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April 1, 2012 vol 8 no 1

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Steven Carter

Southeast from Istanbul

Site of the incredibly old Santa Barbarra Christian church, Turkey's Goreme Valley is one of its largest; the dun-colored hills seem to stretch forever as we head down a bumpy dirt road, guide-interpreter behind the wheel.

At noon on a cloudless winter day we happen upon a goatherd and his large flock. He waves to us as we pass and I motion the driver to stop, rolling my window down.

After chatting awhile about the weather and dry conditions, the goatherd says, "I know every nook and cranny of this valley like the back of my hand; I could find my way around here blindfolded!"

Then he bursts into inexplicable laughter, his salt and pepper beard bobbing up and down. He repeats this two or three times until, puzzled, we slowly drive off, waving.

Later we find out that goreme means "what must not be seen" in Arabic.

a tinkling bell
the Judas goat