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New Europe

Day Forty-four: Göreme

The Fairy Chimney Hotel, Göreme 
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With Andus in his hi-tech cave at the Fairy Chimney Hotel, Göreme.
Michael Palin - New EuropeWhile we're waiting, Gülcan talks up her neighbour's skills. She once told her mother that she would have a big fire in her house and, sure enough, two weeks later it happened. She also admits that, as far as the Islamic religion is concerned, reading coffee grounds is a sin.

'But I don't believe,' she says cheerfully.

'What if someone saw really bad news?' I ask her.

Gülcan's expression changes, and she casts a quick glance at the other woman.

'Once she told me she was reading for another neighbour and her brother was lost for some time and... ' she lowers her voice to a whisper, 'she says I hope it will not happen, but I have seen a dead body in the coffee.'

However silly my rational self says these things are I can never have my fortune told without a slight drying of the mouth and dampening of the palms, so I'm relieved that there's nothing nasty to be seen. I will travel far. I must be careful of dark places where I will encounter snakes.

'Bad animals,' she confirms, but won't be drawn as to whether the snakes are pythons.

That is apparently the extent of the bad news. The good news provokes a lot of giggling between the two of them.

'You are going to meet with two different ladies. They are very beautiful and one is much richer than you.'

'Does the coffee indicate what my wife might think?'

'Ah,' says Gülcan, 'you have a wife too?'

I nod. More consultation.

'Well, there is a new love for you. In the Cappadocia area.'

They then break off for quite intense speculation around the coffee cup, broken by ever more frequent giggling. Gülcan nods significantly. 'Oh, that's interesting. You are going to meet this rich lady in the internet chat room.'

My impression is that the whole process has less to do with psychic penetration and more to do with a good old gossip. Coffee-reading is, Gülcan told me, very popular but eighty per cent of it is done by and for women. It's probably a good way of winkling out the scandal, talking about what they couldn't talk about just face to face. That's my theory.

Meanwhile I'm thinking of setting up a new website - Richladies.com.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: New Europe
  • Chapter: Day Forty-four: Göreme
  • Country/sea: Turkey
  • Place: Göreme
  • Book page no: 111

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  • Day 34 
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