Blogs from Middle East


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul July 28th 2014

ISTANBUL SUNDAY/MONDAY 27/28 July, '14 Today is my last day on the Silk Road and my last blog, until next time. Recipients who want relief from torture, can let me know and I will remove you from the email list, no issue! It is with mixed emotion that I write this. I am sad to be ending a journey I had contemplated for a lengthy period. Whilst I didn't complete it on the bike, I know it wasn't riding the bike that defeated me, rather the gastro issues became an important concern, something that I had given scant regard to before starting the trip. Whilst it was always a possibility, I don't generally experience those issues. It was the side effects, experienced in short dose, that concerned me more, and it was those I rationalised would ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beşiktaş July 28th 2014

Merhaba blogcular! Yes I realize it has been a long time since I last wrote an entry, but never fear I am still alive! Since my last entry I have traveled Istanbul a "bit" more, mainly meaning Burc Beach, Kadakoy, Eminonu, and the streets surrounding Taksim Square. So without further ado, Burc Beach is located in Kilyos and is owned by Bogazici University making it beautifully free during weekdays with a student I.D. Two friends and I embarked early on a Tuesday morning to travel on the hour long bus ride to Kilyos. Now I would like to interject that I have never been to a legitimate beach such as one that is located at the shores of a sea or ocean. Kilyos is stationed on the shores of the Black Sea, and my first thought ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul July 27th 2014

ISTANBUL. SATURDAY 26.7.14 Another magnificent weather day. Wandered down to the international rail station to enquire about trains heading west. Sophia, Bulgaria is 14 hours away via night train. A pity as I think the scenery along the Bosphorus would be stunning in daylight. At only 17€ , the price is right. The spice market beckoned. It seemed a little different to my last visit 20 years ago. Not as many spice stalls, with more shops selling jewellery, ceramics and tourist memorabilia. Must be higher margin. Nonetheless the spices smelt and looked fantastic. Also the cooked sweet dishes. In this part of the Mediterranean, the food seems very similar, just called something different. Sweets are coated in honey and pistachio and walnuts. Very tasty. Those kilos I lost, more likely misplaced it now seems, have been ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul July 26th 2014

ISTANBUL. FRIDAY 25.7.14 Another beautiful weather day. Woken by the call to prayer at 4.14, didn't realise it started so early. As hotel is surrounded by mosques, the calls start at slightly different times. Some sound as though they are answering another's call, but I think in reality they all say the same words, just different accents, and as the calls are in Arabic, it's not as though I can comprehend what is said. However they sound very exotic and add mystery to this marvellous city. Spent time wandering the Grand Bazaar, a huge collection of small shops selling jewellery, pottery and ceramics, carpets and kilims, coffee, tourist treasures and material. All very exotic. Got caught short so needed to dash back to hotel. The bug has not fully left me yet. Planned the Spice Bazaar, ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Fethiye July 26th 2014

Turkish Delights.... Monday 7th July Checked out of hotel at 12, went over to Ankur's and watched Gravity in 3D, apparently another film I have to watch for my life to be complete!! Lol At 3pm we left and Ankur dropped me off at Delhi about Deja Vu! This time I was definitely leaving India for a while, no coming back the following week as my visa was shortly going to expire! So I said an emotional farewell to the country I love, oh and Ankur and headed towards my 6.20pm plane to Mumbai. Flight, thankfully, was turbulence! Arrived in Mumbai at 9pm and waited for Kirsty who flew into Mumbai from Kochi at 10pm! We met up at 11pm and grabbed a bite to eat and drink and chatted about each others previous ... read more
Kittens in Istanbul
Galata Tower
View from Galata Tower


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara July 25th 2014

DUSHANBE WEDNESDAY 23.7.14 My second day in D. Again very hot 35C. Receptionist told me that in winter the av. day temperature is -15C. I wouldn't like to live here because of those ranges! Walked to the Central Park boarded on one side by a massive library building, then the massive presidential palace, then another massive domed building under construction,then the main thoroughfare lined with government buildings and banks. Around the park were impressive water fountains pumping out litres of water. Amazing considering much of the country I rode through looked like desert. Maybe snow melt fills the dams, or simply the President likes fountains! This is a featureless town, dressed up with wide roads and imposing government buildings of minimal style. Not many redeeming features and largely forgettable. Not much by way of shopping. Seemed ... read more

Middle East » Qatar » Doha July 18th 2014

It has been a while since I've written anything, but such is the life here. All work and no play (I won't finish that sentence because I'm actually watching a creepy show by myself in the dark...). Anyway. Just a quick breakdown of what has been happening. Work Life Upon returning from our great trip to Oman, I returned straight to work. It has become very busy for us here, even with the summer working hours. During Summertime in the Middle East, and Qatar in particular, you cannot work outside during the hot part of the day: 11:30am to 3:00pm. In addition, Ramadan began at the end of June. You do not know exactly what days Ramadan, or any Islamic holiday, will fall on until the sighting of the moon. In Qatar this typically means that ... read more
Tina's last night
Shannon at the Souk
My new artwork!

Middle East » Iran » North » Zanjan July 16th 2014

Alam-Kandi summers & the Shahsavan nomads of Iran Yes, visiting the nomadic tribes can be amazing especially when they, mostly, do not speak the official language of your own country! :D but seems that translators are everywhere like these beautiful children. :) P.S. I hope that you know the name of official language in Iran is FARSI which is very different from Arabic! ;-) Fortunately, this time we could catch these wonderful nomadic in Alam-Kandi summers ;-) It is always interesting to hear about their lifestyle, drinking tea with them, eating fresh dairy products while being in their tented accommodation! I am very lucky that I had the opportunity to meet a great variety of very kind and friendly people there. These Azeri-Turkish speaking pastoralists migrate between their winter quarters, qishlaq, and their summer quarters, yeylaq! ... read more
me just in front of their tent. unfortunately they were not that much camera friendly
i loved these colors :)
on the way

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beşiktaş July 15th 2014

Yeash, it has been awhile. So for starters, you all haven't missed much. Things have slowed down considerably lately due to high heat, a mid-term exam, and recently being more caught up in little league baseball than the average bear. However, the other day my roommate and I did go on a grand adventure to the Istanbul Modern Art Museum. This was one of the many times I am grateful for being a student in this country, there are so many discounts! Once we were inside we were greeted with a "plane" emerging from one wall, four glass walls puckered with bullet holes surrounding a staircase in the middle of the room leading to the bottom floor, and a mural of colors that covered a wall completely from floor to ceiling. Now personally I have never ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Ephesus July 14th 2014

There were stones piled everywhere. Lengths of columns. building blocks, sections of red-brick arches. Some marked with nomenclature numbers while others had no identifiers at all. Weeds grew between the stones as if they hadn't been moved in a while. We were in Ephesus which is a premier destination for folks visiting Turkey though not many people will spend a night here. Most visitors arrive via tour bus from Izmir and most of these are cruise ship passengers taking a day trip. Ephesus was one of ancient Rome's greatest Asian cities. A fine natural harbor and the commerce it invited supported a population that, at one time, reached between 35,000 and 50,000 residents. Founded by the Greeks around 1,000 BC it didn't reach its zenith until the Romans arrived about 150 BC. After the harbor silted ... read more
Mosaic Floor
Smartest Person In Ephesus
Street To Old Port

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