April 24, 2011 Easter Sunday
This post is being written from my friend Michelle's lovely house in the hills of Haiku. It's a beautiful, sunny Sunday and both the living room doors are open and fresh gusts of breezy winds. Just watched an incredible docu on a road trip to Patagonia in the late 60's, "180º south." It brought back so many great moments of driving down there with an ex of mine a few years back. We went down there 2 years in a row I believe, or maybe that trek to Alaska split up those trips. I can't exactly remember.
What a trip Chile was, and all those wild surf breaks. How about that man and his son who hung out with us all day long and then my friend and the son went out for a sunset surf- all alone. They had the spot all to themselves. Apparently in the summertime the place was happening, but during the winter season the days were long and lonely with long shadows. It was breathtaking. I remember those 2 huge slobbery dogs that came up to the car and just slobbered all over us- haha. I think they were St. Bernards... Speaking of St. Bernards, during a trip to Argentina, or was it Puerto Rico with another travel mate? Now I can't even remember my travel mates and where we went together... Alas! What a good life no? So, these dogs were poised in a very opportunistic place in some beautiful turn out spot with a breathtaking view. I remember you could pose with the (mangy) dogs- for a fee. It was so amusing as I had never seen such mangy dogs used for touristic purposes. Like who in their right mind was going to pay to have a picture taken with these rabid, drooling beasts. It made me wonder what the townfolk were like... As I recall we didn't pass many humans... Now I remember that was Argentina. Or Chile. Well, I do remember who the ex was though! Haha.
So today's online headlines from Al Jazeera were alarming, and brought back both difficult, and joyous, memories of Tunisia during the Revolution. What really struck home, and fresh all at the same time was the map provided of all the cities and villages throughout the country where there were current uprisings. Aleppo, Syria (up in the north and the 2nd largest city if I'm not mistaken) had a big red peg as well as about 10 other cities. This is relevant as I am moving near to the Syrian border where Aleppo appears rather close. There is some apprehension, as well as looking forward to moving into a new region of the world. Here comes the next adventure, and is it going to be interesting. I don't have to arrive to my job (teaching at a local, private university) until September 1st, so will have about 6 weeks to just re-explore Istanbul, where all my friends live, and Kabak Valley, where another friend lives who runs a camping place on the Mediterranean past Fethiye & Oludeniz.
I'm feeling good about the small city in the southeast that I'm moving to. I guess good enough that I passed up a job at a more prestigous university, and in Izmir to boot! Unfortunately the income they quoted me... well, I just could not get the numbers to work out for me in the end. It's a shame, but all happens for a reason, and I'm pretty excited to move to such a historically relevant city from Turkey's past, and up to the present. When I think about it, I wasn't ready to leave Tunis when I did. It just came out of necessity. Pocketbook necessity. As all know, there are different types of 'necessities' at different times in ones life. Pocketbook necessity necessitated this sudden change. So, Istanbul will wait a bit longer, but it is so close. The good news is that I am so close to the southern Mediterranean, the island of Cyprus, the border of Syria, the East of Turkey and its mysteries that the land holds tight grip to. I will pry that grip loose and see into the bloody past. This is what I do best. This is what keeps a pulse running throughout my shell's interior. Ahhhh I can smell the Baklava baking. I can feel the previous walls of the cities medina already and traverse its winding paths. I will get hopelessly lost of course, but it will become somewhat familiar to me. That is what gives such great pleasure: turning something foreign into something familiar. To feel a part of the pulse of the people. Who will I meet that takes me to my first hammam in the city? This is especially exciting to ponder as the hammam, for a western girl like me, is the jackpot of my lottery to really feel foreign in a foreign environment, but really settle into and feel at home with. The ultimate female bonding experience in the Muslim world that I have found.
The steam just settles into the cracks in our fears of our mind and placates them. Just irons them right out into mellow, pliable mush that is ready to accept the experience and soak up all the knowledge from it and really integrate into the host environment. Spoken like a true cultural anthropologist- (well ok, an anthropologist that got mixed up and distracted by archaeology for the past 15 years! Haha). Perhaps I've been watching too many episodes of Bones season 5 on Netflix Instant View since I've returned to the Islands for my short stay.
So I head out on July 11th. Headed into (another) new life, but one I have been realizing for years. I have had this slow-moving goal of moving to (Istanbul) Turkey seriously for the past 3.5 years. It was after my last visit in the summer/fall of 2007 that I realized I would one day live in Turkey. That last trip got me back to grad school, and into high gear. So, Tunisia was just supposed to be a short intermission from my plan A, my plan A- so to speak. The trial run. Well, from my previous postings all you know that those plans got cut short, and that is partially why I am posting today as my memories of Tunisia flooded back to me this morning while reading the news in bed on my trusty MacBook Pro.
Memories such as Maison Blanch, and that hot bartender, Karim... Oh is he beautiful! And that fantastic Mosaic Club. The TGM train. Memories of Kirsten & Stephen & myself cruising around La Goulette one warm winters day. Of the Kirstens, of Faeez, of my flat, Houssem, Avril, the kitty kat in Stephen's building, my downstairs nosy neighbor, Cyrus, Bombay chawarma restaurant on the corner just across the street from my old flat, the west Africans in my old neighborhood that would walk by, the chicken place that Stephen loved so much- and that I would come to adore as well, Anouar & the Italian Club, Circulo & all the strange things that took place there. Such a bohemian environment I always thought, that place- especially after the revolution when the revolution was lifted to 10pm and I would observe all the tables, smokey so that my eyes would burn, of people hunkered down in winter jackets and chatting excitedly about the days, or weeks events. I love those moments, and this is my way to help to imprint them into my memory banks.
Now my thoughts wander to my mother. Where should we take a trip to. I will have about a week to spend with her before I take off to Turkey, and I want to do a road trip with her perhaps. Or maybe fly to Montreal. Would she like that? I know I would like to see Montreal! Perhaps we'll just meet up in Oregon at my brothers shacks. One of my brothers & his family is planning on going to East Africa to do some aid work. I'm not sure of their departure dates. That would be awesome to meet up with them somewhere in Africa actually... Hmmm this is what happens on lazy, sunny Sunday afternoons in the jungle: one ponders the present,the future, the past, the parallel universes, avatars, time travel, visions of future lovers (the beautiful man in Tunis I did not have proper time to become familiar with...lol), past loves that never seem to die, but just take on different roles from where we left off when we meet up during those short periods of time when we find ourselves on the same continent. All of it, just baby steps in our existence here. It's a fantastic journey, and it just keeps on going on a trajectory that isn't necessarily linear at all.
So back on planet Earth here, specifically:
Latitude (DMS): 20° 52' 0 N
156° 30' 2 W
I've forgot the original intent for this post, but it doesn't really matter now does it. It's just storytime after all. My story. My rules. I will leave you with some pictures...