Monday, April 23, 2007

Falling Apart in Istanbul

After close to 5000 miles of travel we are back in Istanbul for a few weeks and have a major move across town, visitors from the States, and loads of writing ahead of us,(I don't seem to be "springing back' like I used to). An elderly friend of ours used to say "just relax and fall apart"...exactly what we plan on doing...soon. In the meantime we offer another Ocular Buffet for your peckish palates.
Elle Near Tatvan

Mountain Home

View From Our Window

Along the Syrian Border

Persian Village

The Kids And The Euphrates

Stanley In The Taurus Range

The Navigator, Babe, Boss Lady

Rockslide Near Samandag

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Our border to border run got off to a rough start. It must be my cycle of chaos because this month, our rent, insurance and other bills were all due on the same day…and that happened to be the same day our income was scheduled to arrive in our Stateside bank. With the Easter holiday things ran late. This tweaked our plans and kept us in Istanbul past our departure date to make sure everything was paid before we left…and to give us moolah for the miles.
My Ticket to Somnolence...Maybe
Being 10 hours ahead of PST we were sweating this one out…finally we saw via E that it was available. A quick run to the ATM made things worse. The transaction processed as usual, the receipt was issued, my card returned and the screen said “Please wait for your money”…and then, after several long minutes, a series of “ka-thunks”, a “ping” , the sound of bills being sorted, and the visible lurching of the cash withdrawal door unsuccessfully trying to open…ended with these words on the screen “Please try again, our connection was lost”. Another try, the same result and the score was now…Steward 0-ATM 2. According to the security guard at the bank the ATM “thinks” it dispensed the cash…twice.
Finally another ATM issued us enough to keep the landlord happy, the truck insured and get us on the road on a slim budget.
So…it is thus: 1:43am in Central Turkey after a long mountainous drive from Istanbul seasoned with a slightly stressful preceding 36 hours and I am tired but unable to sleep. We have an early departure planned with a 14 hour drive ahead of us through some of the most rugged terrain in Asia Minor. I must admit with shame that I indulged in a moment of self pity. For that, I apologize.
A look out the window of our ramshackle, 120 year old pansiyon and things got better. Just like the river outside my window…life flows. I am now going to hum like a monk, and try to drift to somnolence.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Out and Back

Eğirdir Gölü near Isparta

The gods of compositional chemistry are active again and we are heeding the call to head east and then south into the Taurus Range to research and write before turning full east to the Iranian border. Adana, Antakya, and Dogubeyazit are our first stops…our return route should take us through Kapadokia if time permits.
Picking up on our UK gear-up fiasco from December, we have found an outfitter who can add the necessary outback gear to our truck…just 900km away from Istanbul.
We are planning on a lightning strike trip out and back, hopefully home within a few weeks. Keep your eyes on the “Global Nomads Live Window” for GPS and brief updates.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Petri Dish Party

Disasters make for good literature, and while quaint doors beckon of quaint interiors...our week in Greece was a complete mess. The village life of this island was beautiful, if you could live outdoors…but in our little rental things went toes up fast.

The Setting? A mostly abandoned village (for a reason), a 1000 year old dwelling in a medieval wall, big bugs in the bed, and sewage floating thru the house made for some lasting memories…not good ones, but memories nonetheless. It was a long 10 days.

We are in the middle of nuking our gear clean and a reboot for a departure towards the mountains within the next few days. More later. For now...we will show the beauty of Greece...minus the beast.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Oh Thank Heaven...for 7/11

I have had a lifelong relationship with 7/11 stores. Several of my uncles were the first to buy into the Southland Corporation’s franchise back in the mid-60’s. And being a San Diego based outfit, there are 7/11’s everywhere you look in SoCal. I worked at 7/11…got fired from 7/11 and rehired at 7/11 as a teenager. As an adult working the streets of SD, 7/11 was an hourly stop. They were family. 7/11 is uniquely Southern California culture.

For 25 years I had a Super Big Gulp within arms reach 24 hours a day. One superbly crafted 64oz plastic cup lasted me 15 years. From the PD to Montana, Oregon, France, Beirut and back to Los Angeles, it traveled as my own personal beverage butler. Due to worries over its life expectancy it remained behind when we made the move to Istanbul.

Imagine our surprise to be cruising along in southwestern Turkey a few weeks ago and run across this vision…this mirage of ice cold beverage beguilements a world away from home. While the sign, logo, and association were valid, nothing inside was familiar. No Slurpee’s, no Big Gulps, no Hot Dogs. There wasn’t even an ATM stuck in the corner next to the magazine rack.
Beguiling Beverage Blowout

It is true when they say you can’t go home. Can you do a favor for this poor guy on the far side of the world? Go to 7/11 today and buy a Super Big Gulp (Dr. Pepper please), sit in the parking lot and sip it while you sing “Oh Thank Heaven for 7/11’s Baseball Trading Cups”. You sip...I'll smile, and life will be good.

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World