Lycian Way II     The Golden Year                                                                                                    The Blob,  Vol. 2, Issue 2, February 2007

Friday February 9th, 2007
Lycian Way II
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There's just way too much to write about!  Trekking was amazing!  Check out the vid on the left (I'm experimenting).  Unfortunately, my spare batteries weren't charged so I only have pics for the first two days.
After the vid, I camped out on a plateau overlooking the village.  That night I played my mp3 and had a crazy fun time dancing around the circular flat campfire area overlooking the village.  There really is something powerful about being up high.  I can understand why other cultures have dances around fires.  It really is so fun at night!  I guess that's why we go to dance clubs, but they have nothing on the views in the mountains!
The following day it rained, which I knew from the weather forecast so I holed up and read the Life of Pi.  Quite an appropriate book to read holed up in a tent on food rations and having to fetch water down the hill at the springs.  The day after it snowed at my altitude (rained when
I got lower).  I also got to see the ruins of an old port on the sea (Olympos).  On the beach, I had to cross a little river which involved stripping down to my boxers.  On the other side a man, his head covered wife and son had just arrived to have a picnic lunch.  I was wondering how they would perceive things and to my surprise, I
saw the wife looking at me in my boxers once I'd crossed.  She couldn't resist a glance at my gorgeous body! :)  So much is represented in that scene I can't begin to describe.  First of all, it represents the irony of Turkish culture and the whole secular movement.  Second of all, it represents my own struggle to understand the people amongst whom I'm living and that I have to be conscious of how I perceive things and what I expect from the people around me.  In Taiwan, I was reminded daily of the fact I was a foreigner because I looked different.  Here, the people look like me so I find it harder to remember that they won't understand me the way that I expect and that I have to be careful in how I understand them.  I am slowly being Turkified, but my personality will always cause me some friction in this culture, as it does in my own culture.  As an example, a security guard approached me in the grocery store and told me that I couldn't take pictures!  There are security guards everywhere here and I know that he was just wanting to exert some authority, but that clash of following the social norm versus independence is constant.  Twice I've been asked in public places not to lean or sit on tables.  Once was in the post office and the customers were even telling me not to lean against the table, which was just a simple table for filling out postal forms just like back home in the old post offices (not like the new postal outlets).  Finally, a worker at the place yelled at me from across the room to not lean on the table so I stopped.  Having beards is another issue I don't fully understand.  It is considered a religious symbol so from what I understand, I shouldn't have one unless I'm religious or it could be misconstrued.  I know I'm not explaining it well but it's too complex to write it all down.  Even the expression of emotions involves customs which are different than our own.  On the bus back to Istanbul, a customer flipped out on the bus assistant and they started rushing each other.  People had to hold them back, though I was secretly hoping to see the fight break out. ;)  The customer was angry because someone was sitting in his seat.  The person moved, but once they got out he decided to start yelling about the infraction.  Not that this is a normal occurrence, but I think it represents a different way.  A friend helped me book my bus ticket for my first trip back in October.  The agent wanted my cell phone number (which I didn't have) and my home phone number wasn't good enough.  My friend, who is normally a calm person, got into a huge argument with the bus agent on the phone and then slammed the phone down hanging up on the person.  It's different, eh?  Again, not to say this is totally typical, but I think it represents something deeper, like social norms, which are different and I need to learn more about to help me understand the subtle differences in how things are done in Turkey.  There are so many positive things I like about their families, social and work culture.  Families seem to have closer bonds.  The way they work is more relaxed and their social time is really social.  To survive, I just have to keep being myself and act like I'm in my own culture and face the different things as they come to me.  It can be overwhelming to think about everything sometimes, but then at other times, I feel like there is nothing different.
As part of my Turkification, I finally purchased my first cell phone and a pair of Turkish style jeans (most people wear faded jeans here - same in Italy as well actually).  As part of my westernization, I finally started drinking beer in December(it still tastes horrid but there's no good tasting alcohol in Turkey and the peer pressure is too much here).  The restaurant on the right was really cool.  You can sit around that barbecue with your friends and cook your own meat (similar idea to Japanese restaurants, Chinese hot pot and the Mongolian Grill).
Oh yeah, I broke my cool sunglasses!!! :(((  Sorry Auntie Beep!


Friday February 25th, 2007

The Golden Year

Congratulations Bruce and Jana!  They got engaged over the holidays and will be getting married on March 31st, 2007!  I'm so happy for you Bruce!!!
Another big congratulations go out to Sabina and Rob who also got engaged over the holidays and will be getting married May 20th, 2007!  Sounds like you picked a great guy Beaner!  I'm very excited for you both!
I'm sorry I can't make it to your weddings! :(
So the Golden Year started last May when Al A. got married, followed by Roy, Bea, and Bruce. Now Beaner will be winding down the Golden year in May.  Wow!!!  I still can't believe it! :O
I don't think I'll be able to squeeze into it with you all, but maybe I'll start the silver year with Dave, Mark and Graham!  :)
On the left is where I often ended up on Sunday mornings with Mitch and Mackenzie.  This was our last time there before they left (their friend Blaine was visiting from home).  He's a wedding photographer in Michigan - maybe he can take pics for you Bruce and Beaner?  ;)
Every morning Alex comes by to pick me up for school.  He often likes to go in too early so he usually gets to see me in my boxers and t eating my cereal.  That's a pretty heavy duty front door, eh?
Here's a little tip for those of you who like to carry your laptops around in your backpacks along with big binders.  Don't play ball
hockey with the little tykes on your way home from work.  You just may find that your hard drive is broken and have to get a new one!!!!
On my way home last night after midnight, I missed my train stop so I decided to take the train to the next major stop in hopes that I could still find a taxi.  Well, there weren't any taxis so I went into a little
shop to ask if they knew where I could find a taxi.  No one spoke any English but after getting the baker from the back and looking for phone numbers all over the place, I asked the fellow if he could drive me but he didn't have a car.  He then decided to lock up the shop and walk me to where he thought we could find a taxi but on the way we saw some people in a bakery shop and they told him there weren't any taxis where we were going.  We turned around to go I don't know where when suddenly we saw a taxi and I was saved (we were really in the boonies so this was lucky).  The way this fellow helped me out though is typical of my travel experiences here.  When I was trekking, I asked the restaurant owner (in the pic on the left) where I was eating
if there were any buses to take me several kms up the road to where the trail started.  He said no, so after lunch I started walking.  Next thing I knew, the other two guys who were eating in the restaurant at another table pulled up beside me and gave me a ride.  Earlier that day, the two fellows on the right also gave me a ride several kms to the restaurant.  Again no English, but the closest fellow joked with me about being a terrorist.  They were driving a white cargo van with tarps and tools in the back (my backpack sat on a saw), so I felt like I was in an episode of 24.
At the beginning of the trail a couple drove up to give me two oranges and the Pensiyon where
I stayed gave me free bread and tomatoes when I found out that the market was a few kms out of my way (this was the off season so most things were closed).  I'm really looking forward to travelling around Turkey this summer because I have felt very taken care of wherever I have gone.  The Turks are amazingly hospitable!!!  Thank you to everyone one of you who helped me on my travels and thanks for taking care of me last night buddy!!!!