Friday, October 28, 2005

The final account of Turkey

Heading to Kusadasi.
Heading to Kusadasi. Bus ride was ok. I took Dramamine- or Dopeamine as Kashif calls it. It’s supposed to make you mildly drowsy…But I should have questioned that when it said“warning do not operate heavy machinery while using this”…. I felt very drugged… Halfway in the trip I realize the boat is heading full speed for the sea of Marmara….me and Kashif look around frantically as we head for the waters…but everyone else is sleeping, listening to music, or reading a magazine…. then it glides onto a boat and now we’re seaborne……very weird.

Then we get to Kusadasi- no hotel booked and we DO NOT have a clue. Taxi-man takes us to the sea-shore. “I have good hotel -very cheap.” Wait… Wait….. No… we don’t want to get ripped off again… admist our half uttered no’s…. a man takes our luggage inside to Liman ‘Otel. Maybe all taxi cab drivers aren’t out to get you …. Hotel Liman is owned by Hasan, also known as Mr. Happy. How much is a double bed room with a balcony overlooking a fort, the Aegean sea, Ataturk monument and a panoramic view of the city? 25$ yes. Cheaper than our taxes for the hotel in Puerto Rico.

I love Kusadasi. And of Kusadasi I love its people. Mr. Happy, (who sometimes says, no I’m more like Mr. Stressed or Mr. Grumpy) is hilarious and hospitable. His brother Omar who is more conservative but equally hospitable, were not being nice to generate business, they were truly nice. It was more like being with good friends than being a tenant for a night.

Everyone is so nice here. I feel I'm in a city filled with my closest friends and family. I read that in the summer months it can rival Las Vegas for nightlife. But no one is here yet. It is -quiet- peaceful-. “Tea on the house,” “Good luck mittens for your lady friend”… I’m happy to be here, I feel relaxed… .We saw a musjid in this deceivingly European city. It looks out of place amid the bars and nightclubs that surround it. But it too is beautiful.

Explored a fort and saw the sunset as we sat atop this sprawling fort. Pigeons, hens, roosters, turkeys and rabbits were all cohabiting in surprising numbers at the peak of the fort. (Trivia question: what do you call a turkey in Turkey? Hindi….Hindi? go figure..)… As with all the other animals in Turkey, they are not afraid of humans, instead, they seem to look at you saying “Do you mind?”

Ephesus, Turkey
Ephesus is haunting and beautiful. It's one of the seven wonders the ancient world.... hard to imagine that it’s all real because there is so much there. It was once a thriving city of the Romans. We can still see the library that is still surprisingly well preserved… their homes, their markets and coliseums are so intact you can close your eyes and picture what it was like back then. It is a humbling experience to be among such history. To walk upon the stones that great thinkers and ordinary people just like me walked before. It’s very humbling to see how time is not that long. Ephesus is not 200 years old, its over 2,000 years old.

Back In Istanbul

I am slightly…. No STRONGLY… repulsed by the opulence of the sultans….. and their actions.
I learned they would lock their brothers in small apartment confines, referred to as cages, where they would be confined to for decades. The sultans did this because they were paranoid. Paranoid that a brother may kill them and take the throne. So to make sure it didn’t happen, they drove them to death or insanity locked up for decades in cages. Some were sent to Prince’s Island. The beautiful Islands we could see from the rooftop…. You locked them up in anterooms? Brother? You locked your brothers to placate your paranoia’s… did you forget the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow we live in?

I am sitting on the rooftop looking at the blue mosque on one side,the Bosphorous on the other. It creates a nice breeze. I see a seagull building a nest across my hotel. Every so often she brings a new discovery for her home. In a second- she flies off again. She’s got work to do.. I’m on vacation.

Final Cab Drive to Airport

Our last taxi cab Brother defintely knew how to do a grand finale. As we went to the airport (from his driving pattern he must surely have been recently released from a home for the criminally insane). As he drove, he nearly ran over an elderly lady with her son. The man must have mouthed something rude towadrs him. What does our “Clockwork Orange” patient do? On the highway going 70 MPH…. He SLAMS. And when I say Slams, I mean SLAMS them. We and our luggage lunge forward. Then…. At NINETY miles per hour (okay maybe 80)… he reverses back to the two people. Need I remind you a son with his ELDERELY mother, who was maybe 85? He GETS OUT OF THE CAR. Runs up screaming and cursing. Hops back in and gets us to the airport…..We gave him all he asked for at the end of the journey. We will miss the taxi-men most of all…

The Flight Home…..
I’m going back home now. I felt a sense of emptiness last night knowing it was our last day. I almost cried last night as we prayed for the last time at the Blue Mosque. I sat there in the quietness. Then I listened to the Imam with his beautiful recitation. I will miss walking to a musjid such as this to pray. I will miss hearing the Adhan five times a day. I will miss the M-word being a good thing, a positive thing. I know- I’m on vacation- but I never felt so home in any place I visited as I did in Istanbul. I know it’s time to go back, but I will miss Turkey.

24 comments:

Maleeha said...

beautiful. amazing. thank you for sharing your trip. i learned so much.

Aisha said...

thanks maleeha for reading it. I'm glad it meant something to you.

Anonymous said...

very touching ... feels like i'm right there with you

mystic-soul said...

Khuda ki qasam..maza aa gaya...

Bohut khub..wah wah...

khusi aur gum saath saath..

(I read this post 3 times)...

Aisha said...

Mystic, thank you I'm glad this post touched you somehow...

Anonymous, thanks, (who are you??) :)

Mia said...

Loved it, I feel as if I were lookin through your eyes.

FM said...

Great going!. Awesome :).

What do you think about the attitude of the turkish people who are so eager to join the EU?

with regards
FM

Raheel said...

Beautiful.. expression folded in words, I like it!

ASH said...

I'm packing my bags now.....

Aisha said...

Mia and Raheel, thanks!!!! :)

FM, I'm not sure if I'm 100% qualified to answer the question of why the Turks are eager to join the EU. From a layman's perspective I think this would be economically helpful and come on, they are in EUROPE... it kind of makes sense.

Ash, lol :) Yes.. I think I should get some money from the Turkish Tourism Director for some heavy duty marketing ;). Are you guys still going to India?

Fahd Mirza said...

I enjoyed your trip as I were also there. Thanks

Jane said...

I loved your stories...

say what? said...

did you visit the top kapi palace and museum :)

my fathers been there and i got a ton of pics, i just wish i get to travel there too (A)

Aisha said...

Fahad Mirza, thank you for stopping by!

Jane, thanks:)

TDH: yes. That was a really neat place. We spent half a day there. You really must visit.

Aamina said...

Do you want to go back? Or are you just sharing your time in Turkey...?





Thanks for the comment, I don't know what if I'll use it. You can tell I'm a bit stubborn. Runs in the family, don't you think?

Aisha said...

hi aamina, just remeniscing. not planning to go anytime soon:) What are you talking about the comment and not using it? I'm confused.

Tee said...

I so enjoyed all these stories. Turkey was not on my list of places I wanted to visit until now. I am not even Muslim but I can still completely understand the emotions you felt. Maybe I am blessed to be able to empathize with people this way. Maybe you just told the story so well... Maybe a bit of both :)

ASH said...

Aisha: Not sure, India is definitely on the list. But we are also planning Hajj for next year as well. We'll have to see. Turkey, Malaysia and Dubai are on the list as well.

Aisha said...

You're doing Hajj next year? We need to talk because that's when we are planning to do it as well. It wuld be nice to do it with friends.

Abu Sinan said...

Nice picture and story. We named our new son after Sinan the Turkish builder.

Aisha said...

mash'allah Sinan is a really cute kid!

Kashmiri said...

I wanna go on vacation again.. :(

Beautiful account fo your trip Aisha. I hope you get to travel more further. You are welcome to Japan with Mr. Kashif :)

Aisha said...

Salam Kashmiri and welcome back after a long hiatus! Thanks for your comment, and you know I really want to visit Japan... either Japan or China. I'A:)

Ktara said...

Hi, thanks for sharing... sounds like you found your heart...

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