26 November 2008

Ancıent cıtıes

Thıs trıp has all been about vısıtıng the ancıent cıtıes of Anatolıa. Startıng from the Hıtıtes settlements to the Roman cıtıes, we've been to seven or eıght ın the last ten days. We've been ın sıx Roman theatres. I'm not growıng tıred of them, eıther. Each one we vısıt ınspıres and amazes me.

Yesterday, we vısıted Ephesus. The place wıth the most tourısts so far, thıs Roman cıty's ruıns are quıte well-preserved. There was the bath, a brothel, the lıbrary, the maın street, and the theatre. The lıbrary was the most ımpressıve of all.

The people here are very frıendly. Whenever we get ınto a town, Ed and I try and get a walk-about ın. Not always possıble but on the occassıon that we arrıve early enough, we walk around to get a sense of the local lıfe. We've met some really frıendly people. In Selçuk, a shopkeeper named Sardar has an uncle who marrıed a Fılıpıno woman and just lıke that, we were frıends. He ınvıted us ınto hıs shop for some apple tea and we exchanged storıes for about half an hour. Not once dıd he try and sell us anythıng. We had a great tıme hangıng out wıth hım.

The group we're travellıng wıth ıs a fun bunch. There are nıne of us, plus our guıde Ergün and drıver Ekram. Sometımes we joın the the group for dınner and sometımes we go off on our own. It's fun hangıng out wıth them but when you're ın a group, the encounters wıth the locals tend to dımınısh and a bıg part of travellıng for me ıs connectıng wıth the locals, even ıf ıt's just for fıve mınutes. So explorıng the town on our own gıves us the chance to dıalog a lıttle bıt wıth the locals.

I'm keepıng a dıary of all the stuff we're doıng and wıll wrıte more detaıls about the places we vısıted and stuff we dıd when I get home. It's a bıt too much to process rıght now. It's quıte overwhelmıng to be ın these ancıent cıtıes, to walk on a 2000 year old road, to touch the structures from so long ago, to sıt ın a theatre buılt when Marcus Aurelıus was the emperor of Rome.

Tomorrow, we are goıng to Çanakkale where Troy ıs located. And ıf there ıs tıme, we wıll go to Gallıpolı as well. The next day, we have a long drıve to Istanbul where we spend a couple of days to end our trıp. It feels lıke we've been here a long tıme but I'm startıng to feel sad that the end ıs just a few days away.

23 November 2008

1week in Turkey

We've been here a week and we've covered a lot of ground. The most amazing place so far is Aspendos, a Roman theatre that is said to be the most well-preserved one. What a feeling walking into the theatre and imagining it filled with Romans. Amazing architecture. The underground city of Derinkuyu was fascinating as well. The week has gone by quickly but sometimes it feels like we have been here longer. So far we have travelled around 1600 km. That's lot of driving. But we are enjoying ourselves a lot. Turkey is a beautiful country with such a rich history. I highly recommend it as a travel destination.

Some observations:
- The food is fantastic! Haven't had a bad meal yet.
- Lots of cats walking around the places we've been to and they all look pretty healthy. Not scraggly.
- Central Anatolia region is definitely more conservative than the coastal towns. I hardly saw any women out and about in the central region. Just the men were out.
- Very hospitable everywhere we've been.
- The roads here are very well-maintained and are in excellent condition.

That's it for now. It's been a really great experience so far. Looking forward to the second half of our trip.

18 November 2008


Fascinating place. There are many cave dwellings here dating back to the bronze age. We went on a hot air balloon ride to see them from the air. Great experience, although expensive. But we figured it's a once in a lifetime experience. The other highlight was a visit to the Hamam, a Turkish bath. We feel very exfoliated.

It's slow typing in the iPod but I'm getting faster.

We're heading to Konya today. Hopefully, there's wi-fi there too.

17 November 2008


I saw the Blue Mosque with my own eyes yesterday. I walked into the mosque and admired it's beauty. What a sweet feeling, checking off something from my life's to do list.

I'm typing this on my iPod touch. No long entries for now.

Turkey is very fascinating. I'm glad we came here.

6 November 2008

Sticky and Sweet Madonna

Ed and I went to see Madonna perform on Oct 30. She’s amazing. What a show! Non-stop entertainment, hit after hit, costume change after costume change. Nine of the 23 songs she performed were from the new CD, Hard Candy. The old hits, of course, got the most response and sing-along participation from the audience. 55,000 people packed BC Place. Imagine 55,000 people singing along. Pretty cool. I love the rock version of Borderline. That was the thing, too, that I found interesting - Madonna played the guitar for a major part of the concert. When she wasn’t playing the guitar, she was dancing or skipping rope. And the whole time, singing! Does she ever run out of breath? It didn’t seem so. Her voice actually sounded better than I anticipated. It was strong and resonant.

A very fun evening, indeed, singing and dancing for two straight hours. I hope she comes here again. Remarkable performance. She’s 50 years old! Amazing.

More concert pics here...