Showing posts from September, 2009

The Town of Bedrock

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. —The Hobbit I only had one night in Istanbul. I arrived Wednesday morning, hopped across to Europe to buy spices and a new man purse at the Spice Bazaar, and back to pick up my last two packages from my friends-gifts from my aunt and an Asus netbook. I had a new requisite commodity, Internet, to survey for and seek out. My friends Gavin and Nellie and I went out to lunch at a pide place with yard-long pides, and ate three, and caught up over drinks. I unfolded on the futon and got my first good night's sleep in a long while. In the morning I exploited my netbook, and in the afternoon met my friends for lunch at a fish place, and crossed the Bosphorus with them to attend one of the exhibits for the Istanbul Biennal art festival. Oh, moder

Cast Off the Lee Shore

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off―then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. ―Moby Dick I left some things with Tuna and Monica at the pension and took an early bus to Demre, about three hours drive from Fethiye and one hour from Olympos. There as the bus offloaded a man cradling a clipboard met me and two others, an American named Jeff and his Istanbullu girlfriend Sinem. He led us at a distance, as we dragged our baggage, to a cafeteria where we ate chicken and rice and introduced ourselves to our shipmates―the South Africans Dave, Zach, and Christopher; and Jeff and Ka

The Road Which We Traveled

I am but a poor man, but wit's better than wealth. ―Rob Roy Immediately on landing in Rhodes I sought out the post office, where the replacement debit card I had expected to arrive few days before I did was not there. This put me in as precarious a position as Odysseus landing on Phaeacia. I stumbled in aimless but determined wanderings into tourist office and received from my Nausicaa, who was much older and more disillusioned than the one in the story, a card for a local hostel run by a Greek named Peter. The Rodos Hostel certainly rescued my chances. It not only offered beds for $15 a night, a especially low price for a Greek resort afforded by its lack of toilet paper or even toilet seats, but also a substantive exchange library, and a kitchen for me to cook cheap. This fine dining began with my traditional meal of bread and cheese and a beer―a Mythos. I picked up The Alchemist from the library and was lying around reading when an Aussie ski-instructor and traveler came in.

The Ionian Coast

And hurry, hurry, off they rode __ As fast as fast can be; Hurra, Hurra, the dead can ride, __ Dost fear to ride with me? —Burgher I had to be in Marmaris on Thursday to catch a ferry to Rhodes, and in Istanbul whenever my last packages arrived; and looking for something to do in the interim settled on Bergama and Selçuk. I bought a bus ticket and relaxed on the four hour trip south, so much so that when the bus pulled over to let me out, I did not register that it was on the side of the highway, near a sign that said, "Bergama," with an arrow. I crossed the road and started walking. A taxi driver waited for me under a billboard, either called out by one of the bus drivers or aware of their tactics, and said, "Where you go?" I told him, without stopping my gait. "It's seven kilometers." I expressed my happiness with considerable irony. "You must take taxi." I told him I was penniless and kept walking. I saw a bus station without busses and

Between the Battlefields

I am not ordering you to fight. I am ordering you to die. In the time, it takes us to die, other forces and commanders can come and take our place to defend this country. —Atatürk at Gallipoli In Moldova, while looking at my SD card in another person's camera, I noticed that all my pictures from Varna north were in black and white with but a single color extant, usually some shade of green. It looks very artsy, but I'd prefer pictures in full color. Like these one-color photos and their Schindler's List style, I tend to pick out at a glance the most important aspect of a place and paint a broad picture using only that. Both of us -- Camera and I -- must broaden our palette if the truth is to be told. For me, it is a simple matter of effort. Camera, however, may require for his improvement some technical expertise greater than either of us possess, or someone who can navigate blindly his settings and change back whatever photo filter I managed to activate. Ah, well! I will

La Dolce Vita

The seductive love of narrative, when we ourselves are the heroes of the events which we tell, often disregards the attention due to the time and patience of the audience, and the best and wisest have yielded to its fascination. —Sir Walter Scott The previous post on Istanbul covered most of my broad observations of the Turkish race, so that catching up to where I am now in my trip should be painless, and will require a haste for which the Reader and I should be equally grateful. To synopsize, after leaving Istanbul I traveled by bus to Troy, Pergamum, Ephesus, and Marmaris, by ferry to Rhodes and back, by bus to Fethiye, by sailboat around the Lycian territory, and by night bus back to Constantinople, to retrieve my final package. I will get into the details of this trip in short order, but first we have to conclude my first visit to that city. There I was stuck, waiting for packages, and planning the next stages of my journey. On Sunday I went out for a fish dinner with Gavin and Ne