Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Turkish Medicine

As a kid I was taught to leave myself a "backdoor" whenever I was expressing my opinions and an awareness of the fact that our thoughts and perceptions can change over time. Dogmatism was not a virtue.
We have benefited from those lessons during our time in Turkey. Over the course of the last two years we have been the recipients of some pretty unorthodox treatments when malaise has struck. Scalp rubs with alcohol, dry coffee grounds with lemon, crushed aspirin in 7/Up, and honey and mint have all been administered with an amazing air of confidence that these folk remedies would clear up whatever ailment had befallen us. In most cases they did.
It shouldn't have surprised me then when Reyhan showed up with a package of freshly culled lamb's hooves to make soup today. They had been ordered "special". It stands to reason that if you have a broken bone in your foot...whatever juice you could leach out of the bones and marrow from lamb's "feet" would be the reasonable treatment.
The cooking is still underway and I can tell by the chatter that they are hoping to tone down the flavor of the bone, skin and marrow. I keep hearing the phrase 'its too gelatinous" being whispered. A fact now verified by Büyük Anne being summoned to help. Funny though...there doesn't seem to be a line waiting to dig in which means its all for me. Giddy up.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eclipsing Moments

The Steward Crew stayed up until the wee hours to catch the last total lunar eclipse until 2010. Our view from Istanbul started at 4am and ended around 7am. Just before the moon was completely in the earth’s shadow, our 3rd floor view was hijacked by a 100’ tree down the street...by the time I hobbled to adjust it had slipped down the horizon and was hiding behind a building and we missed the highlight of the evening.
Hanging out on our cold balcony made me think back to our early days of marriage and staying up all night to watch meteor showers from Cuyamaca or Laguna meadows. Watching Elle & Stanley in their PJ's crowded around binoculars, cameras and spotting scopes made me feel like a kid again...just not quite as mobile as I used to be.
Slipping Out of View

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pajama Weather

We have had perfect weather for being laid-up this week...sub-freezing temps, gale force winds and heavy snows. It was so bad this week that the ferries stopped running and transportation in Istanbul almost came to a complete stop.
Our neighbors and friends called it pajama-weather. Things look to be clearing up...I am hoping for more of the same to keep the urge to get out at bay.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Good Boy

During One of the Slower Moments
I have been a good patient the past few days and have kept to the prescription of keeping my foot above my heart. Everything we have heard and read says that this particular bone has a notoriously low blood supply. If I don't want to stretch this recovery out to 2-6 months I have to behave.
Looks like our days of living and sleeping on the floor are over for awhile, Ann and friends went shopping this week to find us a western style bed so I can get up easier, getting into a standing position from the floor must be painful to watch...it is coming on Monday. I was left out of the loop on that decision...I think they knew I would have bucked.
My spirits are up and I have a stack of history and travel books waiting to be read. We are also starting to plan our Silk Road Exp's for this coming season...hoping to be fit to travel this spring.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Whine, Women and Throngs

If you have been traveling with us the last few years you already know of my passion for keeping a diary and how my Moleskine Journal is my constant companion. The Moleskine company has been in business for two centuries with the exception of closing down for a few years in the 1980's. For that reason, I have stacks of new Moleskines in reserve. Even though our website is our main venue for the highlights of our life on the Far Side of the World...it is in my Moleskine where my heart is written.
Why, you ask, is this interesting? The problem with online journals is that you can go back and rewrite history to suit your mood. But...since you all know me for the simple mind I am, I will let yesterday's post stand for what it is...a whiner. For that I apologize.
I had a lot of luck yesterday. Our process at the hospital (The Red Crescent) was smooth...the time we entered to the time we left was less than 70 minutes. Consultation, radiology, consultation again, casting and billing was a breeze. The cost was just a few hundred Lira and the most amazing part was that the place was packed with patients. The registration process was less than 1 minute. Not a single form was required on our end and you paid for each service at the time it was rendered.
My Beloved Moleskine

Once we got home the house was full of well-wishers and at one point last night I was lying on the bed and couldn't see the ceiling above me for the huddle of concerned wives and women of our neighborhood hovering over me and talking to Ann. Today there has been a throng gathered at our door or passing through the bedroom waiting to help. Is there an upside to this season of being homebound? You bet...I am guessing the free food will start arriving tonight.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Clipped Wings

Ok...I know I am a bit dense and should have headed into the doc earlier this week. I was hoping things would mend without intervention but everyday brought new colors and swelling into the mix. Today, 3 days after I twisted my foot I acquiesced and went to the doctor with Ann and our neighbors Ercan & Reyhan.
The bad news is that I have a “spiral-torsion break that splintered” (?) and that a break at this location heals slowly. Far worse news is that I am completely off my feet for 8 weeks with the exception of heading in for weekly x-rays. I can't drive, walk, sit or travel for the next 2 months, 60 days, or 1440 hours...basically-forever. They say I need to be flat on my back with my foot raised….now is that really necessary? My nomadic propensities are not flexing well today. More later…Life Ends as I Know It

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Stepping on Cracks

My dad is famous for saying that he doesn't want to become an "old man". I understand that sentiment, but today I am feeling it with some passion behind it. A big part of Central Asian and Eastern culture is celebration through dancing…and I am either dance-deficient or I’m getting old.
Our living room, friend's homes, restaurants and even streets often become the scene for spontaneous dancing in Turkey. Men linking arms with men and women with women a large circle is formed and a series of steps are made that rotate the circle to the beat. The machinations of syncing my appendages with those of the other dancers and the music is something far beyond my skill set.

I am not by any defintion "a dancer"...but in this crowd spectators are not allowed. Many times I have been pulled to my feet and thrust into the center of the crowd to dance…poorly.
A few days ago I decided that if I was to continue with cultural saturation I had to learn to dance like a Turk. I started some Turkish music and stood in the living room ready to practice.
With my first step I heard a loud "crack" and remember wondering why I was laying on the floor holding my foot and gasping for breath...the sensations of pain hit and I knew my 3 seconds of dancing fame were over.
My 5th metatarsal is broken clean through and my right foot looks like something out of the Hobbit world. Green and blue with shades of periwinkle, it is swollen and tender and out of commission for the month. In light of this experience I have resigned myself to being the "foreigner who dances like a chicken".
Flat on my back…that’s the news from the Far Side of the World.

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

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