A Travellerspoint blog

Istanbul Modern

rain 49 °F
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Istanbul Modern

Today we went to the Istanbul Modern. It is the MOMA of Istanbul. We saw a series of paintings and sculptures ranging from a tripping egg delivery boy to a slathered oil painting. Some of the stuff was similar to that of the Modern art museum in New York, but others were so out there I can't even explain them.
My favorite was a yellow and black oil painting.

The canvas was first covered in a layer of black, grey, and yellow paint. These colors were caked on heavily on blob like patches. They covered the whole board. Then the entire canvas was covered in a thick layer of orange/yellow and brown. The paint used on the top had a spongy finish on it. This layer must have been about two centimeters thick. Then the artist took a large scraper and while the paint was still wet ran it all around the painting revealing the black and neon yellow background. The soft yellow and the intense black really pulled me into the painting and made it interesting to look. I even want to try this when I get home.

The other one that I liked was a board covered with old newspaper clippings that had a faded brown tone almost like paper dipped in black tea (a trick I learned back in fifth grade). Then on top of that layer of news clippings was various patches of marbled paint. It looked as if the artist had put several globs of paint in a circle and then used a skewer to swirl them. This was cool to look at because at first it looks like a brown canvas with spots of color but when you get up close and really look at it the creativity of the painting really shows.

Another was a geometric painting of a half circle and some rectangles. The rectangles were solid but the half circle had a amazing display of purple paint fading out. The coolest part though was that you couldn't see any brush strokes, only a perfect fading half circle. It somewhat reminded me of a sunset.

Being at this museum really gave me some inspiration for my own art by showing some different ways that I can interpret an object. I am now really motivated to start painting and drawing more often.

Posted by Arellaskye 00:17 Archived in Turkey Tagged family_travel Comments (3)

I am here.....

Sometimes I have to pinch myself!

semi-overcast 65 °F

Since we first met up with Mehmet and his family Mariposa had been asking everyday, "When do we get to see them again?" Well last Saturday was the day. We took the ferry across the Bosphorus (another form of public transportation here in Istanbul-all forms bus, metro, tram and ferry all cost TL1.50) to Uskador and Mehmet picked us up to go visit his house. The sun was shining and it was warm and beautiful. As I suspected the ferry was a huge thrill for Mariposa and Adrian, specially when they looked in the water and saw hundreds of jelly fish. A short ride across and Mehmet was waiting for us. We drove through Uskador, an older part of the city on the Asian side, and onto the highway. Soon we worked our way out of the city and into the country side. Yona and I felt so good seeing green trees and rolling hills and Mehmet echoed our thoughts saying how good it feels when he heads home from work to leave the city and the stress behind. Their house is about 25 minutes outside the city. Mehmet's girls Zeynep and Irem were excited to see Mariposa and whisked her off to their bedrooms. We enjoyed a nice informal lunch, drank Turkish tea, drank Turkish wine, drank Turkish beer and talked about our travel plans and a myriad of different topics including kids, politics, and travel. The kids played bubbles, fed the ducks at the pond, biked and played video games--it felt like normal life.
Me and Mehmet

Me and Mehmet


Our friend Mehmet!

Our friend Mehmet!


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But of course as in all our adventures it gets better. Mehmet says there is a Polish village down the road called Polonezköy and we can go eat there. The actual translation of Polonezköy is Polish Village--little quirks that I love in other countries. As we drove there Mehmet said we could bar-b-que. I figured sure I love bar-b-que. We came to a place with about 30 outdoor tables, a play area for kids complete with a zip line, and a windmill. Kind of hokey and cute. Soon Mehmet comes back from the main building followed by a guy with raw meat-veal, lamb chops, chicken and lamb shish kebabs, Turkish meatballs and Turkish sausage. Next came the habachi sized grill all hot and ready to go. When Mehmet said bar-b-que he meant bar-b-que- I grabbed the tongs and got busy. As my friend Eddie always says, "Alternate reality button number 17!!" That is where I was- in the Turkish countryside at a Polish village with a bar-b-que delivered to my table and a pile of meat. We cooked, we ate, we drank, we played. Soon Mehmet's close friends Sahap, Gozde and their 12 year old daughter Doga showed up. Doga spoke very good english and had a vibrant personality, quickly making friends with our kids. Actually Arella was talking to someone other than us for the first time on our trip---Yeah!!! We sat and enjoyed the sunset, drinking Turkish tea, drinking Raki(the Turkish special drink-aniseed flavored alcohol) and sharing stories. As it started to get cold, we were getting ready to leave when Doga said to Arella "Do you want to ride with us we are going to my house?" I had no idea that is what we were going to do, but when Mehmet said, "is it ok?" I replied, "absolutely!"- adventure continues!!!
Hello Bar-b-que!

Hello Bar-b-que!


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Oh Yeah!!

Oh Yeah!!


Ayla

Ayla


We drove a short way and we were at Sahap and Gozde's house--a beautiful house on the hills overlooking the city--reminded me of the Oakland hills back home. The sun had just gone down and the view was stunning. Their hospitality was so nice. Soon we were sharing treats, coffee, whiskey, homemade liqueur and Sahap's prideful homemade wines. The kids were up and down the stairs playing, romping, just being kids. The conversation was fun. We laughed about our nights theme of everything being Turkish-even if it wasn't Turkish we would just ad Turkish to the beginning of it and it was Turkish. What fun, warm people we were with--it felt as though we were living here just having a night with family friends--and when we left that is what we realized we had, new family friends! Just another moment that my lucky family has been blessed with on this great adventure of ours.Sahap, Doga and Gozde

Sahap, Doga and Gozde

The Kids

The Kids

Left to right-Emin, Irem, Arella, Adrian, Doga, Posie and Zeynep
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Emin
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Adri getting ready to zip with Emin and Irem
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Posted by sherpaBen 14:41 Archived in Turkey Tagged family_travel Comments (5)

Another week already!

62 °F

Hello all

There were some requests in the last few comments I want to address--

First, the food shopping:
Yes, there are supermarkets here, more in the suburbs though, which is due to space and lifestyle. Where we are it seems that most people still shop the "old" way. This means topping off at the fruit/veggie stand, the meat shop a few doors down, across the street to the bakery, and up the block for diary and cheese, back to a tiny shop on the corner that sells only eggs, or heading the other direction for a row of fish stalls, and a household supplies shop. It takes a while to hit it all, but everything is so fresh!
We have been spending time with Mehmet and his family this last week and I made a point to ask his wife, Ayla, about her shopping habits. They live about an hour outside the city and she always shops at the supermarket, but Mehmet's mother who lives in the city never does. So there you have it--I would think that generational difference is pretty much the norm.
We are enjoying getting our food the "old" way while we are here and have the time.
here goes that 13 lbs

here goes that 13 lbs

nearby fish mart

nearby fish mart

another fish shop

another fish shop

fruit stand down street

fruit stand down street

fresh bread down the street

fresh bread down the street


our pickled pepper store

our pickled pepper store

pickled everything for that matter

pickled everything for that matter

Second, more pics of Posa for AVA!
We convinced her to get these new shoes by telling her that AVA had the same kind--here they are getting broken in on a rainy day when we happened upon a street festival where thousands of balloons were being popped.
the ballon pop fest

the ballon pop fest


fresh mint lemonaid

fresh mint lemonaid

turkish bindi (pickle)

turkish bindi (pickle)

waiting for scraps

waiting for scraps


This was at lunch the other day--this cat was hanging out under our feet. He is quite handsome and friendly just like all the other cats of the neighborhood.

Something we look forward to on our walk to the bus, metro, tram, or tunnel each day is stopping to get a fresh squeezed mix juice. The pomegranates are GIANT and JUICY, the oranges are the sweetest I have ever tasted--what a treat!
fresh pom/orange juice every day

fresh pom/orange juice every day

Yum

Yum

Third, more info about where we are staying--We love our location and apartment. It is nice to be home a bit before we embark on the last month of our travels.
view from apartment

view from apartment

making fruit salad

making fruit salad


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Apt entryway

Apt entryway


teensy elevator to 4th floor

teensy elevator to 4th floor

These are some pics from the few streets around our area. We are in the antique, jazzy, hipster, part of town--so there are lots of cool shops and people to check out
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art mirror

art mirror

more kitties on the block

more kitties on the block

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newest art around corner from house

newest art around corner from house

Posted by MamaYo 14:16 Archived in Turkey Tagged family_travel Comments (5)

Relaxed in Istanbul

So much so I almost forgot I was here!

semi-overcast 61 °F

Well Colleen left and we have just settled in to Istanbul. Since we have at least another 10 days here we feel in no rush to conquer the city. Our goals each day are easy and relaxed. Yesterday we strolled over to the Pera Museum to see the exhibition on the Hippodrome-for those of you who don't know that is the stadium built by Constantine for the Roman chariot races. When we got to the museum we learned that they were exhibiting the Vollard Suite. The suite of 100 images was named for Picasso's art dealer and publisher, Ambroise Vollard (1867-1939). Picasso made these etchings in between 1930 and 1933. Always a bonus when you see a masters work. Our other goal is to continue to eat the unbelievably good food this city has to offer. The other night Arella baby sat and Yona and I got to go out with my friend Mehmet and his wife Ilay. Mehmet was a foreign exchange student in my high school many years ago. What a treat. Not only was the food great (a fish restaurant where we never saw a menu and Mehmet just conversed with the waiter before every course to decide whats best) but the company was fantastic. It was a delight to rekindle and create new friendships with parents of three in another universe half a world away from home. Lots of laughs, great conversation and our first taste of Raki, the drink of Turkey, an clear aniseed alcohol that when mixed with water turns milky white. Of course we had to take two taxis and a ferry to meet them in another part of town which just added to the greatness of the evening. The break from the kids didn't hurt either.

Yesterday evening we walked our neighborhood, found a cheese shop, had an afternoon beer/tea, ate a great dinner, came home and watched a movie in bed. When I got up to put the kids to bed I felt normal- like I was not in a foreign country on an adventure of a lifetime. Though I like the adventure feeling it was good to be that relaxed. Just another notch in the experience belt. Istanbul is very easy to manage and life here seems pretty good.

Posted by sherpaBen 22:40 Archived in Turkey Tagged family_travel Comments (3)

The first week in Turkey

feeling wonderful here!

sunny 55 °F

That's my word these days. I'm almost back to normal, I can eat again! No more Thunder Guts! There is so much food to enjoy here every day we try something new and delicious. Ben had lunch with a old friend, Mehmet, who was an exchange student in Truckee over 20 years ago. They went to an old restaurant that has been in operation with the same menu for 57 years. It was so good we had to go back so I could try it. I think I may have eaten veal--Yikes! But it was very flavorful and so tender, I liked it. This is the specialty of the house--
Iskendar Kabob--Yum

Iskendar Kabob--Yum

We also have enjoyed the doner sandwich shops all over town. You will know this as Gyros--here it is served in a roll with peppers, french fries, and tomatoes.
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loving chili peppers

loving chili peppers

tea at our afternoon favorite restaurant Kiva Han

tea at our afternoon favorite restaurant Kiva Han


Tonight we are meeting Mamet and his wife, Isla, to go to another famous seafood place. I'm excited to go out without kids for an adult night. Finally! Even with Cooc here to babysit, I was too sick and we never got away on our own, so this is a real treat.

Colleen wrote a nice bit about the last week. She did take hundreds of photos, many that I uploaded to the MamaYo link on the sidebar. We tried to see some of the main sites while she was here--Galata Tower, Topaki Palace, the Haghia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Basilica cisterns, the Grand Bazaar, and the Spice Market. She also helped us move from the hotel to our apartment on the other side of the Bosporus. So it was a lot of full days on our feet. We were staying in Sultanamet area of Istanbul, which is the location of the original city founded in 324 by Emperor Constantine. There are bits of the old city ruins here and there to be discovered--though most is buried about 15 feet under the new city. This was our first introduction to ancient Roman history and it has us even more excited to go south to Ephesus and Troy to see more archeological sites.
Some photos:
large_P1020532.jpglarge_P1020528.jpginside blue mosque

inside blue mosque

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

angel on church

angel on church

dome in church

dome in church

large_P1010205.jpgwalkway to second balcony in church

walkway to second balcony in church

Haghia Sophia

Haghia Sophia


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worn out entry step into church
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more tile walls

more tile walls

Harem

Harem


tile walls

tile walls

galata tower

galata tower

girls out day

girls out day

shopping

shopping

shopping for treats for the loyal blog followers

shopping for treats for the loyal blog followers

painted pottery

painted pottery

Inside spice bazaar

Inside spice bazaar

One stall at the spice market

One stall at the spice market

looking over Bosprous

looking over Bosprous

Colleen and I went to a mosaic museum that was built over the site of the original walkway from the palace to the Hippodrome where the chariot races were staged. The detail on the mosaic was stunning--and it was so cool to be standing on the colonnade where the Emperors once walked. The imagination has to supply all the details of the the palaces and ruins we see, and it is often hard to visualize how luxurious and extravagant life was when all we have before us are empty rooms. These mosaics though, that basically make up the roadway, somehow transported me back to the decadent life of the royal court.

Now with all the main tourist spots off our list we are going to settle in a bit and just live for a few weeks. Our apartment is in a great location--bakery, vegi/fruit market, and good restaurants within a few blocks. I could live here. We will send more photos of our area and get back to a daily blog tomorrow.

Posted by MamaYo 05:18 Archived in Turkey Tagged tourist_sites Comments (7)

Goodbye from CooCoo..

It already seems like India was a long time ago, but ever so often a smell or sound takes me back to a market in Pushkar or Udaipur or to a chaotic Delhi street…it will be this way for awhile, I believe, as the experiences and images from that country find a place to settle. I look forward to sharing more about our travels there---it was an incredible time.
This past week in Istanbul was an unexpected gift---We arrived feeling so worn down from the repeated intestinal illnesses and the hardships of rural India travel---the first few days of rest here were important for everyone----
Then we ventured out to explore the old Istanbul city. It was so exciting---another country and an entirely different culture to experience & learn about! I’ve loved it, and have taken hundreds of photos---feeling like I want to remember every detail----and has anyone blogged about the amazing cuisine?
At dinner tonight Ben & Yo asked me what my top ten of the trip has been---At first I thought how could I possible answer such a question---there are so many highlights…
Of course, being here with the children is priceless—Rae is blossoming before our eyes, and Adri is such a sweet & funny guy---I love that he & I went to a late dinner one night and he ordered for me.
As has been previously reported, Mariposa seems to have a particular charm over folks---I cannot tell you how many people stop to talk to her, smile at her, stroke her head (it was the same in India).
Someone in a shop today remembered her name and asked where she was! A few nights ago she was having a “time out” on a bench on our way to dinner---she was semi-sobbing holding her face in her hands with all of us standing very near by---quick as a wink a man swoops over to wrap her in his arms---so concerned—oh baby…
And so tomorrow I fly home ever thankful to have been here---THANK-YOU Ben, Yo, & children---Be well. I love you dearly, Cooc

Posted by MamaYo 01:59 Archived in Turkey Comments (4)

Agra


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The Taj Mahal!!!!! It is picturesque. From afar it looks like a painting. All of the colors are so precise and perfect. Shah Jahan created this magnificent monument as a mausoleum for his favorite wife. The construction started one year after she died. Though she was only 39 she had 14 children with Shah Jahan and was the only one of his wives to give birth to a boy. The Taj Mahal was built from 1631-1654 CE. The Taj Mahal is almost 200ft tall and it is located more than 100 meters from the opening gate. When I went to see it both my dad and I agreed that the Taj Mahal was more spectacular than in the pictures. We went at sunset and the sky was just beginning to darken and the Taj Mahal was so bright against the sky. We slowly made our way to the opening to the Taj Mahal. There we put on shoe covers on and embarked through the smelly stair way up to the platform. We got to the top and saw the massive line waiting to get in. My mom and I waited at the front corner and my dad was diagonal from us in the line on the other side of the Taj Mahal. We waited and waited but then we got into the burial site. It was butiful but not quite as beautiful as the out side. The prettiest part of the inside was the carving. All the ceilings were geometric patterns carved into the perfectly matched marble. We walked through 5 or 6 rooms before we got to the exit. Our timing was a bit off because we missed the sunset but we were in time to catch the beautiful color of the sky. We stood there and marvled at its beauty and brilliance unitil Mariposa gave the “I’m not feeling good” warning. We made a hasty start towards the exit when she vomited right there on the Taj. I guess India will always have a little piece of the Trustmans.

Posted by Arellaskye 11:24 Archived in India Comments (2)

A little update from Istanbul

rain 50 °F
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We have safely arrived in Istanbul and we have gone 1 week without someone new getting sick. Istanbul is so cool and fun. I is actually the first time on this entire trip where I have actually wanted to eat. The food is T-A-S-T-Y!!!!! All of it!!!!!!!! Istanbul is very cool. Once we moved out of the tourist area and into real Istanbul everything got much more relaxed. The street off of taxsim square is stocked with french fry shops and fresh juice bars among the excessive amount of clothing stores. I have yet to venture off on my own due to a warning from my dads high school friend Mehmet. Today Cooc, Mom, and I went on a day long excursion to the faraway land of Bazaar. As we were on our way the torrential down pour cause some issues becasue the only shoes I have are open back Mary Jane crocs. SO to say my feet were soaked. We finally reached the large land called Grand Bazaar. We spent at least 2 hours walking around and visiting every single scarf shop. We found some awesome gifts then headed to a candy shop that Cooc insisted was amazing. It was great and I had the best baklava so far. Colleen spent some time picking out the selected favorites to bring back for the friends and fam. We then walked to the trolley and set off to the Other land of spice Bazaar. We walked around for a bit then found a spice booth with at table full of chili paste. The man working was named spice boy and took a great liking to us. He helped my mom buy over 100 usd worth of spices. They better be good. By the end of this I am yawning like crazy and totally exhausted after a full day. We made it back to the apt. with just enough time to blog!!!!!!!

Posted by Arellaskye 11:23 Archived in Turkey Tagged family_travel Comments (4)

What is he going to do with that lighter?

Man that was good!!!!

rain 51 °F

Let me start this entry with a little information about our apartment. We are in a 2 story "penthouse" apartment on a small street off of Istiklal Caddesi. Istiklal Caddesi is a big walking street with a sea of people, shops, bars, cafes and reataurants from Taksim Square to Galata Tower This is pretty much the center of town and very cool. The top floor of our apartment is light filled with high ceilings and walls of windows at both ends--this is where the kitchen and living room are. Downstairs has the bedrooms. We have nice views and we over look the soccer field of a high school that my friend Mehmet said is 127 years old and very famous (actually the rival of his high school). This brings me to where this blog entry comes from. To access our apartment we ride in a very small(3 person) elevator that enters directly to our apartment. Now I have been riding this elevator for 3 days now and it is tight. The elevator also has a mirror on the back wall. So every day I am in there looking directly at myself in the mirror and I am looking like a scraggely bear with hair everywhere (I told Michael Cano I would need a haircut in Istanbul--I was right).

Yo, Cooc and Rae went off to the Bazaar today for Cooc's last minute shopping and I had A and Po. We went on a little journey out in the rain and had lunch and what not. Since the rain was increasing I brought them back to our abode and left to go get some fruit. I had spied a barber days before on a exploring mission through the neighborhood so I decided to step into another world- The Man World. Now this was not some old-timer barber but younger hipper looking fellows so I felt comfortable that I would not get a 60's crew cut. Though he spoke very little (when I say very little I mean little) English I was able to say just a trim. The guy next to me understood and fired off some Turkish to which my barber nodded. My guy- aptly named Mehmet- went to town. He cut like a champ. When he broke out the hair dryer I made a motion of panic but he gave me the universal "settle down and let me do it- you will be fine" gesture. He finished the hair and gestured towards the eyebrows. I have inherited my fathers eyebrows that are untamed and really have a mind of their own- one of my hairy enemies in the elevator mirror. I gestured " a little bit". Without hesitation he went for the nose hair--an odd feeling to have someone cut your nose hair, I always felt it was a private thing. Then he grabbed the lighter!?! I was thinking, "What is he going to do with that-he just trimmed my nose hair, this guy is unpredictable!!!" He proceeded to burn the hairs off of my ears!!! I always pull them out or trim them with the electric razor, but burning them was never a thought. He even got the inside ones--I was thinking, "Do I have hair growing out of my ears- that's for old people!"-It made me think of Yona's grampa. As he finished the grooming he asked if I wanted Turkish coffee or tea. I took the former, which by the way is really good. He then gestured if I wanted a shave--at first I was hesitant but figured "what the heck, let's go the distance." The shave, shampoo, face, head and neck message that followed were sublime. I was wishing for this guy to move to Truckee. As all this was happening the guy next to me, who was getting his hair cut when I came in, was getting a mask on his face while the barber was shaving his back and shoulders. He of course asked them to put the shades down before her bared his chest. I was in a Mansalon--I feel good and I smell like a man. When you are away from the comforts of home for such a long stretch you need things to make you feel good and this one hit the nail on the head. By the way the whole thing cost TL35 (Turkish Lira about $22) I tipped him TL10 ($6.50)--in the US this is a $90 haircut!

Posted by sherpaBen 06:16 Archived in Turkey Tagged family_travel Comments (6)

Meat and Peppers

The ultimate combo!

Just checking in from our apartment in Istanbul. The apartment is a penthouse apartment that is 2 floors! It is very modern! Our breakfasts remind me of home. Although Rae and I are on a pull out couch (because Cooc is in the second bed with Po) it is still my favorite place so far. In our new part of town there are no more scammers, which is a plus. Last night we went to one of the best restaurant in town. I ordered chicken shish kebap. My mom told the waiter that I liked spicy food and the next thing we know he is bringing a bowl full of spicy peppers. I ended up eating 6 or 7. They were delicious! We just got back from lunch with my dads friend Mehmet (some of you may know him). It was pretty good. Today there is a massive football (soccer) game and fans are everywhere! Mehmet said there will be alot of noise tonight. This is all for now. See ya!

Posted by DA Bean 06:12 Comments (2)

Dogs and Cats

Had we known we would have made each their own photo log!

sunny 58 °F

Good Morning from Istanbul. We are waking up in our apartment today for the first time. Yesterday we moved from our lovely hotel in Sirkeci (pronounced sir-k-ech-y), in the old part of Istanbul by the Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome, across the water to Beyoglu. Beyoglu is the metropolitan part of Istanbul, lots of bars, cafes and small restaurants. The hip zone you might say. The streets are cobbled and very narrow like most old European cities. We have only taken a few jaunts around our apartment but plan on completely exploring the area today. It is a very different feel over here. A lot less touristy, so we don't feel like we are going to get scammed at every corner(our guard is still up though after the run-ins we each had). Our apartment does have a great view of the city and the neighborhood seems good. I look forward to spending the next couple weeks pretending I live in a foreign city.

As for the dogs and cats--India had stray dogs everywhere, I mean everywhere. Istanbul seems to have the opposite-there are stray cats everywhere, I mean everywhere. I will say that the cats seem a little nicer, cleaner and healthier but they are everywhere. I imagined the small rodent population in Istanbul is quite low do the the large feline population.
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Posted by sherpaBen 01:28 Archived in Turkey Tagged family_travel Comments (6)

Istanbul!!!

Recently we've been in Istanbul. The food is delicious and the people are nice. Best of all is the fact that everything is clean! I don't have to watch where I step or cover my nose when it smells bad. India was a total nightmare. Everyone was sick and exhausted. The highlight of India for me was the Taj Mahal. Even funnier was that Po threw up on it. Talk about bragging rights. After India Istanbul is like heaven. I don't think i've complained once about Istanbul. My mom got my sickness which gives us a major migraine, body aches, nausea, and the runs. She had to go to the hospital. She's practically better now and is catching up on the time she missed. I have been eating alot of meat. The fish here are amazing. Everything is all very European. Last night my dad, sister and I found out how shoe shiners make their money. The scam worked on us. A shoe shiner was walking and he dropped his brush. My dad picked it up. The shoe shiner then proceeded to be all "I must give you a shoe shine, I must". After the shoe shining he demanded 36 Turkish lira. That's about 25 dollars. Just a normal ripoff, right? Wrong. About a hundred meters away a shoe shine guy drops his brush right in front of us. Coincidence? I think not. This is all for now. Bye

Posted by DA Bean 06:01 Comments (7)

Light at the end of a long journey-

the luminous Taj Mahal

sunny 95 °F

By now you all know that we have moved on from India to safer lands (and foods) in Turkey. We reached familiar comforts just in time, as my body couldn't handle the last vicious illness that India hurled my way on the airplane, and I ended up at the hospital in Istanbul within a few hours of landing. A battery of tests eased our worst fears, and we were relieved to know that I just have a flu virus or maybe a parasite (tests pending). I'm much better after a couple days of rest and even ventured out to enjoy the food that the family has been raving about. Anthony Bourdain's Istanbul show got our taste buds flowing months ago and we have been looking forward to our visit to this ancient gastronomical capital. Tonight did not disappoint! But that is another story.....First I must rewind to finish the last chapter on India.

The travel days leading to Agra had us all in survival mode. I realize we were just on auto pilot with a grit your teeth and get through this attitude. If you can recall it was the day that Posa started getting sick that we were supposed to leave early to drive to Agra. Ben "packed his bags and jumped out the window" that morning and we had to do some damage control to reestablish our intention about being in India...
By the way that saying comes from our stay in Udaipur. One morning we awoke to find out that during the night another tourist at the hotel had panicked and thrown her bags and herself out of her hotel window (1st floor) grabbed a rickshaw to the train station. Hotel staff found her there, freaking out, trying to get a train to get her to an airport, so she could fly to Paris ASAP. Poor thing. I, of course, wondered, "geez what was so hard for her?" Well, didn't I get an answer for myself! HardyHarHar!
Ok-anyway, we had to cancel our tour plans for the day and decided to just drive straight on through to the hotel in Agra--good thing bc we arrived to find out that the monument would have been closed the next day when we had planned to visit. But we where there early enough to go and catch the sunset that day.
That time we spent there looking at the magical beauty of the Taj Mahal shines forth from the haze of negative emotions we endured the last week. It is difficult to explain how good it felt to my heart to breath in the beauty of the structure. You know the phrase "a sight for sore eyes?" I've never used it myself--that was the name of my eye glass store in Berkeley. But as I stood there seeing the glow of that marble in the soft orange light, I experienced profound release and RELIEF to be witnessing BEAUTY created from LOVE. I can still feel it now as I write this. It was a Light Shower after many days of Darkness, and the site that restored my sight.
For me, the myriad of remembrances from weeks in India are balanced out by those few hours in front of the Taj Mahal--the Crown Palace.

Some of our pics--more my link
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We made it!

There was an hour long line up to see inside--which we did bc grandpa Buff would want to know what it looked like. Though it was dark by the time we got to pass through, Cooc did sneak some flash photos so we would know what was there. We got to see similar inlay work at the Red Fort where the Shah Jahan and his beloved Mumtaz Mahal lived. The artistry and intricate, ornate detailing are astounding. All done in gems and semi precious stones.
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Everyone was joyful and happy. Lots of interesting people in line with us.
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Moments before Posa puked on the monument. Poor baby did so great out there in the heat, despite being sick all night and day. Would've been a nice family pic but for her pained look!
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The classic shot--Doesn't even do it justice...

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Having fun---
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Posted by MamaYo 16:14 Archived in India Tagged tourist_sites Comments (9)

Turkey Dinner, Turkey Lunch, Turkey Breakfast

Istanbul or Constantinople if your into the old school thing!

overcast 54 °F

Well we made it out of India alive--barely. The 2am wake up and airport scene was typical India--funny. Unfortunately Yo got a fever and super aches when we landed in Istanbul and had to go to the hospital for the day. Good news is all tests were negative and she is getting better by the day. So far we are loving it here--it seems like we are back in civilization. Everybody feels a little more relaxed. The food is so good--there are sweet shops everywhere and everybody makes fresh orange and pomegranate juice. Basically we are just getting back on our feet and feeling better--sickness was hard on us all. Since we decided to leave India early Colleen was able to join us here in Istanbul--such a great bonus for her and us. Nice for her to be in a place with us where we can be more relaxed. Istanbul is a lot bigger than I imagined--17 million people. Very European. I am really grateful that we have been able to take this trip--the experiences have been greater than I could have ever imagined-something we will talk and share about at the dinner table for years and years. I am so proud of my family and there efforts out here on the road--I love them dearly!!!

Posted by sherpaBen 13:06 Archived in Turkey Tagged family_travel Comments (7)

India blog

sunny
View Around the World in 87 Days on Arellaskye's travel map.

I officially love India! NOT!!!!!!

We are currently in Bijaipur, staying at a huge castle!

in Udiapur my family went to see the city palace that they said was grander than the one I saw. Sad to say that I wasn’t there because of a neck injury that left me unable to straighten my head and/or walk without feel severe pain in my head ☹. It happened in the early morning when I turned over and lifted my head to adjust my hair. In that instant my neck popped and fell back to the bed. I was in severe pain and sobbing when my parents came in after Posa woke up and went and told them I was hurt. I was unable to turn over and required assistance and support to be able to sit up. It was probably the worst pain I had ever felt. It was worse than when my foot got stepped on a broken right before nutcracker. I was lucky and Loretta our group leader knew a masseuse/reiki healer. They sent me to her and she worked magic on my neck. I got a full body massage and facial scrub as well. After working on my neck and back for and hour she sent her assistant to retrieve a card with an ancient healing symbol on it. She traced this reiki symbol on my back and neck numerous times. Today when my mom asked her about it she said that it was the strongest form of reiki. I completely agree now that my neck is completely fixed and I am as healthy as I was before I left for the trip.
Recently we went to a painting studio in Udaipur. They specialize in a special type of painting where one-hair paintbrushes are used to color these magnificent pieces of art. He kept referring to the ones my family saw at the city palace.
They paints themselves were another story. Each paint is made out of something different (no chemicals used)! The blue was made out of lapis. The red was made out of ochre, white was made out of powdered mother of pearl. The yellow by far was the most complicated to make. They start by feeding cows mustard seeds and mango tree leaves. This pigments their urine a strong shade of yellow. They then collect the urine and let it evaporate. They then collect the urea, which is a bright yellow. To fix the paints they use acacia gum collected from the acacia tree. The powdered paint is mixed with water and then used.
My brother and I got the opportunity to take a class and used the techniques to create our own paintings. Adrian did a great painting of a camel, while I did a peacock. Adrian was complaining at the beginning that a peacock will be easier than a camel (I talked him out of doing a peacock). He soon changed his mind when I came time to decorate. While the camel had a few details and design on him my peacock had hundreds of tiny lines for feathers on the wings and fanned out tail. Then there were a hundred tiny circles I had to make for the eyes of the tail feathers. He finished long before I did! Our paintings are in the mail being shipped home right now! The experience of using the special paints and tiny paintbrushes was very fun. I might have to take it up when I get home.
Food here has finally hit a high note. Three consecutive meals now have been delicious and hopefully many more to come. Though mangos aren’t really in season I have been fortunate to find a few places with the super secret supply of mangos for lassies. Last night we had fresh baked naan that was cooked right in front of us and steamed veggies ( the one food I have been missing on the trip). Dessert is coming back with me. It was great! The dessert was a thick porridge like substance made out of a finely ground semolina baked with honey, cream almonds, and a few other ingrediants. This could possibly one of the best desserts ever. Not to sweet not to savory! I am looking forward to making it when I return.
India has so many surprises and every place we go gets better and better. I am excited to be exploring so much of this country. We even made a plan to spend a beach week down in Goa instead of going to Nepal. We decided to save Nepal for when Posie is older and able to trek and explore instead of sitting by herself at the hotel or being carried by my dad. Though we all know that we will make it back to Nepal sometime.

Posted by Arellaskye 23:19 Archived in India Tagged family_travel Comments (10)

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