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The New Barbie!

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One day, early on in our friendship, I went to visit Gülsüm. We sat and chatted and then she invited me to come with her to visit her mother. Her mum lives less than 500m from her. So off we set. The first thi

ng I noticed when we arrived at the house was about 10 pairs of ladies shoes outside the door. Oh oh!. Sure enough when we went in there were eight women of varying ages, sitting and chatting. Not only were they chatting but everyone of them had some handwork, knitting, sewing crotchet. İt was like stepping back a couple of generations in İreland. Gülsüm told them I was a friend and immediately they

started to ask her about me. Where was I from, was İ married, where was my husband, did İ have children,were we renting a house……?????????? Much to their surprise, I answered the basic questions in Turkish. There was an immediate cry of….’Come to my house, come to my house, I live…….’ One lady wanted me to tell her why her husband who had died of cancer when working in a factory in Holland hadn’t received her pension form the EU and could I sort it out for her.

Later, I went back to Sean and told him that even though İ didn’t have the body for it, he was looking at the new Barbie. Everyone wanted to play with me!

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Third Wish

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In fairy tales the first wish is foolish, the second is used to correct the damage done by the first one. The third wish is the one that must be used wisely and well and usually with the help of your friends!

I regularly wish for peace and quiet. And now this wish was about to be granted, a weeks holidays on my own. Many people ask me what will I do for the week, wouldn’t I be lonely? My difficulty is finding time to myself. Therefore when I find it I make the most of it. So what had I planned for this week? Apart from preparing the house for Mum’s visit in April, I was planning to catch up on my reading.

I had bought “The Red Tent” an excellent book by Anita Diamont for a friend for Christmas. Unfortunately she had read it. I asked her what she likes to read. She likes novels set in other countries. I immediately thought of  the quadrilogy “The Jewel in the Crown” which I had read some years ago. I went on the net to look for it and got distracted by a poem I used to have on the wall of my classroom years ago ” Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. This in its turn lead me to the author’s online journal. I really liked his writing and then I discovered he had written a novel “Third Wish”

Third Wish is a 5 volume 2 book novel that comes with a CD of original music. Robert Fulghum writes that “music is an elemental dimension of being human. The music we carry in our minds reveals much about us” Therefore the music in the lives of the characters of the novel was included on a CD to reveal more of their humanity. We are asked to pay as much attention to the music as the written word. The novel starts at a table in a taverna in Crete and winds its way to Japan, France, England Seattle and back to Greece. It is a journey, not only through countries, but through the minds and relationships of the characters.  The themes are slowly, witness and surprise. Not only does the book come with its own music but it has over 150 illustrations. The book begins with this poem.

Instructions For Wayfarers

They will declare: Every journey has been taken.
You shall respond: I have not been to see myself.
They will insist: Everything has been spoken.
You shall reply: I have not had my say.
They will tell you: Everything has been done.
You shall reply: My way is not complete.
You are warned: Any way is long, any way is hard.
Fear not. You are the gate – you, the gatekeeper.
And you shall go through and on . . .
—Alexandros Evangelou Xenopouloudakis,
THIRD WISH

I tracked it down on Amazon.com and read the first few pages online. I was intrigued and decided to buy it for my friend……and also for myself. I could not wait for her to finish it. Amazingly,  considering the size and the CD, the book was not expensive, but the postage was. Anne was not in a hurry for the book so I ordered it, with standard postage. It would take over a month to arrive. Unfortunately, a few days later I got an email telling me my order was cancelled. The book was out of stock!

I ordered it from 5 different suppliers and  each time they cancelled the order, giving the same reason, out of stock. I was getting more and more frustrated! Eventually I ordered it from Amazon.com itself and by now I decided to have it sent by priority shipping. I was growing impatient. The two copies of the book cost €13.11 and €44.78 for the postage. Each copy weighs 3kg!

I managed to keep my hands off the book and keep it for my holiday. I must be crazy because it was 3kg of my 20kg baggage allowance. I hoped to finish it in the week. I read it in two and a half days.  Everytime I thought I knew what happening next there was another surprise waiting for me. It was worth the wait, the weight and every penny of the postage!

Friends and Fishing Nets!

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I arrived in Türkbükü at approximately 9 o’clock on Monday morning. I no sooner had the car parked than Metin was out to carry my bags.  It was a beautiful sunny morning. I opened the door and reeled back in shock. The houses on our site were built as summer houses. Because of this, there are no south-facing windows. It was colder inside than out.

'home' again

I immediately opened all the shutters to let in the light and switched on the gas super ser. Opening the shutters was an immediate signal that I had arrived and shortly my phone gave a couple of quick beeps. Gulsum’s signal to ring her back. Gülsüm is my friend from across the road. She has taken me into her home and into her heart. She speaks no english and is very patient with my turkish. Instead of the rapid fire Turkish she usually speaks she has learned to simply everything so that İ can understand.

Gülsüm

Gülsüm married young, at the age of seventeen and now has two sons in their twenties. The youngest, Onur is engaged and impatient to marry but is in the middle of his military service. Military service in Turkey is unpaid and the loss of his income to the family is substantial. The family is all engaged in tourism, or seasonal work, the boys drive their own taxi and Olcay, Gülsüm’s husband drives his own water tanker. Off season life is difficult with little work to be had. Enter Gülsüm! She makes and repairs fishing nets. İt is amazing to see. She sits on her living room floor, from sunrise to way past sun set. Everywhere you look there are nets.  Her house has  wonderful views out over the bay and it is a joy to sit on her balcony in the summer enjoying the sea breeze that blows up the hill.

The view from Gülsüm's balcony

In winter time the same balcony is filled with nets. She has worked everyday, without fail, since İ was last out in October making the nets. There are different size nets depending on the fishing season. Sometimes, the mesh is large and she can complete a net in a day but when a fine mesh is required, it takes 2 days to finish. She receives 40 Turkish Lira (tl) for each finished net. In addition to all this, she looks after her family. does all the housework and is an amazing cook. I used to lose weight when İ went to Turkey first on holidays, and then İ met Gülsüm. Sure enough, shortly she appeared on my doorstep, with a plate in her hand. Roll on the week, I’m going to dine well. Below are some photos of Gülsüm and her friends at work. Thanks to my friend Rasa for the photos.

Ladies at work!

 

 

Images of Frankfurt

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The “Pencil” – the second tallest building in Europe. 
Romer Platz

Arch near Romer Platz

Old building near the river

Main Train Station – the Hauptbanhoff

People strolling along by the river Main

The Beer Bike- You can cycle around to work up a thirst!

St Paul’s Church

Open for business

Enjoying the nice weather.

A weight on their shoulders

The Hammering Man.

Six hours in Frankfurt.

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Saturday 12th March, I set off for Bodrum, taking the scenic route. Instead of my normal flight from Dublin to Istanbul, I was flying Dublin to Istanbul via Frankfurt am Main. The budget cuts in my pay check are beginning to bite and now I look for the cheapest route rather than the most convenient!

I have not been able to post here for a while as Blogger has been blocked in Turkey. There was a complaint form Digiturk, a major satellite TV provider that some members of Blogger were illegally broadcasting football matches. Hence the shutdown there!
My journey began at 07.50 when I caught the bus to Dublin airport. I promptly fell asleep, awakening almost two hours later as we approached Dublin Airport
I checked in with no difficulty (my bag was not overweight…..for  a change) and had enough time to spare to have a cup of coffee and a danish.  I found an unsecured wireless signal and checked my emails.
Once we had boarded, it was off to sleep like a baby. At the moment I have a mild dose of sinusitis, a real pain in the face, so I’m taking Actifed, to try and unblock them. It makes me very drowsy, a blessing in disguise when I’m travelling.

I arrived in Frankfurt at 15.30, with a 6 our wait to board my flight to Istanbul. Thanks to the miracle of Google I had found that there was an organised city tour leaving from the hotel desk in the arrivals hall at 16.00. I had emailed them to enquire about the tour and it seemed they were expecting me. I hadn’t booked but they had contacted the company to come and collect me!
Our tour guide was also my pick up driver. The bus tour began in the city and he had come to the airport to collect me. Well, he started on a diatribe on the drive into the city! When he discovered I was en route to Turkey he immediately launched into a spiel about the Turks in Germany and how they, along with the Albanians, Bulgarians and people from the former Republic of Yugoslavia were responsible for most of the crime in Turkey. The EU was responsible for opening the floodgates for the dregs of Europe to come to Germany. They should have stayed out of the EU and the Euro………
Our tour bus
We then picked up a guy from Kuwait who was also going on the tour. He was also a problem for our guide. He was saying 200m from the tour office but we had to drive 4km to collect him, due to the one way system. Of course this took us through the red light area, needless to say you would not find a single German in this area, only the Albanians, Bulgarians and Turks.
We were brought to an open topped double decker bus and told to take our seat. He hoped we wouldn’t have difficulty finding a seat, as there were only 85 seats and there were two of us.
We then set off on what you could really say was a private tour of Frankfurt. Our guide gave us an excellent commentary on the city-surprising considering his earlier rant – full of humour and jokes. Interestingly, many museums were pointed out to us but the Jewish museum, he neglected to mention.
Debit and Credit!
We  sat in the open air. Today was the warmest day they have had so far, it was 16°.  Yesterday , early morning, it was -5.  People were sitting out for the first time, enjoying their coffee or beer.
Frankfurt is a city of contrasts. 85% of the city had to be rebuilt after World War 2. It is a very modern city, sometimes nicknamed “Bankfurt” as it has a huge commercial centre. The city is the 5th city of Germany but it is the largest financial centre and has one of the busiest airports  in Europe. It is not a tourist centre, people fly in and out of here without ever leaving the airport. The twin towers of the Deutsche Bank are fondly known locally as Debit and Credit. Frankfurt is the headquarters of the European Bank, no mean feat for a city of just over 640.000 people.
Building in Romer Platz
Frankfurt is the third largest trade fair centre in the world and holds the worlds largest motor exposition every year at which all the new cars are launched. In addition it also host the worlds largest book fair. Hotel rooms for these exhibitions are often booked two years in advance and room prices soar.
In normal times a single room in a  3 star hotel costs approximately 59 euro. In Jan – Feb when there are no tourists the same room costs 29 euro and the hotel is still empty. During a trade fair, you would be lucky to get the room for 240 euro.

We had a free half hour to wander round the Romer Platz and take photos. The old buildings are beautiful but sadly few and far between. They are juxtaposed beside modern skyscrapers.
After we got back on the bus we had amazingly picked up another four people.
It may be a business rather than a tourist town but it is a place that is worth a stopover or adding a couple of days .to your business trip to explore

Followers!

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Whoppee, the excitement!! I have my first followers.
I had never written before last May when I uploaded the account of our trip to Cappadocia and Mardin to The Turkish Living Forum of which I am a member http://www.turkishliving.com/. The positive comments I received there, led me to delusions of grandeur and hence to writing this blog.

One of the most enjoyable part of writing the blog, for me,  is looking at the statistics. You can see how many page views there are each day and from what countries.

I was so excited yesterday when I logged in to find I had my first followers! So thank you Cathy and Corinne. You made my day. It was a wonderful start to my week. Cathy and Corinne are also bloggers. You can see Cathy’s Blog at http://cjtittle.blogspot.com/ and Corinne’s at http://www.everydaygyaan.com/

One of my  current favourite writers, Robert Fulghum, said “When we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness -“ 

Doorways

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Mor Gabriel Monastery Midyat.

Door Handle Bodrum Castle

Photography is my one of my hobbies. Like with most things in my life I’m an enthusiastic amateur! I recently got a new camera, slightly more complicated than the last. It is taking me a while to get used to it so some of my more recent photos are not quite in focus. So please bear with me.
I’m not good at photographing people, my friends often wonder if I holiday on my own! There are rarely people in my holiday shots. I’m constantly telling my poor long-suffering husband to move out of the way, he’s spoiling the shot.

Topkapi Palace Istanbul

Inlaid Mother of Pearl Topkapi Palace

A recurrent theme in my photos is   doors and doorways. I find them fascinating. Doors, tall, small, ornate, plain, wooden, metal,
PVC,  locked, ajar,  house or
garden, battered or new, every
colour under the rainbow I wonder about the hidden lives behind them , who has passed through them, what stories they could tell.

Everyday we pass through doors, physical and metaphysical. Whether we choose to open or close these doors determines our future. Doors beckon us in to new experiences  new opportunities, open new chapters  in our lives and allow us to close the door on the past.

Here are a few of my favourites.

River entrance to Dolmabahce Palace Istanbul
Topkapi Palace Istanbul
Bathroom Door Topkapi Palace
Old Door Mardin
Kervanseray outside Kayseri

Multiple Doors Goreme
Street Doors Uchisar
Hotel Doors Goreme

Only inhabitant of Becin Kalesi, Milas
 sits at her door

Low door at stone age dwelling
Wexford Heritage Park
Main door Trinity College Dublin

Traditional Irish half door Glendalough
Georgian door Dublin
Sunday Morning at Mosque in Mardin
Door with vine Mugla
Old door in Mugla
Mugla
Entrance door, windmill Gumbet
In Budapest

Budapest