Sunday, September 26, 2010

SRE Fall 2010 I

We are back on the road and today we are posting from the headwaters of the western Euphrates. I am low on words and high on visuals today. Eye candy below...

Mountain road on the Euphrates

Yeni Camii, Malataya

Euphrates, Erzincan Province

Friday, August 27, 2010

Change in the Air

So...we are thinking of morphing this poor website into a site of occasional postings (hmmm....sounds kinda like what it is).... examining the historical sites, places, churches and mosques of the Silk Road.
Since I am venting most of my daily thoughts and my meager sartorial wit in other locales, I would enjoy it more and feel a little less pressure in trying to keep up with the dailies here...which you have to admit, I have failed at completely the past year or so.
We have an upcoming SRE in the weeks ahead where we will be reconnecting with some nomadic tribes and villages we haven's visited for a couple of years. We can post from the road now...but will probably keep it brief since I hate typing with my knuckles.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Pits of Inspiration

Minbar of the Yağ Camii in Adana

A few weeks ago while traveling through a remote stretch of southeastern Turkey a line skipped through my head which I jotted down in my neglected Moleskine...”if you can’t write while in Istanbul”....and the end of the phrase was left hanging. Seven words with nothing to build on.
Everyday since then the phrase has run through my thoughts and everyday I have waited for the completion of the thought and (I hoped) the inspiration it would give.
Day 12...nada. I have been sucking on date pits for the past few hours and waiting for the experiences and emotions pent up inside me to work their way down to my fingers and out onto the page. But, other than consuming a bag of dates (at 120 calories a pop) I have nothing to show for it.
This last run to the east was something of a homecoming to me. I don’t really have a healthy sense of fear. That’s not a macho thing...maybe its just a reflection of a not-so-bright intellect. But I really can’t recall to many instances in my adult life where I was afraid. But I am holding onto hope that I could be.
If there was an element of my life that I think could cause me to be would probably be the inability to roam, to be bound to one place or a routine that my livelihood or situation was mandated upon. So...getting back on the road, back to the ancient paths that make up parts of the Silk Road was somewhat of a new lease on life to me. 
We intentionally made this trip short to ease us back into the difficulties of Asian travel and to test our road savvy and limberness. Now...being home for a couple of weeks I am aching to be back out in the mountains and villages of Asia Minor.
During this last sojourn, we had the chance to visit several old mosques that were built on the ruins of Christian churches. The photo above was taken in the Yağ Camii (Oil Mosque). The mosque is built on the foundation of the old 5th century  St. Jean Church. Originally the mosque was named the Eski Camii (Old Mosque) but later took on the name “Oil” due to the pressing of olives that took place in its courtyard and next to the walls. Today it functions as a mosque and medrese.
Back to my problem and the end of the sentence that has been haunting my thoughts. I guess if I can't write while in Istanbul, it means I’m out of dates....time to run.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Road Snaps

Home now from our first SRE of the are a few pics of the road trip.    


Friday, July 16, 2010

Faces of the Future

Boys in a Koranic School in Çukurova Province

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Visiting Mosques and Hanging with the Locals-SRE 2010

Stanley at the Top of Sabanci Camii's Tallest Minaret

I failed to detail the run-up to this season's first SRE....but here we are 4 days into it and its time to bring this terrible webpage up to speed.
Leaving Istanbul we overnighted in Konya...ancient Iconium. The home and final resting place of the Persian Poet Rumi, also known as Mevlana, the father of the Whirling Dervishes.
Yesterday we planted ourselves in Tarsus and made the rounds of some Tarsusians we had befriended in trips past. 
The last few days we have quartered out of Adana and visited with  the locals at the Sabanci Camii (Mosque), the largest Mosque between Istanbul and Saudi Arabia. The gatekeeper took compassion on us and allowed Stanley and I to climb the highest minaret....300' feet high, (or so we were told,  I didn't have the presence of mind to measure). 
Today we spent the day between two Mosque's in old Adana the Yağ Camii (Oil Mosque, named due to the olive oil that used to be pressed in its courtyard) and the Ulu Camii (Grand Mosque) which was having its version of VBS with the young boys in Koran School during the summer months.

More as we find the time to update.....
St. John's Church....Converted to the Yağ Mosque

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hitting the Shade in Byzantium

The last week our weather has been near a 100' every day with the humidity in the upper 60's. At night our temps haven't broken below 84'.
We are still without DSL and typing with my thumbs stems the flow.
We are heading to ground anywhere we can find shade. That's the latest via my cell from the Far Side of the World.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Its cherry season in Istanbul. Today we scored at a little over a dollar a pound.
Giddy Up.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Familiar Life

I was lucky enough to find net access via my cell a day or two ago. Our WiFi is still a week or two away from getting activated...mostly due to my stubborness at wanting to navigate the red tape on my own.
Mustafa was out early today washing down the sidewalk and the splashing of water along with horns, diesel engines and grinding of gears woke me up with a smile...I love this place.
We have been getting unpacked in the midst of lots of visiting. We were informed by Gulten, my Turkish mother, that our calendar is full until December.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Osmanli Kultur...the Culture of the Ottomans

Stanley waiting for Erhan Bey to make his favorite dish

We are up to our necks in love and Osmanli food. In just the few hours we have been on the ground....we have touched base, had tea or eaten a meal with 37 neighbors and friends.
Today,our 25th anniversary....we had just 5 minutes to ourselves before there were invitations for cay and khave by friends who had been keeping track of the days since we left 452 days ago.
We will stay close to this community for the next few months,,.,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mental Abuse

Stanley is watching the USA hosting Turkey soccer match while simultaneously Skyping our upstairs neighbor in Istanbul....who is also watching the match.
Elle walks in and asks what the score is...Stanley says "we're ahead". Elle sees the US is trailing by 1 and replies "no, were losing".
What have we done to our kids?
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Giddy Up

Down to less than 24 hours until LAX.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, May 27, 2010

72 hours before leaping has us pretty well together and ready to roll. We still have a few busy days...but once again the woman has organized us to leave a clean house and have our act together for a relaxed departure.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Trading Places

In just 72 hours I will be trading my OC pondering spot for my Istanbul balcony.
We have our last family-farewells today....then the blood strings are cut. We will have a couple of parting moments with neighbors and friends the next few days....but my eyes are already set and yearning for parts east and the Silk Road.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, May 24, 2010

Last Monday in OC

Packing, errands and appointments are interrupting my OC porch time.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, April 09, 2010

On Our Way Home

Sultahahmet Mosque 

Looks like we will be back in Istanbul the end of May! After a long 14 months stateside....we are anxious to be heading back home. Stanley's goal is to be there by his birthday on the 31st. 
Things are ramping up and we will be more faithful in keeping the news posted here. Still have a list of things to do and get before returning. But at least the countdown clock is ticking!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Stanley's First Haircut in Turkey

Four years ago next month we landed in Istanbul....and now that we are finally on the homestretch to head back we thought it was time to revisit our first week in Turkey. Stanley measured in at 5'8 this morning....that is 7 inches in the year we have spent in the states. 
A few days ago we were experiencing a "teen-moment" with Stanley when he said "I miss home....I don't fit in anywhere other than Istanbul".
If I knew it would have been this painful watching your kids grow older...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Scope for the Imagination

I know I have been a mediocre meanderer the past few months...Ok, so maybe its  closer to a  year.  My problem, as Lucy Maud Montgomery would lack of scope for the imagination. I need to write around an image...and here with being in a constant state of motion, I have not taken the time to pay attention to life.
We think we are approaching liftoff for Asia. Finally. May to June is our target and we are looking at 4-5 years in Istanbul and parts east for this coming road trip on the far side of the world.
Today....I have been thinking how relaxing it is to watch other people work at relaxing by fishing.  They did all the work, and I did all the sitting.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Back for the Moment

Stan 1 & Stan 3... 1 on 1

We're back....for the moment. December was a pretty heavy month and carried over into January. So our crew is taking our days, one at a time. We made an unexpected hop to Oregon over the last weeks for health issues with the folks. The pics are courtesy of Elle.

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

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