Blogs from Antakya, Mediterranean, Turkey, Middle East

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Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya July 13th 2012

So our dear friend has opened a rather swanky cafe near the River. It has outdoor seating in a garden-like patio and serves coffee, tea, smoothies and lots of really decadent deserts beautifully decorated by his mother. There are even waffles, served with icecream and fruit. Last night they had a couple of guys placing some beautiful soft music and everything was free! (definitely not like America) He had a good turnout which included my doctor and his young and sexy wife. (very American :P) Also there were two of my favorite people - Mary and Samuel. He is French, she Turkish and both so very intelligent and kind. A good, if not too brief night with an excuse to dress up.... read more
Bilal and my Doctor
Opening Night (2)
The City at Night

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya July 8th 2012

Okay, I know I haven't been writing much but I contracted amoebic dysentery. I have been in constant pain, going to the bathroom over 10 x a day. What I mistakenly thought was travel sickness several weeks ago quickly became dangerous. First came the rapid weight loss then the blood. The last 10 days I have been under constant medical care including four days at the hospital. Hopefully I am free of this now but my stomach still hurts and I am understandably weakened as I haven't been able to eat well for over a month. My good friend Bilal has been my constant companion through this journey. He went to the doctor, stayed over nights with me in the hospital - witness my emotional outbursts, in short - was an angel. The boys brought me ... read more
Bruises2
Bruises1

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya June 21st 2012

The night belongs to the cats. They are on every corner, in every abandoned house - wandering, eating, fighting, and fornicating. They are pregnant, skinny, dirty, friendly, skitish, all shades between. As guardians of the underworld they keep the ghosts at bay, and there must be many as the city is old, the land ancient. They watch your every move, quick to flee - to chase your steps with shadows, to disappear in the cracks of stone. They are the cats of Antakya. And their presence brings on the night.... read more
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Night7
Night9

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya June 18th 2012

I started my morning off watching the new Pride and Prejudice… it was fantastic. My friend came up and we had proper tea – the first good cup since I’ve been here. Turkish tea is very bitter, loose and well not to my taste. Luckily she has Earl Grey. Yummy! So we decided to venture out, have lunch and visit the village where her boyfriend and his family live. They are Arab Alawis and so very very nice. After a 15 minute bus ride, 15 walk, we ended up down a road that was named for his grandfather. The whole road, the land and various houses all belong to his family. His house, grandmother and the gardens across the street, his aunts and cousins just a few paces further down, you get it. There are fruit ... read more
River
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River2

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya June 16th 2012

I have changed my focus for research. The Cult of Saint Mary, while interesting – was not “panning out” as they say. With this realization and the inspiration given by a friend I have decided to embark on a study of women’s sexuality in Turkey. I hope to include interviews, news sources, academic writings, etc. My friend said that her father-in-law paints the outside of his house every year, but never touches the inside. It’s about appearances. And in the Middle East in general, the appearance of a family’s holiness is in their women. In the South we refer to these types of individuals as being “Sunday Mornin’ Sorry.” For those of you who are not blessed enough to come from the South – let me explain. Men (and women – you know who you are) ... read more

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Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya June 12th 2012

I would normally be telling you of the wondrous sites I’ve seen – but this weekend has been pretty boring. However, I did make a great new friend who is from Canada. She is smart, funny and has a gigantic heart for all things furry. No wonder we bonded. That said – here is something else that is absolutely amazing about her – she has worked with exploited women in the sex trade. As a simple American girl I must admit that I really don’t think about sex slavery. We have prostitutes who are self enslaved because of drugs or alcohol usually. The idea that girls are stolen and forced into such things is rather hidden in our culture. Here it is not the case. There are brothels in Turkey. Many of the women are brought ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya June 5th 2012

I took our puppy Bebek to walk. We are trying to be kind to it – street dogs have terrible lives here but our situation with her is complicated by the neighborhood. I try to walk her two to three times a day but the children hit at her and I often feel it is unsafe to walk her at all. Today in fact a little boy ran up from behind us and hit her hard on the back. Of course there are no parents to discipline these children. They literally play outside their courtyards, run the streets – all of them looking and behaving little dirty orphans. Yesterday – I came across a boy who choking a smaller one in the street. I ran up to stop him; he then slapped the little boy hard ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya June 4th 2012

Yesterday we went to an Armenian Village known as Vakifli. It is the only Armenian village left in Turkey. The historian in me would like to insert a piece about the genocide that occurred but instead I will offer a link to their site and a brief encyclopedic entry: Aremenian Genocide This is not the day we had. It was a lively day – with music and food, even a wedding - where we saw the tree of Moses - the oldest tree in Turkey. We had an interview with the Armenian leader there at the church. He was by trade a veterinarian – which I found interesting of course. Then we went to meet a priest at a tea house down the hill. He never showed but we met this wonderful older man who played ... read more
Our Guide
Walking 2
Abandoned Historical Home

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya June 1st 2012

Today I went with Bebek, formerly known as Ekmek. We had to rename her because Ekmek is considered holy and naming the dog that could be seen as offensive… whatever. So back to my story… Bebek and I caught a bus to Harbiye – to the Springs of Daphne. As you head down into the falls you are surrounded by little shops selling cheap junk, bobbles, tchotchkes, you know the stuff – only here it has Ataturk, crescent moons and evil eyes on it. We walk to the first falls, oh they are so beautiful. Bebek is fascinated by the water, me by the smell across the dirt road. (I had forgotten to eat breakfast) We wander into an outdoor café and she and I share some chicken, in the shade. It was hot today, but ... read more
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Second Cafe 2
Pond

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya May 31st 2012

I have writers block. It happens I guess but it is painful. I keep thinking about what Sol Stein said – “Just write” – I guess there is something to just making yourself sit with your own thoughts, unless of course they are racing, like mine always seem to be. I want to be a good writer – really, but everything I write seems like some failed attempt at being heard. I am here to write, to experience, to find some hidden meaning of life as I traverse tiny streets and gaze up at beautiful skies. But it isn’t always beautiful is it? The streets here can be smelly with rotting garbage and the cars and motorbikes lend a dusty and diesel smell to the air. The cobblestones that, at a distance, appear so charming are ... read more
Abandoned
Street Art




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