Friday, August 30, 2013

30 Agustos - Victory Day, Turkey

A patriotic picture for a patriotic country.

Sarkoy, Turkey

The 30th of August marks the end of the Greco-Turkish War.  Growing up, I was not a history buff by any means.  I don't blame anyone for my lack of interest, but I do not think history is well packaged in schools.  It is not always presented as exciting, but actually many of the stories are stranger than fiction.

Today I learned that the outcome of this war could have had a lot to do with a monkey bite.  Yes, a monkey bite.  My husband was telling me this was the theme in today's column of one of our favorite Turkish writers, Yilmaz Ozdil.

He tells the story of how King Alexander of Greece was bit by a monkey while walking his dog.  As a result, he died of sepsis.  Many, including Winston Churchill, believed had he lived the outcome of the War could have been different.  Who knows.

His full article in Turkish is here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

By the Light of the Moon

"And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,   They danced by the light of the moon." 
— Edward Lear, The Owl And The Pussycat

Moonlight on the Marmara Sea, Turkey

Moonlight on the Marmara Sea, Turkey

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Pier

Here is another one of the Pier.

Piers are very significant.  A lot happens on piers.  They are much more than their obvious, functional uses.

They are also trusted meditation and meeting places that carry a lot of feelings, emotion and positive energy.

Sunset at Sarkoy, Turkey

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Night Fishing

Of all the pictures I took during our travels this summer, I think this was my favorite scene.  

Night Fishing, Sarkoy, Turkey

This is in Sarkoy, Turkey at my mother-in-law's summer home.  Sarkoy is a not-so-small-anymore village on the Marmara Sea not too far from Gallipoli.

This man can be found fishing from this pier most summer nights.

Night Fishing, Sarkoy, Turkey

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bugs under the Macro

So you may recall my failed attempt at arachnology last year where a little spider jumped onto my camera as I was trying to take pictures of it's web.  There were no spider pictures because it freaked me out, and I opted for homemade baklava pictures instead.

Hello Ladybug, Sarkoy, Turkey

This year I overcame that fear.  Well, kind of.  I found some kinder, gentler insects to experiment on.

Lesson learned:

  • Bugs do not stop.  They are prima donnas and often turn their backs to the camera.
  • The ladybugs in Sarkoy, Turkey have an orange-ish tint to them.  The ones in the US I am used to are very red. 

Sunbee, Sarkoy, Turkey

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Eid Mubarak - We have Moon!

Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

After what seems like quite some deliberation over moon sitings, Ramadan is now officially over in Dubai and the Gulf.

Ramadan and Eid are based on moon sitings.  In this part of the world, official scholars still look for the new moon to call the end of Ramadan.  In other parts of the world, they do not use scholars, but plan it scientifically based on what I assume are trends and technology.

I used to think that was reasonable.  From an economic perspective you can plan.  Businesses know when to close, people know when to travel, etc.  Imagine the potential chaos in the West if we waited for a moon to call Christmas.

After reading an article this morning in the local newspaper, the Gulf News, I get it.  They interviewed an islamic scholar who talked about how everyone in his village used to go to the banks of the Euphrates to look for the moon.  It was an exciting time.

He then went on to talk about the birth of his grand-daughter.  It was fantastic, but yet expected because due to science everyone already knew it was a girl.  As someone who did not learn what I was having when pregnant, I could totally relate to that feeling of not wanting science to spoil the surprise.

Eid Mubarak, Seker Bayram Kutlu Olsun

Yoga & Art in Dubai

For those of you in Dubai during these hot summer months, there is a not so secret great spot for yoga happening in DIFC.  XVA Gallery has opened its doors to host yoga a few times a week to Urban Yoga, the same group that can be found in Safa Park during the winter months.

The location is really convenient for me so I tried it for the first time last Saturday and again tonight.  It is very good, and there is something for all levels there.

So while its too hot to be outside at the beach, at least you can surround yourself in art as you practice.

My Heart Belongs to the Sea by Jonathan Gent, XVA Gallery, Dubai

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Language of Friendship

Everyone has a best friend, a good friend, close friends.  Some you have known for years, others you have just met recently, but yet you feel like you have known each other for years.

This is a picture of my son, and what I anticipate will be a very close friend for years to come.  The story is unique because they are the sons of two men who have been friends since they were not much older than these two are now.

My son speaks about just as much Turkish as the other boy speaks English.  Both have been exposed to the other's language, but are not yet fluent in each other's mother tongue.  It doesn't matter.  They love each other dearly and speak the language of friendship.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What does one do on a Blue Voyage anyway?

Taking a holiday on a boat may not seem like the most relaxing thing to do. It could be boring, right?  I promise, its not.  And as an added bonus, this is one of the few places left in the world where you can wake up and have no access to internet, or mobile phones.

Mavi Yolculuk, Blue Cruise, Bodrum, Turkey

Lunch - Fresh, local produce and grilled fish!
Approaching the next bay.
Bodrum, Turkey

If life or work is a bit stressful and you need a get away, its worth considering.  The daily itinerary goes a bit like this:
That first big jump off the boat is one to remember.
Bodrum, Turkey
- Wake Up (after sleeping on deck under the stars)
- Change into bathing suit, or just roll off side of boat directly into the sea for a morning swim.
- Finish swim.  Breakfast is ready for you.
- Shower, or later if you like
- Decide what secluded bay to go to next
- Enjoy the view
- Swim again
- Maybe go to another bay, or not.
- Swim, nap, liesure time.
- Lunch
- Move on to the next bay and swim
- If there is a remote island with ruins on the way, you can explore, or not.
- Swim some more.
- The captain will also likely have some string on board if you want to try your luck at fishing
- Turkish tea time
- Decide where to head for sunset
- Last swim before dinner
- Shower
- Enjoy sunset drinks and dinner
- Chat with friends, laugh a lot.  Maybe play cards or something like this.
- Sleep

Notice there is really no exact timing for this.  While you do ideally want to be settled by sunset, the day is yours and you are free to roam.

Food consists of fresh, local produce.  Often from the captain's own village!  And of course fresh fish.

And don't be afraid to shop around... its not as expensive as you would expect.  There are boats to fit every budget.  They can be very cost effective and cheaper than some of the best hotels.

So what are you waiting for?  There is still one month of summer left, so enjoy!

Napping during a Mavi Yolculuk in Turkey