8.30.2015

Istanbul’s Got My Digits: S1 E2

Istanbul’s Got My Digits: S1 E2

Yesterday was a fascinating array into the world of Istanbullu ‘Mall Rats’. I had bought an electric water kettle early last week so the coffee could keep flowing uninterrupted. I hated it as soon as I put it into action.  First, the metal element was exposed at the bottom of the kettle and I hate that old style function as you can start to visibly see the corrosion that will soon develop and then have nightmares about what that is in fact doing to the water… Secondly, which has been confirmed by Jelly as well, is that the lid doesn’t stay open.  Just an annoying feature to be sure.

I had it in my mind that I needed to return it ASAP. Of course it was Sunday yesterday and Cevahir was absolutely flooded with 'Mall Rats'. :)  Just for the record I knew it would be, but I decided to brave it anyway.  It was another beautiful day and there was some walking involved along with various forms of public transportation that I am managing to navigate through quite smoothly.

The exchange went without a hitch considering my basic Turkish skills. I happily trotted off to look for some other things on my treasure hunt list: goose-down comforter, toaster, high-pressure cooker, pot, pan, and another electric kettle.  The coveted goose-down comforter has been rather elusive and indeed difficult to procure… I was foiled yet again in my efforts. As well the cool toaster I wanted. All else I found, with great effort I might add.  Looking for heavy bottomed pans that are a reasonable price is a difficult quest, but I was determined to not walk out empty-handed.  In the end, I managed to get all in one store!  I was temporarily mesmerized by the cast-iron pans and started fantasizing about owning one, but they looked a little too ‘new age-y’ I guess is the word I’m looking for.  What has happened to the cast-iron pans of yore I wonder? 

The end result? I was a good consumer on a busy Sunday at Cevahir Mall.  I have some observations to share that I found interesting; overtime I saw a cluster of people, they were waiting for the elevator, couples tend to hold hands on the escalators and don’t let go when you are trying to enter into the area and chaos ensues briefly while navigating, the staircases were not the preferred method of movement and so were empty, many people like to stand like a zombie staring at their phones and tend to do so at the entrance of escalators, stair cases (that they don’t use) and at store entrances. I suppose this is typical mall behavior in any country.  I just don’t tend to see this back home in Hawaii. 

So it’s Monday morning and I’m back in the courtyard striking keys and amusing myself watching the kitties in their morning lounge patterns. An adult is goading a juvenile to climb up a tree and cheering it on.  It seems to be at an impasse and undecided if it should climb up further or abort mission. Popolo immediately ran up to me and shared the chaise lounge that I have commandeered. Two kittens down by Erin’s are scampering around and playing ‘Bat-Cat superhero training camp’ while their mother looks on cautiously. I’m going to make ‘kitty hotels’ with all my big boxes from kitchen stuff purchases! The trees are shimmering as the sun rises through the clouds. These huge crows are all atop the Armenian church and cackling away. All seems well in my world.

Today marks my one week arrival. Tomorrow marks my first day at work, thus tonight marks my first time to turn on an alarm clock in 2 months… So many achievements in a mere 24 hours!  To celebrate the last day of weekday freedom I’m going to walk up to Garipçe. I think there might be a beach there… On the way back I figured I’d hit up the Monday fruit/vegetable market in Sariyer.

Aha!  There is a house bordering the property here and something start jiggling and all the cats stopped immediately and ran to the house.  An old woman is putting out food and drink. I’ve also noticed that the church caretaker (?) was feeding the cats on the other side of the property.  I do love that about Turkey; all these cats are homeless, but taken care of by people.  Some obviously are more fortunate than others, but this is definitely a ‘thing’ here that I love to see.

On a domestic note, my apartment is slowly starting to come together.  It’s still too hot to actually sleep in my bed upstairs so I’m nesting on the couch instead.  The university is taking all the new teachers to IKEA on Wednesday I think.  This is a sweet gesture of a welcome wagon.  I’ve actually never been to an IKEA so I’m intrigued.  In fact, during my jet-lag phase I went onto their website and figured out what I need and then took measurements of my space. 

With that in mind I will leave you all with this titillating cliffhanger: what WILL Holly come home from IKEA with?  Will it be solely what is on her ‘need’ list, or will she find other non-essentials to purchase as well?  The suspense is already building in her mind…

some links:

Garipçe

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/garipce-a-little-village-untouched-by-istanbuls-third-bridge.aspx?pageID=238&nID=61399&NewsCatID=379

Sariyer





https://www.google.com.tr/search?q=Sariyer+Turkey&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CBsQsARqFQoTCMflna3g0scCFUmQLAodMfkMug&biw=1440&bih=708

peace

8.29.2015

Istanbul's got my digits: S1, Episode 1

Istanbul’s got my digits… Season 1 of my new reality series:

So I begin my Istanbul journey.  I arrived, again, on August 24th. This time is different though.  I am an Istanbul’s got my digits…

So I begin my Istanbul journey.  I arrived, again, on August 24th. This time is different though.  I am an Istanbullu now. I am in awe that such a long-term goal has been achieved. Perseverance.

I first arrived to its shores in 2001, right after 9-11.  I came to visit L-fezz, who I went to University of Hawaii in Hilo with many moons ago.  I’ve often traveled back- especially since living in the region the past 6 years.  I even managed to live in Turkey during that time; Gaziantep to be specific.  That was a great achievement certainly, moving to Turkey, but it wasn’t Istanbul…

I’ve often wondered throughout the past 6 years about my collected belongings that have been housed in L-fezz’s various apartment basements.  My luggage has stories of their own to tell I’m sure.  Hanging out with rats and cats and other critters sharing their space.  They’ve weathered stormy winters, humid summers and idyllic spring and autumns certainly. 

In the courtyard of my new digs in Büyükdere this I contemplate.  It’s a splendid late summer morning and the garden kitties surround me. These kitties are a fortunate lot as they have a huge courtyard to laze about. There is no fear of foreign invaders I suppose- only other feral kitties wanting this to be their new address.

Popolo, as I call the sweet black kitty that purrs and follows me around begging for affection, has finally settled to the front of the chaise lounge I have made my headquarters (HQ) here.  One other cat I’ve names- boots/bootzie.  I’ve yet to figure out if male or female…Time will tell.  I foresee many coffee-infused mornings at my HQ.

I’ve been told the apartment building is an old schoolhouse for the Armenian Catholic church next door. Observing the brick/stonework of both exteriors it appears to be true.  The building feels like an old schoolhouse. Upon entering the top floor I always get the sense that I’m walking into a classroom as I unlock the door.  I see the other 9 classrooms on my floor as well… What I can’t figure out is why their ceilings were so large because they are all (small) 2-floor ‘loft’ apartments with the bedroom and bathroom being on the 2nd floor. More of this story to unravel as days pass for sure. I’ll have to improve my Turkish drastically so I can ask the security guards- all of whom are sweet and cheerful and eager to help regardless of linguistic persuasion. Google translate has been helpful as well as providing comic relief.

Istanbul , after all these years, has remained in my mind.  I never ventured too far off course, and always knew I would end up here one day.

    Oh wow!  The church bells just rang and all the dogs are singing an agitated chorus.  It is 9:30    am. I guess this will be my natural Sunday wake-up call…

For me, Istanbul was the lover I met that taught me so much about life, but had to walk out on.  Is wasn’t the right timing- for either of us… I kept coming back to Istanbul though, wanting more.  The feeling was reciprocal.  Istanbul kept luring me back with its secrets, its beauty, its debauchery. The feeling that I was straddling different worlds intrigued me. Istanbul was my drug of choice; I experimented with many drugs (Tunisia came close) but always stayed true to my preferred dose. Nope I never had a bad trip in Istanbul…

Living outside of the city center, so far, has been all I thought it would. Of course I’ve racked up a grand total of… seven days so far… I adore the Bosphorus and being right at its shores. I can walk maybe 500 meters and I’m at the water.  I love this.  I need this.  The Belgrade forest is my backyard. So far Büyükdere seems to be the perfect Bosphorus village, for me as my entire point to my Istanbullu experience.

Freedom.  I want to touch a bit on freedom. As I’m coming from a two-year stint living/working in the Middle East, I feel free with each step I take WALKING around the city.  I have missed ambulating certainly.  In the Middle East I was prisoner to my car, for many reasons; weather, no public transportation that was reliable, layout of the island(s) and proximity to places, etc. Mostly the place isn’t set up to walk, for most. I will say that the heat was oppressive. Never have I lived in a place where I hated the outdoors… Perhaps ‘hate’ is too harsh a word, but in retrospect I guess I safely hide behind this theory.

Yesterday is a great example of living out my freedom. Let me explain; I was on a quest to find Macrocenter in Yeniköy. Macrocenter is, I think, a gourmet-like grocery store that sells a lot of (expensive) organic produce/products. Google Maps told me it was 1.5 hours away from my current location.  There is a plethora of public transportation options here; water taxi, bus, dolmus, metro, taxi, etc. The route was to simply follow the Bosphorus, and it was a beautiful day.  So I set off and hoofed it until I met up with my destination.

It’s funny that the saying, “It’s not about the destination but rather the journey” proved to be true here.  While I did enjoy seeing organic yogurt and other such staples in my life, for a hefty price tag I might add, it was the journey there that delighted my senses.  The entire route is flanked by docks, marinas, parks and just open spaces with benches at nearly every hundred meters- sometimes even closer. 

Istanbullus take full advantage of the open spaces. I saw many a family just plopped down on the grass under a tree having a picnic.  Hoards of men and young boys dot the cornice with fishing poles ready for an entire day of adventure and food and family fun. Various places are swimming holes. Even with the swift currents there are pockets of calm. One thing I did notice was that it was mainly men swimming. I did see one old woman in a 1-piece partaking in the entertainment.  In one area of the corniche was a small community of sun worshipers that just set up shop right there on the pavement with beach chairs and laying out. This amused me to no end. I even noticed women sunbathing, albeit most didn’t have baiting suits on. Some surprised me though.

And THAT moon… Did you’ll get to see the Supermoon wherever you were at last night?  Trippy. Felt like a great omen for a great journey to a great city to settle into another new beginning!

NOTE: I have photos but don’t know if they will get posted with this post… I might surprise myself though and deal with the fuss :) 
 now. I am in awe that such a long-term goal has been achieved. Perseverance.

I first arrived to its shores in 2001, right after 9-11.  I came to visit L-fezz, who I went to University of Hawaii in Hilo with many moons ago.  I’ve often traveled back- especially since living in the region the past 6 years.  I even managed to live in Turkey during that time; Gaziantep to be specific.  That was a great achievement certainly, moving to Turkey, but it wasn’t Istanbul…

I’ve often wondered throughout the past 6 years about my collected belongings that have been housed in L-fezz’s various apartment basements.  My luggage has stories of their own to tell I’m sure.  Hanging out with rats and cats and other critters sharing their space.  They’ve weathered stormy winters, humid summers and idyllic spring and autumns certainly. 

In the courtyard of my new digs in Büyükdere this I contemplate.  It’s a splendid late summer morning and the garden kitties surround me. These kitties are a fortunate lot as they have a huge courtyard to laze about. There is no fear of foreign invaders I suppose- only other feral kitties wanting this to be their new address.

Popolo, as I call the sweet black kitty that purrs and follows me around begging for affection, has finally settled to the front of the chaise lounge I have made my headquarters (HQ) here.  One other cat I’ve names- Boots/Bootzie.  I’ve yet to figure out if male or female…Time will tell.  I foresee many coffee-infused mornings at my HQ.

I’ve been told the apartment building is an old schoolhouse for the Armenian Catholic church next door. Observing the brick/stonework of both exteriors it appears to be true.  The building feels like an old schoolhouse. Upon entering the top floor I always get the sense that I’m walking into a classroom as I unlock the door.  I see the other 9 classrooms on my floor as well… What I can’t figure out is why their ceilings were so large because they are all (small) 2-floor ‘loft’ apartments with the bedroom and bathroom being on the 2nd floor. More of this story to unravel as days pass for sure. I’ll have to improve my Turkish drastically so I can ask the security guards- all of whom are sweet and cheerful and eager to help regardless of linguistic persuasion. Google translate has been helpful as well as providing comic relief.

Istanbul , after all these years, has remained in my mind.  I never ventured too far off course, and always knew I would end up here one day.

    Oh wow!  The church bells just rang and all the dogs are singing an agitated         chorus.  It is 9:30 am.  I guess this will be my natural Sunday wake-up call…

For me, Istanbul was the lover I met that taught me so much about life, but had to walk out on.  Is wasn’t the right timing- for either of us… I kept coming back to Istanbul though, wanting more.  The feeling was reciprocal.  Istanbul kept luring me back with its secrets, its beauty, its debauchery. The feeling that I was straddling different worlds intrigued me. Istanbul was my drug of choice; I experimented with many drugs (Tunisia came close) but always stayed true to my preferred dose. Nope I never had a bad trip in Istanbul…

Living outside of the city center, so far, has been all I thought it would. Of course I’ve racked up a grand total of… seven days so far… I adore the Bosphorus and being right at its shores. I can walk maybe 500 meters and I’m at the water.  I love this.  I need this.  The Belgrade forest is my backyard. So far Büyükdere seems to be the perfect Bosphorus village, for me as my entire point to my Istanbullu experience.

Freedom.  I want to touch a bit on freedom. As I’m coming from a two-year stint living/working in the Middle East (Bahrain), I feel free with each step I take WALKING around the city.  I have missed ambulating certainly.  In the Middle East I was prisoner to my car, for many reasons; weather, no public transportation that was reliable, layout of the island(s) and proximity to places, etc. Mostly the place isn’t set up to walk, for most. I will say that the heat was oppressive. Never have I lived in a place where I hated the outdoors… Perhaps ‘hate’ is too harsh a word, but in retrospect I guess I safely hide behind this theory.

Yesterday is a great example of living out my freedom. Let me explain; I was on a quest to find Macrocenter in Yeniköy. Macro center is, I think, a gourmet-like grocery store that sells a lot of (expensive) organic produce/products. Google Maps told me it was 1.5 hours away from my current location.  There is a plethora of public transportation options here; water taxi, bus, dolmus, metro, taxi, etc. The route was to simply follow the Bosphorus, and it was a beautiful day.  So I set off and hoofed it until I met up with my destination.

It’s funny that the saying, “It’s not about the destination but rather the journey” proved to be true here.  While I did enjoy seeing organic yogurt and other such staples in my life, for a hefty price tag I might add, it was the journey there that delighted my senses.  The entire route is flanked by docks, marinas, parks and just open spaces with benches at nearly every hundred meters- sometimes even closer. 

Istanbullus take full advantage of the open spaces. I saw many a family just plopped down on the grass under a tree having a picnic.  Hoards of men and young boys dot the cornice with fishing poles ready for an entire day of adventure and food and family fun. Various places are swimming holes. Even with the swift currents there are pockets of calm. One thing I did notice was that it was mainly men swimming. I did see one old woman in a 1-piece partaking in the entertainment.  In one area of the cornice was a small community of sun worshipers that just set up shop right there on the pavement with beach chairs and laying out. This amused me to no end. I even noticed women sunbathing, albeit most didn’t have baiting suits on. Some surprised me though.

And THAT moon… Did you’ll get to see the Supermoon wherever you were at last night?  Trippy. Felt like a great omen for a great journey to a great city to settle into another new beginning!

NOTE: I have photos but don’t know if they will get posted with this post… I might surprise myself though and deal with the fuss :)



Well, church is over as the bells just rang again... Time to head inside and eat some breakfast :)

8.16.2015

waked and baked on the island of the House of the Rising Sun (Haleakala)

4:00 a.m. and all's well... I'm back on Maui after a few weeks on the Mainland.  I move to Istanbul in one week.  I'm in that zen space of embracing the future and anticipation of embracing the next stop on my magic bus. I'm in this weird 'move to a new country every 2 years' mode and you know what, I'm pretty cool with it.  I now have additions to my family of me; Master Sami Bey and Shaika Spot.  The felines will make the moving process a bit trickier as I've never traveled, let alone moved to a different country, with pets before.

I'm Upcountry right now and the sky is awash with this agitated hue of blackness that bruises so beautifully upon my psyche right now.  I think about rain.  I want to run amok in the rain.  (oh look at this site I found while spell-checking 'amuck', which is actually 'amok').

http://grammarist.com/spelling/amok-amuck/


I was recently flying from Portland to San Francisco and I was uncharacteristically looking out the window; I tend to never sit at the shitty window seats because I need the extra leg space that the shitty aisle seat offers. Such great satisfaction watching the world go by from 30,000 feet up. We flew right over the southern Oregon and northern California fires.  Strangely beautiful in an unsettling way wold be how I would describe the experience.  The force of nature is so strong and we humans always feel we want to conquer this; this something.  

I should have been flexing my eyeballs watching the world go by from Medford to Iron Mountain, Michigan as well, but that plan didn't materialize so Plan B was put into action and my brother and I drove.  We managed to do it in about 48 hours I believe.  Not that I was much help... The sugar-free Rockstar worked for me the first day... I diluted it with a lot of water and took over the wheel somewhere in Idaho in a narrow canyon on US 20; past Boise, near Mountain Home if I remember correctly.  Curt was sawing logs so there I was alone in my thoughts with the night sky cruising past Craters of the Moon and Atomic City (wow, what a unique history of "Atomic City" folks(see link below)).

Just a quickie back-line into this story:  We were supposed to fly his 2-seater experimental airplane he built.  Unfortunately there were too many forest fires burning in the southern Oregon region that we never had a 3-mile radius of visibility necessary to take-off.

But Plan B was pretty cool as well.  I fondled quite a few sage bushes out near eastern Oregon off of 395 before it meets up with US 20.  Curt was doing reconnaissance on some tiny, old airstrip so I got busy with my spiritual requirements and procured some sage for me.  I was thinking about Istanbul, of course and smoking the sic shit outta my new pad there with the stuff upon arrival. Sage kept wafting throughout the rest of the journey back east, as well as at our family home up in the U.P. Everybody was happy. 

I had many thoughts while driving through Klamath Falls.  I never went there much, but there is something about the area that just resonated with me.  I like the wildness of the earth there.

At West Yellowstone we turned north and headed up to Big Sky.  Awesome territory.  We pulled out off the road somewhere and slept for about 2 hours late in the night.  My leg of this part of the journey was from 7pm to 1 am.  Curt took over then for a few hours before pulling over. 

It was around 5:30 am when we took off again.  Big Sky was just waking up. We pulled into a gas station to fill up.  I filled up my eyes with all the interesting tchotchke inside (so that's how you spell that word). (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Tchotchke)

We drove out and just enjoyed the crisp, fresh air. Soon enough we came upon patches of snow.  Apparently it had snowed a bit the previous day.  We were hoping to see some local wildlife but alas...

Speaking of wildlife, the entire trip was spent with butt gripping seat because your eyes have to do double duty (scanning horizon for deer all the while driving, or co-piloting). My eyes were getting all spun out... which brings me back to an earlier thought that I didn't finish writing out...

So, back to the sugar-free Rockstar.  The first application went smooth enough.  Nit a hitch.  I drove my lame 6-hour stint without a hitch.  A coyote did run out in front of the car, and owls were eerily swooping down and nearly dive-bombing the front of the car near and around Atomic City in the eerie midnight hour.  I'd like to think they were trying to impart some information to me about the secret events of Atomic City residents back then...

The second application of my now-trusted sugar-free Rockstar energy drink didn't go down so well in history, or my lower intestines to be more exact... Curt put in another 10-hour segment. We were traveling on 94 through Billings; Custer (Yes! of the famous 'Custer's Last Stand '); Miles City; Bismark, North Dakota; and finally to Fargo.  Here in Fargo it was PISSING RAIN.  It was dropping from the sky so violently that it was thrilling- unless it was your turn to drive...

I mixed up my concoction and set off.  It was like an acid trip.  Let me explain; torrential downpour, thunder, lightning, road construction fluorescent-colored barrels all the way down for miles and miles and miles in the right-hand land of the 2-lane sometimes divided highway.  There was so much florescence reflected onto the road it was like a carnival. What should have been good-trippy was bad-trippy and I had to get off that trip.  The Rockstar made me drowsy for some reason so it was just double shit.  I could hardly find the exit to get off the highway and have Curt take over.

I did recover a bit later and drove a 4-hour stint (yea, I know I'm still a lame driving partner). We opted to bypass Duluth (smart move) and head into Minneapolis and catch some rest at a rest stop.  It was still raining hard as we kept up the same trajectory with the storm moving eastward. We took 35 to 8 to 2 into Iron Mountain and ended our journey in our mother's driveway- unannounced.

She had no idea we were coming. She thought we were the roofers coming to check out her roof!

Well folks, I hate to leave you all hanging now but I've waked and baked and it is 5:30 am now and I must catch some more beauty rest.

Peace


Links:

Atomic City:

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11360
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_City,_Idaho

Custer's Last Stand:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Little_Bighorn

Miles City:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_City,_Montana




8.04.2015

Oregon communique

I'm here in Ashland, Oregon now. I arrived last week. Memories flood continuously. For those of you that don't know, I finished high school in Ashland. It's been about 5 years since I've been here. One of my brothers lives here still with his wife- who I went to high school with. They have come cool, tortoise kitties and one dog, who is much adored. They live along the rolling hills that litter the scenery from North Phoenix to South Medford.

My headquarters is located in their backyard, at the sweet cafe table with an open view to their bountiful garden. I've never seen such large tomato plants/vines. Loads of squash spill lazily over their perimeter. The Zucchini leaves shade their rather large treasures undneath. A good thing this season because the weather is uncharacteristically and unreasonably hot.

So yea, this is a nice perch to nest at and ponder the beauty of southern Oregon. Let me say that I really, really enjoy pondering the beauty of southern Oregon.

Along with the heatwave here is smoke. There are forest fires to the north and the Rogue Valley holds clean air hostage to smoke. I mean to say that it is hot here- like as hot as the Middle East was when I left last month for the first few days here. As well the smoke turns the sky to the color of cement- which is kind of what the sky looked like in Bahrain when I left... Yea, I was not a fan of the intense heat in Bahrain.

* NOTE: Bahrain had its charms. Wintertime was wonderful. For 5 months of the year one didn't have to turn the A/C on. I found 1 beach I frequented. This was my sweet spot. I know there is a lot I'll miss, but that's always the case when one moves from place to place. Already I dearly miss classes with Abelush at BaYoga. I miss incredible, cheap South Indian food. My remorse, though, loses itself in the rejoice of my next adventure-Istanbul!

But freedom I do feel- indeed. I'll just leave it at that  (hint:  Oregon. Da Kine is legal in Oregon). As I sit here and contemplate life in my Hawaiian pareo wrapped around me, covering the bare minimum, I embrace my freedom in the mid-afternoon sun. I would, of course, notice this 'oddity' because that scene doesn't happen in Bahrain for people- unless you are at a luxury hotel or private club, are wealthy and live in a luxurious compound, or aren't rich but live in a nice compound with enough privacy.

There is a reddish-brown dragonfly hovering over the sedge plants in their pond. Sounds of the waterfall intoxicate me and knocks me out of my 'senses.'  Project forward to the proper state of mind to experience THIS, and you know where I'm at...

So I met up with some old high school peeps too. It's funny you know, you can live all around e world and feel comfortable in every different environment, but there is something about going back home. There is something into staring into your ex-classmate's greenish-brown eyes and seeing that shining light that you have. We've been in such incredibly different trajectories in life, but one look at them and I melted. It was such a beautiful knowledge in knowing our history together from such a different TIME (not a different PLACE).  Maybe I simply feel that way because I realize southern Oregon is a place to hold onto.  It IS so important in my life- again. It's interesting because you disperse after high school and come back together just like that. I've forgotten faces, places and feelings, but that fire of knowledge re-ignites with your high school mates. What do you all think?

Now another. Reason I'm here is to catch a ride across the country in my brother's airplane. He'd been building it for at least 10 years, but completed the project last summer. We are to surprise our mother. Well, we have been surprised by all the socked-in smoke from the forest fires up north a bit. The Rogue Valley is engulfed in smoke. Not so much as a few days ago, but to the point that flying small aircraft is not legal (for take-off mainly). We're going to try to make a run for it  soon. If it's a no-go, we drive... It's a long ways to the UP...

Either way, it's a top- notch adventure in my book. That's what I wanted. That's what I needed. That's what I manifested. Yep. I am woman, hear me roar. Yea, it's like that.

I think that's enough for now. I'll up date later.

7.16.2015

Back to the past to prep for the future

So here I am on this dark, warm, rainy night.  Here I am on Maui. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  I arrived to its shores late last night. Instant relief.  Not to dwell on the fact that it took nearly 48 hours of air travel, but... well it took nearly 48 hours of air travel... 

 I was walking through Makawao town this morning heading down to Paia to take care of some things that I do once a year on this soujourn back home and thought about the scene that was taking place; the smells wafting through the air.  This was so incredible to try to decipher each individual scent; Plumerias, freshly cut grass in one yard, sweet grasses, etc. 

I moved on to just take pleasure in the visual array of local style homes I was passing by.  Pele's hair hanging from the fence of one house so thick that it covered the chain link fence.  I entertained the thought of taking a cutting or two for myself and L-fezz for our Istanbul apartments, and I might still take it upon myself to accomplish this task... The colors of the modest homes. The plants growing in haphazard mazes that are so happy because of the perfect weather Hawaii experiences all year long.  The various states of cars parked in the yards ranging from local style to local style beaters; some with plants growing in/around/on them as if the vines were taking prisoner these odd metal heaps.

Roosters crowing, or whatever it is called that they do. Dogs barking. One can almost hear the flower petals bursting forth in the rush to display such beauty and await the eventual falling of dewdrops atop. Trees rustling from light breezes.

Yes so anyway this is my reality here.  It's a really sweet reality that I thirst for when not around honestly.  I was thinking about this as I walked.  I looked up and saw a 'tweaker' (a rather endearing yet disturbing term for a drug user here having an apt description of their behavior) coming towards me.  I kind of chuckled a bit as, well, it just seems to Maui.  We both looked up at each other briefly and did the total Maui-style acknowledgment of one another by barely shaking our heads upwards.  Yes, I really felt home in that moment.

I continued on my journey.  Once I hit the intersection of Makawao and Baldwin Avenues, I turned downhill to head to Paia- my HQ for everything on this island really. I gently stuck out my left thumb in the requisite "hey, can you give me a lift" position and continued walking.  I walked in this manner for about 10 minutes.  Finally, as I passed the vetran's cemetery, a car stopped to pick me up. 

What I love about returning to Maui every year is this scene exactly; I am free!  I can throw on a tiny dress to cover up my bikini and have a destination in mind and just go.  Someone will pick me up.  We will have interesting conversations and make a connection for about 10-15 minutes and then BAM, I'm out of the car and we each go on about our lives as we see fit.  It is a beautiful thing, this type of freedom.  I never had this freedom the nearly 20 years I lived here because I had a car and worked, etc.  Now I get to see Maui in a different lens.  I have effectively adjusted THE kaleidoscope.  Man is it fun. 

She was a bit older than me.  She greeted me and moved the stuff off of her front seat- as all rides do.  Again, this is so Maui to me.  It makes me smile.  I plopped down and we were on our way.  She looks at me and says, "I didn't think you were going to smell of body odor so I decided to pick you up!"  I laughed. We both laughed.  She further offered, "I stopped picking up hitchhikers years ago because I got tired of the B.O." 

We then got into our oratory styles of offering little anecdotes of our current purposes in life, etc.  As she digested my story of just arriving back to Maui shores after living in the Middle East for 2 years, her eyes hungrily told me she wanted more.  I was happy to oblige.  I listened to her story as well.  We talked politics.  We talked about how we have both been on Maui for so long (her 30 years), and we just talked story.  Once in Paia town she was, of course, trying to find the ever elusive parking spot and I offered to just jump out there because that was going to take some time. 

Poof I was gone.  Poof she was gone.  Just like that.  In a Maui minute, we parted.  Hitchhiking is fun like that.  I meet the most interesting people, and I meet the most normal people.  But, you know what, everybody has a story and everybody like to be a storyteller as well as a listener.  So yes, this has become most interesting for me getting around Maui in summers now.

I did my business (taxes and banking for the previous and upcoming year) and then headed to Mana Foods, of course.  Mana Foods is an ethnographic study at any time of day/night.  I love this place so much.  It is THE coolest health food store on the planet.  It has had several metamorphoses throughout the years and it is a slightly different entity at my every return.  I simply LOVE to roam the aisles and soak in the sights; the different juices, health remedies, juices, hot foods, etc.  Just everything.  I could go crazy on a shopping spree here, and I do- every year.  Man did it feel good to buy my beloved Acai frozen packets so I can make the most incredible breakfast in the world.  I mean I am addicted to these Acai bowls.  I am addicted to Mana Foods. 

As I'm figuring out my food for the next few days I, of course, run into Big Bruce.  He is one of the first peeps I run into every year.  It is so refreshing to see him and reconnect.  We chatted amid all the chatty peeps in Mana and fought our way through the crowd vying for the prime spot in front of the salad bar fixings.  I asked him what he was doing.  He was just off work and getting ready to head up the hill back to Makawao.  I eagerly said I was too so I would join him in a hitchhiking festival! 

We headed out together and started walking to his 'spot'.  Now Big Bruce has been hitchhiking this route for nearly 30 years and has the 'wasta' like no other hitchhiker on island.  This I am sure of.  Within 30 seconds our ride stopped.  One of his regulars, Thomas.  We hopped in and I continued my current story about the Tajikistan job.  Other highlights were: Gobekli Tepe, Iran, Islam, Maui, etc. Again, another great encounter with a complete stranger sharing a few words among miles. 

That's all folks.  I feel a jet lag episode coming on!  Tomorrow (today) is here and there are more Maui roads to cover.  I'll give a preview for you all of my tomorrow (today) upcoming adventures: a ride into Wailuku town in the morning. A walk to Ka`ahumanu Center to get my Maui sim card in working order again.  A Maui Bus ride to Paia.  A visit with Guga at work and pick up my mail for the past year.  A walk to Baldwin Beach so I can sit still and read my current read, Shantaram. From there, who knows.  The world is my muse and my thumb is in working order.


6.16.2015

notes on Bahrain


with my most humble yogi

It's still officially the 'bewitching hour' here.  The 3:50 am call to prayer made me realize it's time to lay my head down on my pillow soon- before sunrise anyway...  I have 2 weeks left here in my tiny island host nation before I head back to my bigger island in the Pacific Ocean.  I do have a stop-off in Turkey for a few weeks first.  Istanbul calling me- always.  The Aegean Sea is calling me LOUDER.  Looking forward to some adventures with treasured friends & collaborators :) 

Yes, bikinis are staring at me from my closet here.  They are all so sad that I'm hardly ever in them.  they find it strange that I could ignore them for so long...

I have to say, it's tough not having a beach to HANG at. I know there are pools here, but it's just not the same.  I need sand.  I need waves.  I need ocean energy to wash over me and absolve my sins :) 

Bahrain... Bahrain has been good to me.  I won't soon forget this place.  This experience that seeped into my body and sprouted roots and took a firm hold- for a time.  Now it is time to transplant those roots- to another experience.  Many more experiences.  It seems I have a habit of 2 years. Two years here.  Two years there etc. We shall see what develops in the future.  I don't necessarily feel like placing roots firmly in any one particular place really.  So far, Turkey and Hawaii are my roots that keep me rooted.  But being rooted means I can pick up anywhere and everywhere.  This. THIS is a luxury.  Yes, luxury can be had on a shoestring.  I have nothing and so much at the same time. 

What has truly endeared me to Bahrain are the friendships I've made. I feel that I made a place for myself here.  I got comfortable here.  I felt at home here.  Sweet A`ali village I will miss.  My trips to Delmon Pottery to see Masjid and his family and buy pottery for presents and hang out in the back watching the potters spin their craft and all the new litters of kitties scrambling about.  This was sweet and made me feel rooted.  Reminded me a bit of local-style families back home on Maui.

I will miss the A`ali Walking Track.  I've written about this a lot during my tenure here.  Two years ago it wasn't too popular, but now... Now men, women, families, etc. all come down once the sun sets and get their exercise on.  There is a small playground now and a man sets up a little outside 'cold store' pop-up shop of sorts.  There is a fitness area with bars and groups of well-defined young men are always doing gymnastics on.  Young girls are even running on the (brick) track.  Yes!  I love to see this.  I see couples walking on the track whose arms are dangling so close to each other's that I think they must want to join hands and proudly display their affection for one another- almost :)

It is with a heavy heart that I will have to give up my weekend escapades to BaYoga studio in south Juffair.  Man this has been my savings grace.  My yoga practice has deepened here for sure.  The atmosphere was the most pure that I've ever experienced in a yoga studio.  The House of Yoga and Zen in Makawao, Maui comes a close second for sure.  I really felt the union of yoga here; the union of body, breath and mind.  I learned so much about myself at BaYoga. 

One lesson that is so valuable that a value cannot be attached to 'it'; go forward with pure intentions and backbends can be amazing!  Thank you Abelish (not sure about spelling of his name) for providing such a sanctuary to practice in.  I learned so much from him- mostly in terms of how to approach difficult tasks or poses.  As with anything, go into any new endeavor with as much grace as possible.

Oh no... it's light out already... Ugh not even 4:30 am... I have to sleep...

peace

5.28.2015

The problem with nasal passages...

Friday morning and can't move off my bed... My normal routine has been to get up and head straight to yoga class but today I can't seem to move. I've got some sort of sinus thing going on, or I'm not sure actually.  For the past month the air conditioner has been on in whatever room I'm on.  Basically it's a necessity. Survival really. I'm not used to living this way and don't like it.  I think the AC can make people sick.  My unit seems old and like it needs to be cleaned out.  Anyway, for a few weeks now I've had a lot of phlegm in my throat just hovering around.  Not really going away, but not really dragging me down either. Gargling with warm salt water, Neti Pot, whatever. Nothing works. This shit is holding tight... I hate the AC. Evil, evil monster.

Last night though it dragged me down.  I was at my favorite Mexican restaurant here drinking Margarita's with my friend who was visiting from a little town in the desert north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  We were catching up on old times (Tunisia) and new futures (both of us getting out of the Middle East).  I was already spinning a bit, but when I got home my nasal passages were getting out of control.  All I could do to prevent feeling miserable was pass out, which I promptly did.

So now here I am, Saturday morning wishing I was in yoga class right now, but I'm not.  I'm in my bed with the AC on typing... Shit happens.  Must keep remembering that mantra. I'm looking forward to not needing AC ever again in a living environment.  Yea, that's right. Shift happens too!

In other news, last week I got excited a little early, so started to take apart my life in this apartment for the past 2 years.  Yes, in one afternoon it just about all came down and got packed away.  I've got four large suitcases full of my life here that awaits my life in Istanbul. The kitties sure were curious.  They were, and continue to be so, in various stages of lounge behavior on every suitcase.

I did a one last deep-cleaning (my style of deep cleaning) as well.  That was exhausting.  I see why everybody has cleaning people come to their houses to do this stuff.  I wasn't able to bring myself to do this though.  It seems weird honestly.  It's also weird taking an entire morning/early afternoon to clean.  Definitely not enjoyable, even while listening to heavy metal...

So my house is bare and I'm officially on bare-bones living.  Feels good.  It's only another month... Yes, I got a little too excited a little too early, but no matter.  It's done now and I don't have to deal with it in the coming weeks.  Better this way. Now I can just cruise.

I was busy yesterday making plans for an Aegean excursion with L-Fezz. We will seek out our new go-to spot on the Aegean Coast of Turkey.   Now that our hippie camp has been sold on the Mediterranean, we need a new go-to spot. It's going to be epic.  The 3Hs: hiking, hangovers, hanging (at beach). Yes, this is what I do. I'm still an amateur at one of these endeavors, which makes dealing with the other 2 a little dicey, at times...

Well, since I've dealt myself a guilt trip for not making it to yoga this morning, I think I'll check on the pool; if it's still tolerable to go in, I will.  Likely the water is already too hot to partake in this activity though... Ugh, my last Middle Eastern summer. Period. Unless I was ever to move to Oman in the future... Again, LOVE THAT COUNTRY, in spite of how hot it is there.  Yep, IMHO, the only place to live in the Middle East (for me that is). Bahrain is sweet, but small.  Too much like back home on Maui in that respect (and only that respect).

Okay, carry on


5.08.2015

"normal" is the new black...



Well folks, it's nearly 3pm here in the Middle East and this is not normal for me to be blogging at this time.  Perhaps because I've had such an abnormally normal day today... Who knows.  It feels right, even though I don't have my steaming cuppa joe right here next to me on my bed (swapped that out for a smoothie I made from bananas, blueberries, red grapes, brazil nuts, Macha Powder, Spirulina, flax seeds, chia seeds, Omega 3 oil, almond rice milk, dessicated acai berry powder and powdered vitamin C... Yes folks, THAT is normal for me... Is it normal that I cart most all of this stuff around the world from Hawaii so I have access to only the purest blends of superfoods?  YES. Completely normal, in my world. The only thing that would make that smoothie more normal would be if I had my Vitamix here to blend up all the ingredients. Unfortunately the Vitamix had to stay back in Hawaii- for 5 years now...  It's got a good home though. I do miss that machine-0-power!

The kitties are next to me in their various stages of sleep. Although it's already pretty bloody hot here, they seem to make-do and adjust.  Of course my bedroom is always blacked out... The rest of the house is sunny, but my bedroom always has to be cave-like...always.  Most definitely it's the coolest spot in the house, in more ways than one... Again, very normal HollyMissBerry behavior.

My day started off heading to BaYoga in Juffair. BAM. Afterwards we headed to the beach for some fun in the sun.  Again, this is all very normal for a day in my life- even here in the Middle East.  I have to say, I do tend to seek out the normal anywhere in the world that I live.  I can't always find my most favorite normal ingredients, accoutrements, but I make-do and  adjust... For example, I drink gin & tonics now to compensate for another normal that I can't often find here... No biggie. That abnormal might just be normal in Istanbul- the next chapter... In fact, I know it will be...

So, the beach (more like a lagoon actually) was calm. No one else was hanging out in a bikini (normal for here). No one else was really on the beach- except for a few residents/renters lounging about on their decks, etc. We did get to see a black stork descend down to the shoreline and hunt crabs and little fish. This kept us occupied for quite a while.  As well the buoyancy of the water.  You can float forever here in the Gulf. It's like there's no possible way to sink.

So, that's about it folks.  That's my day thus far.  Now it's time to turn on the A/C- a soon-to-be normal every day occurrence for the rest of my time here in my tiny island host nation.

Oh yea, napping is normal now as well...

Peace




4.27.2015

I tell you...

April appreciation,

April has been a pleasant surprise this year.  The typical April weather has been evasive this year. April thus has shown a vast amount of modesty and restraint... I can still walk outside and not be met with an impenetrable wall of heat that forces me to momentarily stop in my tracks, gasp, breathe out slowly and continue on- quickly- to my destination, which usually consists of another air conditioned environment.

Instead, April has been lovely, tantalizing even! I've been able to run on the A`ali running track in relative peace. Sure I sweat, but it's not dripping into my eyeballs. The air conditioning in my room was on for a few days last week, but not the past few nights.  I've hardly had it on in my living room as well.  It's not even necessary- yet...

April has abated, for whatever reason.

The Bahrain Heritage Festival is happening right now.  Music, food, crafts, people-watching, etc. The community spirit comes alive in the evenings here in Bahrain, as well as throughout the MENA region I have found. 

As I prepare to depart my sweet host country that I have called home for the past 2 years, many things vie for my attention: That Egyptian bakery at Al Waqif Souk, Muharraq old town, the coffee shop at the King Fahad Causeway in the middle (never seems to be open), hanging out at Capitol Mall 'shooting the shit' (talk story) with the basket weaver old man that has a twinkle in his eye,  the fabric sellers at the Manama Souk, cruising Bokawara 'hood in East Riffa a few more times to enjoy the carnival of affections taking place in carloads full of young Middle Eastern females and males in a parade of attention-getting techniques that will never cease to stop fascinating me, etc.

Yea, I have a lot on my list to take care of before I depart.  The frenzy begins to soak up as much of Bahrain as I can. This has certainly been a pleasant, unexpected stopover on my path... 



Pedal Power: One of the vendors had this lovely little set-up.  The table was full of traditional sweets

This old man was happily working away on his nets



Looking up at a shisha cafe

4.12.2015

April Showers Brings May Flowers?


Perhaps you can't tell from the picture, but it is oppressively hot as well as engulfed in a sandstorm in the 'hood



I smell it in the air.  I taste it in my mouth.  It swirls around my feet... Yes, I just woke up this Monday morning to another sandstorm... Fortunately FaceBook Oracle told me all about it in advance as many friends in UAE & Saudi were already posting about the impending arrival here of another sandstorm. Thus meaning that I managed to close all windows before the storm hit... I don't usually manage to do that so I feel I'm already winning.  This year we've been getting hit by quite a few.  I don't remember this happening last year- at least with this frequency and intensity.

Speaking of intensity... I'm headed to the Formula One races this weekend here in Zallaq!  Again this year a friend is working the circuit so giving up his tickets to us :)  Again this year I do not have binoculars... Fortunately they are pretty decent seats situated above and near the 1st bend in the track. We saw some good action last year from those seats.  Not that the races themselves isn't thrilling enough, but the people watching is equally entertaining.  I mean, you see jewel-encrusted people there.  You see thobes with diamond cuff-links.  You see abayas dripping in Swarovsky crystals.  You also see a lot of normal looking peeps too... You will also see Starr, Dot and myself!  Hopefully the sandstorm session will be over.  Did I mention that Pitbull will be djing?  I'm looking forward to that as I'm a kinda-fan...

Last Thursday- that was the day. That was the day that the weather 'broke'. It was a definite feeling of the rise of temperature.  It seemingly went from high 70s to high 90s overnight. Everybody noticed it and talked of it.  I held off with the air conditioning until Saturday evening... Now, though, air con will be a constant I fear.  This is how the rest of my time in the Middle East will be spent- going from one air con environment to another air con environment, etc.

I managed to get back in my yoga routine at BaYoga. Just going inside that humble yoga shala makes me realize how much I will miss it.  It's such an easy vibe and no one is there to babble about yoga, etc.  Everyone is just into their practice, and then they leave.  Although, this past week I noticed some new people and a few in particular kept talking.  There is a point in class where there is kind of a little break and our teacher walks around and gives us adjustments, etc. Usually if you opt out, or don't take them, you just sit in meditation or Child's Pose, etc.  These girls decided it was time to talk-story as if they were at a cafe or something.  I don't know, but I thought it was incredibly rude.  Perhaps they just don't understand that yoga isn't simply an 'exercise' but a deepening of development to quiet the mind, as well as the body.  I let it temporarily affect me, but then I decided that I needed to become unaware of it and just let it go.  I guess I decided to turn the situation into a lesson for myself in my own personal development of quieting my own mind! 

I am amazed though as Friday morning class is always full, but on Saturday mornings sometimes I'm the only one or there is one other person.  This Saturday there was another guy and myself. I always enjoy this class as instruction is so personalized.  I hadn't seen him before, but he looks like he will be a regular and is pretty dedicated to his practice. Our teacher had us strike up some rather complex asanas that took some mental/physical preparations to gear up for.  At one point my mind tried to take over.  I said, "Abelish I can't do this pose today", as I fell over. He did not falter for a moment.  He simply waited (signaling me that I was going to try again) and casually said something to the effect of, "Yes you can.  Don't tell yourself you can't."  What happened next?  I nailed the asana- right before I tilted over again!  It was Pigeon Pose variation(s) that looked like this:




It's amazing how one's mind can control one's body.  You don't even realize it and live your life like this.  I'm being dramatic, but to express my point.  It just hit home for me that my mind was resisting what my body could fully do, and I don't know why.  I don't know why both my mind and body weren't working in unison to bring me happiness.  Why did it take someone else to tell ME I could do it?  Well, that is a cerebral question with a cerebral answer... The lesson (re)learned is that you can do a lot, but you have to train your mind.  This is what a lot of people don't realize about yoga.  You are training your mind as well as your body.  It is discipline.  It is intense.  It is light-hearted.  It is the union of body and mind- yoga.

I  remember being burnt out on yoga a few years back- when I was still back home on Maui.  It wasn't the practice, but the perception of yoga that was starting to annoy me.  I kept hearing in many different classes with different instructors stuff like, "Keep it yummy" or "Doesn't that feel delicious", etc.  There was always this talk of 'heart-felt', etc.  I mean, yes okay but do we have to talk about it.  we KNOW it.  I just felt like so much superficial talking was going on.  I just wanted to deepen my practice and to do it in a group setting.  There was only one instructor that gave me this peace of mind where I could just be.  I could drown out all sounds and have my practice. This was at the House of Yoga and Zen.  Perhaps it's because of the nature of Ashtanga Yoga itself in that it is a specific routine that one flows though holding each pose for only 5 seconds.  You flow so fluidly that there is no time to let the mind wander, in my humble opinion.  As well, there is a way to channel one's energy into the body and give up the mind.  There simply isn't enough time for the mind and body to communicate together (meaning that the mind has no time to try to convince the body that something can't be accomplished).  I don't know, but it was at this point that I realized I needed to explore a deeper practice on my own.  I say this because I could not practice Ashtanga every day- as is needed with that branch of yoga- because I was always up early and working archaeology jobs on construction sites so couldn't make the 7am classes.  I could only make Sunday morning classes. 

That was also about the time that I moved to Tunisia so my practice had to go 'underground' so to speak.  Same thing as when I moved to Southeast Turkey.  I had to develop my own home practice, which is not an easy thing to do.  I still battle with it, and am fortunate enough here in Bahrain to have access to some great yoga classes.  It is freeing.  It is liberating.  I really missed the interaction of open classes- even though we are not necessarily interacting with each other during practice. At one point yesterday morning the teacher was adjusting Spencer and I was watching how he was adjusting (every yoga teacher is always fascinated with how another teacher gives adjustments) him.  We both caught eyes briefly and it was just a pleasant exchange.  That is all.  He was nailing the pose and I was excited and he was feeling elated I could tell.  It was just a tiny moment of sharing something together yet totally separate.

My friend Angie had friends visiting from North Carolina this past week so they had a full fun-packed schedule of events that I tagged along with for some.  Probably the highlight though was finding Farheen- an Indian woman originally from Bombay that lives here and does a kick-ass job of henna application, as well as teach yoga!  I'll check out her yoga classes soon enough, but I am really impressed with her henna designs.  She does it at her house and is just a wonderful person with a sweet vibe.  There were 5 of us so it was a full evening of henna, food and talk-story.  My kinda evening indeed.

Here I am at my beach after yoga class on Saturday reading my book.  Yes, I'm the only person 'on the beach' in terms of a towel on the sand... A beach culture Bahrain is not!!!
a traditional Bahraini-weaved basket I got from a cool old man at the Capital Mall Artisan Collective.  He gave me a bunch of freshly-picked sprigs of basil.  Smelled delightful! Oh, also my beloved Alfonso Mangoes- which are to-die-for

I'll end with some other pictures of various hoods in Bahrain that I frequent and find fascinating

This is towards South Sehla. This hood holds lots of "BBQs"

This is in Al Hajer.  I go through here to take a short-cut to get back on the freeway when I want to avoid Budaiya Highway


The pet store where I get catfood is nearby to here

On the way to Starr's villa- in Al Hajer village.  I really like this village


an unfinished mosque in Al Hajer.  It seems work was stopped on it a few years ago, right after work started on it...


By the way, April showers are non-existent here in the Middle East...

4.03.2015

Tuned in and Turned on- to MY frequency of love



8 am in bed listening so Antonio Carlos Jobim with a hot cuppa joe.  Kitties are gleefully playing around the house, now that it is (mostly) rid of sand from this  past week's sandstorm that came in and held my house hostage...  Yea, true story.  Sand everywhere.  I could track all movements throughout the house using my cleaning skills as an indicator of where there were still layers of sand I had not excavated deep enough & cleared.  Obviously, my cleaning skills lack but whatever...

As I woke up today I thought to myself, "Do I spring out of bed"  Do I get it together to get myself together and get in car and drive to 9:30 yoga class? Or, do I lounge in bed and drink coffee at a leisurely pace?"  Option 3 works for me today! 

Speaking of coffee, I'm quite excited about my Yemen coffee that I recently purchased... I am patiently waiting for the Starbucky's swill to run out so I can test out what I think will be an excellent brew.  Perhaps I should have gotten more? 

Yes, relaxation rules the day, or the weekend more appropriately.  The past month every weekend has been absorbed by travel and running around.  I am ready to simply sit and stare at walls... Yesterday even staring at walls was interrupted- by 11 episodes of House of Cards... Honestly, it takes me so long to watch these awesome tv series.  When I finally figure out how awesome they are, I go on an episode binge.  I did have intermittent bouts of house-cleaning, running, yoga and push-ups though so not all was lost in slackerverse...

Today.  Today though is all about the animals!  I'm catsitting for my downstairs neighbor and he just had his balls chopped off so... he needs some extra loving.  My kitties need loving too!  As well, they need food!  Yes, it's a trip to my favorite pet store on Budaiya Highway. It's a completely rural experience here and I love it that I can find gems like that here in this strange little island nation. 

Lastly, today is about the BSPCA.  Yes, it's a day to share some love with all the homeless kitties and doggies!  I suppose the animals are not exactly 'homeless' as they do have a home to live in while they await their forever homes.  There are far too many homeless animals here in Bahrain though.  Also, there are far too many assholes here in Bahrain that treat animals like shit... That is universal though.  I'm quite impressed with the large community of animal care-takers here honestly.  Some asshole burned a cat alive last week, in a cage, and got it on video.  It was posted to many websites (I was following the BSPCA Facebook page), and within a few days a few supporters got a reward bag of 600BD together (approximately 1500 US$) and within days, the culprits were turned in and, apparently are currently arrested.  I'm hoping for a positive ending with this (goes something like, "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth...")

It got me to thinking about religion- all religion.  Isn't it supposed to be about love and compassion and acts of charity? Sick of all the hypocrits- from all religious backgrounds.  I'm not an aethiest by any means (to me this simply begs for inclusion into some group of non-believers that wishes to adhere to some group norms- such as a 'religion'). I simply pick and choose what I wish to accept at various times when I think about these things.

What exactly is a 'pious' act anyway?  Is this possible in the current state of the world? Can you be pious in advance so you can 'sin' at a later date and use that ace in your back pocket  as a 'get out of jail card' such as in Monopoly?  What exactly is a 'sin' anyway?  I vaguely remember what is represented during my youth spent in a Catholic Church every Sunday morning at 7 am... I have different opinions now.  Or, I've decided that it is a gray area.  There is no black and white.

Let's just say that this Sunday morning I am reflecting on going to my type of institution of worship- a jungle back home in Hawaii.  Filling my body with Mana from the land. Having my body adorned with black sand from Maui's volcanic shores of the east part of the island.  Having seawater, (my 'holy' water?) in my hair to put a spell on me and not let me forget who rules the land, the heavens, the hells of my world. Jumping naked into waterfalls and feeling free.  Feeling like perhaps people are watching, but do they really care? No, not really.  Not in my world.

What else am I thinking about?  I'm thinking about how back home in the summertime I feel so free.  My HQ is up in Makawao- Cowboy Country.  I think about how I get up and decide to go to the beach and simply walk into town and hitchhike down into Paia and walk over to Baldwin Beach, or Tavaras Bay, or at the Youth Center.  I think about lying on the warm sand and how the sun eases away all the stress and tension from my body that has been building up from living in this part of the world.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the challenge of living where/as I do, but I do need healing every year away from it.

I think about how not strange it is to be in constant movement back home.  Dancing in reckless, wild abandonment (and not in a thumping nightclub full of losers and hookers intermixed with a few like-minded expats). Choosing to do yoga on the beach rather than inside a classroom.  Want to do a headstand on the beach?  Why not.  Go for it.  No one will stare you down.  No one will even notice.  You have a teeny bikini on too?  Not a problem. Do your thing peeps. Smoke. Drink. Make out. Read a book. Whatever. 

You read my words this morning and you might think my mind is in the gutter.  Nope.  It's already back home on the shores of Maui. As well, my mind is projecting on my future home- Istanbul...

(how's that for a cliff hanger...)

The race is on folks...to get back to my 'normal'

... to get back to MY frequency of LOVE.  Soon come Hawaii...



3.02.2015

Danger: High Voltage- Bring it on Home...





Tuesday morning in bed with coffee and kitties listening to Led Zeppelin's "Bring It On Home".  Damn, real rock and roll. Makes me swoon.  Now, it's story-time people- about swooning to 70s rock and driving on Friday mornings here in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

I've likely mentioned this before, but Fridays are the best *safest* day to drive here because it's the 1st day of the weekend and many are preparing for late morning prayers at mosque.  Mornings are especially empty of traffic.  At this time, I always find myself driving from A`ali to Juffair to BaYoga. 

Saudi Aramco (eastern Saudi Arabia) DJs are always playing 70s rock on Friday morning.  It's soooo soothing driving and rocking out in the car.  It has to be a funny site because I just can't sit still and listen. I'm all over the place rocking out so any random car driving parallel with me gets a show. 

Of course, these past 4 months have been 'winter' here so there is no need for air con so windows are open and music is blaring.  Blaring. I know it's 'haram' and I'm generally careful about being culturally sensitive but sometimes one just has to cut loose.  It's especially relevant because I'm heading to yoga class.  Therapy before therapy... I get to class and already am 'tuned-in and turned-on.'

Of course, the rest of the weekend the Aramco radio station is playing rock, but Friday mornings... That's some good shit man.  It's a blessing to feel 'normal' here, and y'all that know me well know what 'normal' is for me.

Speaking of 'normal', it's a beach day today :)

My favorite *not many other options* beach here in this island kingdom.  With Shamika from last April :)


2.25.2015

Turkey Trotting 2015

I was recently in Turkey, for a few reasons. Here they are: Istanbul, Gaziantep, Antalya...



the cats of Istanbul


on a walkabout to Moda for some cold beverages

kitty kat capsule hostels

Gaziantep

Ada sunshine

in the old quarter of Gaziantep

Chalet Settar








mating season

Nano Nano...

gallery hopping for the free booze



Antalya Archaeology



















with Jamila Jordan ELF :)