus as well as while had a tour to this ancient city. What I gathered from what she said, this ancient city was started with paganism under Roman. She did mention about Athemis temple, their gods and goddesses at that time, about head of Medusa and so on. Later this place became an important place for Christianity where she claimed Ephesus also was a place for Virgin Mary. It was not that important city under Muslim rule...in fact almost all statues were beheaded as it might signify an idols. Hmmm...that explained why I saw most of the statues had no head. Not only this time...but also in other Muslim countries ie: in Egypt. Finar was so fascinated when she explained it to us. So, since I didn't want to disappoint her...I just pretended listening to every word that she said. Ok...confused already. Yup...I was confused at that time. Some of us already went somewhere else and enjoying the scenery of ancient city and took photos and selfie. I on the other hand was not really interested that much in ancient Pagan or Christianity history, but I would like to know about the seven sleepers. So I asked Finar while we were walking together, was Ephesus also the site claimed to be where there's a cave for seven sleepers. She said yes... But the seven sleepers cave was not included in the itinerary. Frankly speaking I was a little bit disappointed with this. May be I would suggest to the Muslims tour agency to consider include this site claimed to be the cave of Ashabul Kahfi as one of the site to visit. It would really be benefited...even if it was not the true site. At least it will make us thinking or analysed it.
Ok...not satisfied with my poor understanding during this tour...again I googled on Ephesus. At least I can relate it better. Here I just write briefly on what I gathered from Wikipedia...Ephesus was an ancient Greek city built in the 10th century BC. The city flourished after it came under the control of Roman in 129 BC. The city was famed for the temple of Artemis, the library of Celcus, and a theatre which was capable of holding 25 000 spectators. This open-air theatre was used initially for drama, but during Roman times gladiatorial combats were also held on its stage. Ephesus also had several major bath complexes, built at various times while the city was under Roman. The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world. The city and temple were destroyed by the Goths in 263 AD. From 395- 1308 AD it was ruled by Byzantine. It remained the most important city of the Byzantine in Asia after Constantinople in 5th and 6th centuries. The city was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. Ephesus is believed to be the city of the seven sleepers. The story of the Seven Sleepers, who are considered saints by Catholic and Orthodox Christians and their story is also mentioned in the Quran. They were persecuted at that time because of their belief in God and that they escaped and slept in a cave claimed to be near Ephesus for centuries. Further details if you were interested, you can find it yourself.
So after understood this, then I can appreciate at least the places I had visited. Where the site of previous Artemis temple, the aqueduct and it's draining system and even the bath and the ancient toilet was shown to us (it was quite an open space in which they can even chitchat and discussed on political matters when they were doing business), the grand library..Where we took some photos with the library background and the amphitheater. Some of the columns were made by marble. Looking at the structure and their architecture, you can just say... Subhanallah... They were given power at that time to build such a beautiful and strong buildings which still can be seen till today...Tapi sayang, mereka menyembah pada tuhan yang salah. One of the lessons I'd learnt when I saw these magnificent structures.
We did quite a lot of walking that day, but didn't get tired that much with this kind of weather. Imagine walking in Malaysia at this hour...mau berpeluh. By the time we reached our bus it was nearly 12 noon. After lunch we went straight to Pamukalle.
Ok enough for the time being. I am already tired. I'll continue the second part of our third day trip.