2112 Yep... still here

...and the last time I checked, today, so was my student loan debt. Alas, Plan B, which was Plan A all along: work like a dog and pay it off...

Ordinary evening on this much deserved Aloha Friday here in the Fertile Crescent.  Requisite de-stress routine pau hana quitting time back at the apartment, dinner w/da boyz at our new fav spot here in 'better-than-decent' restaurant row that has in the past few months spawned a slew of fairly cool, low-key eateries.

People watching was quite to my enjoyment this evening as well. Some folks that were very easy on the eyes if you catch my drift.  What is happening in this Universitesi mahallesi (neighborhood) of Gaziantep in the past few months? It's a noticeable improvement in atmosphere. There is literally a tri-fecta of new restaurants within 150 meters from my apartment building. And a real coffee joint, apparently as I haven't indulged yet since my coffee is the best in town-especially on the weekends...

I'm glad we're all still here actually. I mean, I've built up quite the wardrobe in the past decade, and with the addition to winter wear, well it's complete. Except for boots. More boots. I need more boots. I'm mad about boots. Thank the Mayans for that. To celebrate the lack of apocalyptic behavior, I will celebrate life by purchasing an exquisite pair of... yep you guessed it- BOOTS in Portugal.  I just love a  European downtown shopping district with a mission!

Only 2 more hours left in this day. Like every other day at this time. Whatever. I still hear the neighbor chicks being loud and obnoxious w/their squeaky voices. I still take my trash out- that is when Warden Woodie slacks on his duties. I will still go through my bouts of listening to crap 90s music when I get in 'those' moods. I will continue to hope that suddenly hip Gaziantep births a tri-fecta of super-healers: acupuncturist/masseuse/chiropractor.

If I'm not making sense to you, you don't know me really well likely. That's alright. Plenty of time now. Ima just hang here in the Fertile Crescent and chill the f*ck out. The next cataclysmic event is prolly not 'scheduled' to happen for a while. Please refresh my memory if this is incorrect. Am I missing something? There is nothing on my iCal to suggest otherwise anyway...

Okay it is officially Aloha Friday NIGHT. Let the shenanigans begin and continue throughout the weekend.

PS- I'm sorry to report that I'm still not proofing these posts.  I do miss my editor-at-large dearly. He kept me in check... RIP lil Kolohe K Kitty Kat, aka Jackie Love. 


testing 1, 2, 3. testing

With the recent first snowfall of the season, I’ve started to preoccupy myself with thoughts of snow. Logical. Now, I don’t have much experience in snow or living in places where it snows so I’m a bit of a neophyte. What I do enjoy about it is how the ordinary landscape scenery morphs into some kind of wonderland. I mean, even Gaziantep appears ‘mystical’ when viewed with snow-cover…

Gaziantep also appears ‘mystical’ to me when I think of its ancient history, but that is another matter entirely.  Gaziantep mostly just appears… ordinary to me. Ordinary in the sense that, let’s be honest, it’s not a really pretty area. It’s not the mountains and it’s not the beach. The landscape is just ordinary. What is extraordinary to me, when I’m in my office at work looking out the window to the south from the 5th floor is the view- unimpeded rolling hills straight to Syria, which is involved in a shitstorm of human rights violations right now.

But I digress. This is supposed to be a happy blog post where I keep to the weather report, as well as my esoteria thoughts which some of you get and perhaps many of you can’t even begin to piece my abstract thoughts together into a logical puzzle.  Anyhow… uhm yea. The weather. So, all this snow has put me in the mood for 2 things: a semi-deserted beach (populated with my own storyville characters that I have exquisitely brewed up in my alternate reality world complete with names and even pet names) OR going snowboarding. I feel I should make use of all this snow that is surely to continue to fall, right? 

Even though I am a snow-neophyte, I have been able to spend quality time in some of the best snow resorts in the world.  Most precious on this list includes snowboarding in the Andes of both Argentina and Chile.  Vancouver also ranks on the list (a bit slushy, but what views from mountain to ocean. As does the Snowy Mountains in Australia (well, you can’t see the ocean from that vantage point, but it was still lovely). As does Alaska. What a great ego-booster mountain to snowboard Alyeska is!  As is various parts of Amerika. I will even include that silly little Hunter Mountain just outside of New York City a few hours.

I’d like to add Turkey to this list. This year seems like the likely year. It’s unfortunate that I have 2 sets of board gear in 2 separate states in a country far, far away… Anyway, if any of you phantom readers (that refuse to identify yourselves properly by officially following my blog…) are from Turkey and have knowledge of snow parks here, let me know your opinions.

 Erzerum is high on my list. I suppose just for the novelty.  The place (city?) seems enshourded in mystery.  It is like an ice-city perhaps in the wintertime as it seems the coldest temperatures come from there.  I know there is a quaint little ski resort there. Yes, this sounds sweet. Sweet meaning that you don’t have to wait 20 minutes in the chairlift line to get back up the mountain like you have to do in many places.

Kayseri holds some intrigue as well.  Perhaps mainly because it is so close to Göreme- which I love, and have spotted some seriously handsome men residing in… So there is that. I assume that there are a few ski areas there and nearby. 

What is odd, though, is that nobody talks about these places. They exist. Do locals go there? Do ex-pats go there? Who skis/snowboards in this country? I don’t recall anyone at work talking about going skiing. I don’t recall any of my Istanbul friends talking about going boarding. So, here lies the mystery of who is populating these mountains of fun. Speaking of fun, I do hope there are powder days at these places. Nothing better than wiping out in feather-light fluff!

So, I will conduct some investigations and create an action-research plan accordingly complete with a reconnaissance survey. Implementing a data recovery plan would be the icing on the cake… Perhaps in Cappadocia? 

Something that goes well with snow is apres snowboard session cocktails at the lodge.  Sitting amongst other ‘pleasantly exhausted from tearing up the slopes friends’ is just plain awesome. Everybody is exhausted, exhilirated, telling tall tales of epic adventures of snow-surfing down near-vertical faces of untracked mountains. In reality this means I successfully didn’t fall while warily traversing a ‘Blue Diamond’ labeled run…

People watching is always a thrill while partaking in adult libations at said lodge. Seriously, who can frown after a day on the mountain. Everybody looks shiny and beautiful and glowing from an inner knowledge that hanging out in nature and exercising ROCKS. Anyway, I’ll stop here before this becomes x-rated…

But of course, there is also the tales of the ‘infamous hottub party’ apres ski as well. You know, you see the picture all the time in rated R B-grade Hollywood movies that center around colleges and frathouses, etc. Well, it happens in the real world as well. With very similar results too- usually, or not… Again, I’m trying to keep this rated R so I stop here.

In conclusion,  the ‘big day’ is coming in a little over 48 hours.  Yes, I’m talking THE Mayan prophecy.  What does this mean, I ask myself. I’d like to think that the only thing erased from the face of this Planet Earth is my graduate student loan debt. Yea. I said it. I’m actually fantacizing about it.  Well, actually racists can disappear too. And gun-totting cray-crays. And shitty politicians. And shitty dictators. And all the fast food joints. And dis-ease. Blah blah blah. You get the picture.

Well, it’s not snowing at the moment.  All the rain has made for a slushy mush. Cold, wet slushy mush. You know what goes really well with cold, wet slushy mush? Peppermint Schnapps Hot Chocolate, that’s what.  Do I have any? No. You know what went well with snowfall last night? Tequila. That’s right folks, tequila. Just 1 shot mind you. Girlfriends, cats, tequila and snowfall. That was my quad-fecta last night. I just thought I’d mention that…




Nearing the end of the day here in the Fertile Crescent. The day progressed as anticipated- meaning that it was business as usual.  I'm not one to talk about work in this blog because… well, it's work. I can say, though, that in the past (my archaeological past), I adored discussing work. Mostly because work was pretty fascinating. We're talking ARCHAEOLOGY here. The coolness factor cannot be expressed enough. That's all imma gonna say about that…

Since we're nearing the end of the year, as well as the supposedly ending of the world as per some ancient Mayan prophecy, and this is the time to reflect. So… here goes:

I'm on my 2nd year here in G-tep. It's an interesting enough place to dwell for some time. It's certainly given me plenty of time to… to… well, there is plenty to mention… Anyway, the end result is that everything that happens- well it happens for a reason. My 2nd year here is for a reason or two. I am starting to yearn for a few things… quality organic produce, health supplements, alternative medical practices such as acupuncture, massage and chiropractors, a real yoga outlet. If I was feeling really smarmy (which I might currently indeed be), I'd have to include a beach, surf and beach boys/toys. This is the tipping point…

Luckily a much-deserved break is coming up in Jan/Feb. I'm so outta here for some RandR. Where? Portugal! We will cruise the country in only that style that the most devoted travel aficionados (with little $) can do…we're going to enjoy the shit out of that country and all that it has to offer- which is vast in terms of my likes and desires…

NOTE: haha just when I'm planning my escape something random happens: a quite large fireworks display in the middle of the week (Wednesday evening 8:30 pm) for no apparent reason than just that. Perhaps it's to celebrate 12/12/12… It's stuff like this that makes it interesting here. Yes, I focus on the little things here that keep me going...

So high on the list for Portugal is checking out boots, food, wine, Fado, architecture, hunks, surf, art, sunsets over the ocean, sunrises after a night out, nightlife, mayhem and other such shenanigans that I so love and (mostly) cannot indulge in over here.

Yea, there is nothing like the feeling of hopping on an international flight, popping a vitamin and ordering alcoholic beverages to get to that mellow spot and sit back and watch the kilometers fly by… Oh I guess I can include the duty free shopping in Paris @ Charles De Gaule airport. This has taken on a new level of awesome for me since I found where they stock the ginormous marscapone chocolate bars. AND Paris Vogue. It has to go in tandem, those two items. 

So, my miles have been accruing pretty rapidly in past years living abroad. Must say though that the ticket back to Hawaii (from anywhere really) IS NOT CHEAP… Luckily it's a bene that keeps on giving. On the flip side, going anywhere from Turkey, and Tunisia before that, requires the dreaded currency exchange… Definitely not a been… That really sucks in fact. Cup half full theory: more free air tickets faster!

I can also reflect on the weather. I'm used to it by now, but it is not ideal. Too many extremes- yet this is the case for much of the world I suppose. Harsh reality after living in paradise I suppose. Now when I realize I am complaining too much, I always like to remind myself of the 'cup half full' theory so… cold weather = BOOTS. Lots and lots of gorgeous boots. I mean, you can NEVER have too many pairs of boots if you live in an area with cold winters. I adore this half full cup indeed. In fact, I have to stop myself from thinking about the pair of boots I will discover in Portugal…

I am boot-obsessed for sure.  A quickie trip to Karamanmarash a few weeks ago left me pining over a pair of boots. Not for long though. I spy quickly, as did my travel partner. I saw them through the window. I came in. I explored further. I delved into unknown territory. I experimented. I purchased. I smiled. They are a beautiful pair of dark green suede 'Outback' ankle boots with a low heel. Who would have thought? I mean, Karamanmarash? Geeze. SCORE!

Last year was a kickass pair of blue suede high heel ankle booties. I mean HOT. I don't wear them often, but they look HOT in my closet even… All this- this is coming from a chick that possesses at least 13 pairs of slippers- all nicely distributed between various cities (Istanbul, Iron Mtn, Portland, Tunis, Ashland, NYC, Hawaii- in a few different locations) and here in G-tep where I possess 4 pairs of coveted Havaianas. Each pair, mind you, has a different purpose…

I really had no idea this post would morph into a shoe fetish tirade, but it did. I'll just end here right now. At this point in my writing stage, I honestly have no control over what ink I eek out on my blog. Nor do I care really. I'm amused and that is what matters really I suppose. I'm trying to provide an honest, interesting insight into my psyche here. This is just me and in my life, Every Day is a Hollyday!!!


Sunday morning Feline Fine...

Relaxing in bed with french press coffee. I've already communicated with Hawaii, Portugal, and elsewhere in Turkey. It's a cold, cloudy, misty morning here- completely opposite from yesterday.  Ping Pong weather continues here in the Fertile Crescent as of late. I somehow managed to get outta bed early this am and hit the running trail at Gaziantep University. I was all alone- meaning no dogs chasing me...

The intoxicating smell of pine cones hit me like a wall. Must say that it's a great high. I hope I can continue on this path, but it is getting seriously cold now. The kind of cold where your ears hurt when running cold. Still, it seems this year is strange in that it is still considered to be so warm- unlike last year where buckets of rain fell throughout fall/winter, accompanied by loads of snowfall...

Yesterday I got my creative fire started and immersed myself in a nerdy DIY T-shirt re-structuring.  I had some friends over my apartment that partook in the process. I think they were fascinated of the world known as 'crafty chicks.' Anyway, they watched with amusement. Both were secretly impressed and, likely, wanted to get their 'crafty dude' phase on...

Okay, that's it. I'm off track now...

One last thing- the sky today is the perfect gradation of grays


Hollyday in Turkey

This morning is a wake-and-bake kinda morning here in the Fertile Crescent. The sun is shining. There is not a cloud in the sky and I'm on my lanai (deck) soaking up the sun like a reptile. The coffee is strong and hot and Ziggy Marley is supplying da kine tunes. The day is going to be a good one indeed...

Like all my birthdays, this one is no different really.  I guess I like to think I celebrate life every day. I will say though, birthdays tend to bring discussions with oneself. This is the time I really think about my path on earth. What am I doing? Where am I going? Am I on the right path? Does it matter?

I've decided it's all about the path- not the destination. I realized this a long time ago.

NOTE: Ziggy Marley's "Everybody wants to be a Cowboy" is doing me right

Anyway, in terms of music, reggae has been the most influential in my life.  When you get into the headspace, it hits you. When life is too stressful or when work is really getting to me, I sit back and turn on the tunes and tune the fuck out! It's just what the doctor ordered!

Yoga does this for me as well. No matter where I am, when I'm stressed and I stretch out, it gets better.

NOTE: "Fallen is Babylon" playing

So yesterday was a contemplative day for me. Saturday and I was illing. I somehow had gotten sick Thursday/Friday so wanted to just chill yesterday and get over the bug. Hopefully I beat it outta my system as I feel good this morning. So... I was thinking about 'my current path.'  I decided that I should be fortunate I've had many career paths- from fashion to archaeology to teaching. So my wanderlust (wonderlust) took me to the internet, as it tends to do as of late.

What was I researching? PhDs in... wait for it... The Netherlands! Yea, I was all over the place yesterday. So The Netherlands is the place to study if you want your PhD. Even for international students, the government supports you. As a PhD student, you aren't a 'student' but an 'employee' of the university. The programs typically are 4 years. You are given a monthly stipend and you do research. You live, eat, breathe your department. Everybody in the program is in the same building and the spirit of discussion is emphasized. I must say, it is a very progressive interdisciplinary approach to study. I was researching the Classical Archaeology department, as well as the History of the Near East department. Who knows...

In other news, I just finished reading a book- a book I thought I was totally going to enjoy. It was like pulling teeth getting through this book, "Ararat: In Search of the Mythical Mountain." The last 2 chapters finally delved into the expedition... I'm not sure if it was because of the translation or what, but most everything seemed irrelevant. The book was all over the place- kind of like my blog, but at least you guys are not paying big bucks to read my ramblings... Anyway, I've decided I'm 'gifting' the book to Chris for New Year's... heh heh.

Now I have returned to my as of yet unfinished, "1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam and The West."

NOTE: listening to Alpha Blondie and the sun is seriously blazing right now

I feel the need to finish this book before I start the one I REALLY want to read... When I was on Kos Island this summer I picked up "The Epic of Gilgamish" and now I'm ready to dig into it... Alas I must finish my previous first...

My other big contemplation now is where to go for winter break. So far Malta is the forerunner, but Marseille, Lyon, Paris, Beirut and Poland are not far behind... I'm thinking Malta in winter will be wildly romantic; windswept and eerie. An independent country that speaks Maltese, is essentially Italian and has a North African feel!!!

NOTE: I've moved onto Black Uhuru now

Other contemplations: I notice that the mosque across the street is almost finished. I've seen the constrtuction from the beginning and it's been a fascinating journey. The (single) minaret is just now completed. I've enjoyed spending time watching the guys up on the scaffolding building it and carrying up all the cement and water with buckets on pulleys, etc... What I love most about it is the metallic silver dome roof. When the sun reflects off of it, it just dazzles. I've also noticed that the birds are fascinated with it. They form these  groups and shapeshift while they circle it at  sunset. I've spent countless hours enjoying this show...

I've also realized there is so much more of Turkey that I want to see. I want to check out Eskisehir as dear Agata that I met this summer at Chris' camp is an Erasmus student there. Mik went there during Bayram and the pictures look really interesting. Besides, I'm curious about what a 'college town' in Turkey really consists of... Also, there is Ani, the entire Black Sea Coast, Edirne, and some of the interior to name a few.


"What is Life" is on deck now. Alpha Blondie brings it down home, "Life is a Trip." I'm definitely 'trippin' through life right and and, I think, this makes me most happy. I know my family is happy for me- even though I'm not in constant contact. They are always with me. I feel fortunate that my entire family is quite independent. We know we love each other. 'He who feels it knows it.' My friends, old and new, are always with me on my journeys- somehow. Whether it's a piece of jewelery I'm wearing of theirs, or a memory of us I'm wearing of ours. Perhaps that's what drives me to write- the memories, that turn into thoughts that materialize in words, are like badges that I wear.

I'm not sure what the day has in store for me. Colonel KAOS and Corporal Punishment said to be ready in a half hour so...

NOTE: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner- Natty Dreadlocks"

I just can't emphasize enough how STUNNING the weather is this morning. Gaziantep knows today is a Hollyday for sure!

NOTE: "Chill Out Chill Out Chill Out New York"

Rock on everybody because it's all good here in the Fertile Crescent today. Whatever trips we're all on- just enjoy the shit out of them.

I somehow think champagne is in my near future...

HollyMissBerry is officially signing off right about now-


Twas the early morning twilight hours of... Thanksgiving

Bewitching Hour restlessness in the Fertile Crescent

It’s 5 A.M. and I’ve been up since 3:30 A.M. My mind can’t seem to stop working. Luckily it shut down for a good 5 hours earlier in the evening so tomorrow won’t be a total blur at work. I’m not sure what keeps me awake. Maybe it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow (today) and thoughts of being so far away from my favorite American holiday? I know not. Maybe it’s trying to sort through my life and my future plans? Prolly so.

It’s strange- being a world denizen. My connection to being grounded, and my past is most definitely Hawaii, but I make new connections as well. Every place I live and leave I have a connection with. Sometimes it gets confusing; Do I really miss living in Tunis, or do I just miss how strangely beautiful it was? Am I just being nostalgic about Istanbul, or is it really the most incredible city I have been to? Do I miss the wonders of the archaeological world, or am I just feeling blaise right now due to circumstances that are, obviously, out of my control at my current workplace?

..And now the 5:05 A.M. call to prayer… Funny, I have slept through it all week, and now I listen to the strangely hypnotic  melody. As I sit out on my lanai (terrace) and view Gaziantep in the darkness I look into myself. All these questions, but do I have answers? Do I need answers? Am I even seeking answers?

Back to the comfort of my bed, and my cozy Canadian Goose Down sleeping bag… My thoughts wander back to work; how can I feel satisfied that my students are merely satisfied with receiving a passing grade in class? How do I not let it bother me that they want to become English teachers, yet not fully understand modal verbs? How else can I convey to them that it will be their responsibility to explain modal verbs to their future students when they become teachers?

Since teaching in faculty I have realized that I like this style of teaching- lecturing on specific subject content. Do I want to return to grad school and complete a PhD? Am I experiencing PhD envy? Certainly living in Turkey and seeing the incredible events of some of the earliest beginnings of civilization has made my heart stir for archaeology again…

When I was in grad school in NYC I was  so happy to be going in a different direction w/TESOL, and I still am happy because of the anthropological connection that I feel to what I’m accomplishing in the present. But, something inside of me is stirring- rather quietly at the moment. It’s no secret that I miss the world of science.

This country is so amazing in that every step you take on this land, you can feel the history- even the prehistory if you are sensitive enough. What burnt me out with archaeology in Hawaii was the constant connect of the past to the needs of the present and future- developers. The mysteries unraveling from the earth were fantastic, but the constant pull of ethics weighed hard on me. As well, so did the extremely physical manual labor.

Now that I have stepped out of that arena, though, I look back into it. Those were my days of glory. The satisfaction of the physicalness of it was immense. More so than with the satisfaction of finishing a day of work at the university. But maybe I’m just romanticizing those moments with a, currently, selective memory…

Something happened to me in Cappadocia during the last Bayram. I saw this incredible landscape and along with this, I saw development. The connection is strong; when you see a beautiful place, you see tourism. With tourism you see development- increasing development. What I saw in Cappadocia, I experienced for over 20 years in Hawaii- development going out of control because of natural beauty and the inevitable ‘progress’ of civilization.

Last week while I was reading the local news from my Twitter feed, I saw 3 different articles on a major development issue in Cappadocia- Uçhisar to be exact. I don’t know enough about the community, but I know enough to know that it’s going to be a big, reoccurring problem for the community. The community is going to change- because it’s so beautiful of a natural wonder. It already has-drastically since my last visit 5 years ago. Even more so than my initial visit 11 years ago. If the community doesn’t rise up now and protest big development… well…I hope the community is up for an uphillbattle. They should have the power to change things if they unite.

From what I read, there are no archaeologists required on site during all aspects of construction- from the initial grubbing of the surface to mass sub-surface excavation with large machinery. It’s frightening to think what information is being lost. I would tell the local community there that they need to be citizen-policing the construction site. I would hope that at least the developer is a local person and/or entity so that the concerns of the community will weigh heavy in his/their hearts.

I haven’t a clue about historic preservation laws in Turkey, or the government’s desire and/or ability to keep large-scale development in check with the needs of the local population. I somehow have the idea that their stance is not as progressive as Hawaii’s though. I saw the same thing in Hawaii: corruption, finding loopholes in county, state and Federal laws and developers exploiting those loopholes, etc. I saw more than enough developments go through without the proper ‘chain of command’ being taken.

Anyway, this is on my mind at 6 A.M. I should be sleeping… My mind still wanders- to less complicated stuff though; Where should I go for my birthday? Am I going to Kabak for New Year’s? Should I buy a bread machine? Yes folks, this last one has been on my mind for a few weeks. So, Corporal Punishment has a bread machine, and she makes bread every week. Lately she hand-delivers to me freshly baked bread still warm from the oven… Not just any bread mind you, but hearty, healthy breads that are so delicious to eat that you don’t need to put anything on it. Anyway, I’m thinkng that a bread machine will improve my life! See, it really is the little things in life that matter…
I think I see the first light of dawn trying to crack through my silk curtains so I must end here and sleep for 1 more hour.

Happy Thanksgiving people! I’m eating turkey in Turkey tonight! Yes, my Turkish friends are having a Thanksgiving soiree for us vagabond expats. This is a wonderful thing that is what life is all about. Life is so precious- even when you are lost in confusion and thought. There is always something to be grateful about. I am so very grateful for my friends and family, and to know that I can feel at home wherever I am.

oh, Happy Thanksgiving today, or tomorrow- wherever you are!


some serious Jedi Mind Tricks going on down here in the Fertile Crescent tonight during the midnite hour...

Yea, subject line explains it pretty succinctly (haha).

It's the glorious end of a long, sometimes painful work week, but you know what, in the end it was great. I've come to some realizations. Most importantly that I'm not an army. Nor do I want to be an army- unless it's an army that only does battle with chocolate raspberry cake...

Anyhow... okay yes I continue on with this thought before I lose it once and for all. So, I think to myself, "just do it Holly. Just do it. Just re-adjust the kaleidoscope and let things fall into place as they tend to do if you just leave things alone and stay positive.  With this in mind, it was an awesome week and I learned a lot. To boot, the weather has been fabulous. I'm almost thinking I could get in some lanai sun-soaking tomorrow (this) morning. A morning that is fast descending upon me right now in fact.  I mustn't dawdle anymore. Let's get to the juice of this blog post- which wassssss....... I know I wanted to bring up Morocco- which came into my mind as I was ready to delve into my new research project. Shhhhh, but it's on a little-known (if any) archaeological site in the Cappadocia region. I'm not sure exactly as it might even be closer to Aksaray than Göreme. So this, of course, reminded me of Morocco 11 years ago...

I remember when I was on the ferry from Algeciras- at the tip of Spain and right next to Gibraltar. I had just started my journey a week before as I landed in Madrid. Hawaii to Madrid is a shock (although not as shocking as Hawaii to Antarctica I'm sure), and after a week I was freaking out and needed some open space- wanting to just have my mind blown. It was my first trip into Africa and it certainly set the pace for me- concerning the Maghreb countries anyway. The whole thing blew my mind.

My initial destination was Tangier- the main port city (I believe). I had no other plan beyond that. So on the ferry I decided I should meet up with some travelers. Immediately our motley crew was formed. Christian, the German med student/martial arts dude, was talking to ? from LA. She was moving to Fez to attend university and study Arabic language translation. Yo (real name) Kwan and I somehow drifted together and I believe we all met waiting for a taxi outside the port. So Yo Kwan's story: he was this Korean-American drag queen from.... Anyway somewhere in America. He was currently living in Paris studying to be a mime (I shit you not. S/he's prolly reading this right now in fact. I hope so!) We do correspond every once in a while. Prolly last time was finding each other on Facebook (haha what a cliche). Anyway, a fashion designer in London now I believe. Christian I sometimes Skype with. The last time must have been when I was living in Tunisia... I'm not sure. He is a (flying) doctor and was in east Africa for a few years out in the bush. He was headed back to Germany last I heard. Sometimes I see his Skype light on. I'm going to chat him up next light-up and see what he's been up to. LA girl I never heard from again. Never say never...

So we all made a plan (LA girl's plan actually so we all hitchhiked onto her plan): Hurrah, we're all going to Fez to see LA girl off to grad school. Since the port was far from the bus station we all shared the taxi and that is how HERstory is made...

The train was long and slow- just how I like it. There is so much to trip out on just sitting down and watching the scenery dance by. The different sounds, the passengers walking by. The weird scam artist dude that came into our little cabana thingy and was showing us pictures of da kine and asking us if we wanted to get off at Agadir instead and he could show us around.  He had the dark glasses on and everything- like a serious photo album.  Anyway, I immediately thought to myself undercover police trying to kidnap/ransom us. No, I didn't really think that, but it sounds good to read- doesn't it?

So, we avoided 'him' the rest of the journey. He must have found some other starry-eyed travelers to scam oregano on them.

We got to Fez and yep- my mind was blown. The central outside area of the Medina. The people walking, biking, crawling all over. The smoke from the meat cooking, the orange juice sellers. Oh my goodness- THE ORANGE JUICE SELLERS! Dream city.  We somehow managed to find our way through the haphazard kaos that was vibrant life teeming around us. It was so thick, the life, that it just dripped all over us.

We, I guess, were led into the Medina maze and found a hostel.

NOTE: break in story here. I really hope I'm not lazy and actually break from this typing and get my external hard drive and retreive the scans of those pictures and post them here.  Make sure to give me total hell if you don't see any pictures near the end of this- okay?

So this place was amazing (my budget was definitely NOT amazing). I remember in the taxi in Tangier we stopped at a bank on the road to get some cash from the ATM. Now I believe this was the first time that I relied on a bank card to get cash out of foreign countries (haha). I was thrilled that it actually worked. What liberation for a traveler let me tell you. MAJOR.

NOTE: Fireworks are going off right now. Typical Gaziantep evening. Random. (not sure why I said that)

So, We had a 3-bed dormroom. We relaxed. Showered. Oh, the shower. So this was the first, and only, time that I took a shower where the shower was also the place that you shit. So you make damn sure that both your feet have even displacement on the foot stands above the water line with the large hole in it below... Yoga came in REALLY handy for that one. Honestly, the only worse bathrooms that I have ever seen was in Marseilles- which is my favorite city in France. I just adore the grittiness of it.

But, as always, I digress. Back to Marrekesh. Oh wait, what happened to Fez. I didn't finish with Fez. We were there a few days and saw amazing shit, then went further south- down into the edge of the Sahara Desert. Christian had a hankering to get to Merzouga. I don't know what it's like now, but 11 years ago it blew my mind. Yes it's true. We did it up right. Saw a village wedding. Danced at a village wedding. Yo Kwan got to hang out with me in the girls area of the wedding. There was singing and dancing. No other foreigners. The medina was cool there. Going out at night and eating was mind-blowing. Going into the medina and buying kohl eyeliner with Yo Kwan was amazing. He bought this cool Tuareg Berber kaftan thing. It was royal blue with gold piping. It was regal.  We got hennaed. We got lost in the medina and had amazing adventures.

We went into the desert interior with the guys from the hostel we were staying at. There was this Lawrence of Arabia guy that was a flying doctor and was going into Algeria to do surgery for a few days. He took us around in his safari jeep and so was Lawrence. Everything from stopping at the wells at various areas in the road- which wasn't a road but open hardpan landscape. There was even a scorpion under a rock next to the ladel that was there always for weary travelers to wet their lips when they, inevitably, ran outta water... And then the 5 star hotel he took us to and we drank really expensive beers- that he bought. He was ready for an audience and we were captive listeners. He gladly bought our rounds. Then there was the trek into the desert for the moonrise. I'm talking camels and all. We walked and I remember bartering my Swatch Watch for some cool fabric from our new Berber friends.

So... after all the fun. One morning I woke up to screams. Ali came running to my door shouting that New York City was on fire. Yes folks, here is where this story takes a turn. I was on the Algerian/Moroccan border camping out underneath the stars at some Tuareg Berber stronghold at the edge of the desert when 911 happened.

Anyway, all surreal. I'm still here to type about it. Let's continue on to Marrekesh. Honestly, Marrekesh was last on my list of places that I liked in Morocco, but what does that really mean? I loved every minute of it.

NOTE: just had a balcony break. Gaziantep sleeps and I'm observing. The new age-y minarets in the distance that have their neon green lights banded around them- well the lights are off, but I always love it when the lights are on. It looks so space-agey.  But it was a good break because I remember the reason for this blog. There is this little shop deep in the Çarşı downtown G-tep, and they sell clove cigarettes- real clove cigarettes. Apparently, as the story goes, there is this little old man in an otherwise empty store. He is sitting on a stool. When my friend inquired about where this place is that sells the cloves, he said, "right here" and lifted up the fabric and underneath the stool was 1 box of cigarettes. You couldn't buy just a pack. You had to buy the entire 10-pack. So my friend did. Anyway, I don't really ever smoke cloves, but I remember I did when I was traveling through Morocco. So that is the mystery folks. Solved.

Back to Morocco... I think I'm done here actually.

I did check the hard drive, and couldn't find the pictures, BUT I will leave you with some random photos from a series that is 'ARCHAEOLOGY CHICKS THAT ROCK" (I just made that up actually). This also has a subcategory of our fans (actually just friends outside the profession that somehow enjoyed our company). I realize that is a stretch to think we were some kinda wild women (wink), but look at the facts people: we lived the man's world. We rocked the construction sites. It was like being inside a commnando game and we were the mistresses of corporal punishment. Total Swiss Family Robinson syndrome. This includes all ex-boyfriends and other highlights that are now family and have to love me even though I post weird stories about them, Simone... But anyway... enjoy

Me. One of the The 'Archaeology Chicks That Rock'--ed it a little bit too hard the previous evening- New Year's Eve- sometime about 5 years ago. Katie-girl (archaeology chick that rocks) and Lindsay (non-archaeologist chick that rocks it as a nurse) and I went backside Hana to Piero's place. We had so much fun (well I passed out at 11:45pm...) and woke up the next morning in sleeping bags outside of his house, nearly on the street (of course it is backside Maui so no traffic and total country...

Rochelle le Belle and Lil'D: both archaeology chicks that rock. We rocked it a lot at their south side pad up in Maui Meadows. Miss dem gargoyles long time.

going holoholo westside with katie-girl (same archaeology chick that rocks) and our 'hangers-on" (haha). We were headed to Honokohau Beach and somehow stopped at a house our friend was working construction on and totally scarfed up all their luscious mangoes! Heh heh. Resourceful we are.

Lady-Di, moi, and Katie-girl (all archaeology chicks that rock). Katie wasn't it that weird dude that all got us those baseball caps for Christmas? Lady-Di is since married and with child so congrats to you my dear! Katie-girl is soon on her way down that road. And then there's me...     Bye. Oh, apologize in advance for the absence of my senior editor-at-large. He is largely missing... Kolohe Kitty Kat RIP you sweet thing. Best kitty kat evah!


Cappadocia: one of my favorite jewels of Anatolia

Because I'm a fan of precious stones, when I travel to places I think about them in terms of a stone: How difficult is the place to get to (dark blue sapphire)? How popular is it (gold)? Is it overrun with tourists (diamond)? How hidden is this jewel (malachite)? (Is this a jewel in the rough (moss agate)? etc...

So I just traveled to Cappadocia

Now, let me begin.... But first, that's right- the coffee. Get the coffee (I'm typing to myself here, okay?) First you guys need a context:

It's Saturday morning 7:30 am. I woke up @ 4:30 am call to prayer and, apparently, only lightly fell back to sleep afterwards. So here I am. I did have the good sense to throw on some sweats and go outside to get my laundry going (a side bene(fit) for getting up early on weekends is getting to a washing machine 1st at the apartments). And then of course good sense continues with the french press. Coffee aromatherapy appreciation runs strong on morning weekends. Mehmet Effendi Espresso Blend is the demi-god to pay homage to. The proper goddess also received much needed adoration time as well.

A new friend in Göreme gave me a present from Cappadocia during my stay. Just a little token of the evening and the glory of Cappadocia region. Upon returning back home, I promptly forgot about it for the past 2 weeks. Makes the discovery all that much more sweet though, as I just found the present this morning so made use of it. It has inspired me to write about... Cappadocia.

Tra la la...   (intermission as I prepare da kine cuppa joe)

Cappadocia. My first experience of the place was back in 2001. This was back during a most epic odyssey consisting of hoofing it around Europe, North Africa and finally to Turkey. By the time I arrived in Istanbul to visit Fezzy WHO was living there, WHO I went to University of Hawaii Hilo with, WHO was also an archaeology student, WHO still lives there... You get the picture- part of the inner circle of cosmic beings that rates high as a Homo sapien for me in this little microcosm of a world that I inhabit. Okay guys, keep following me...Don't stray off the path. I still remember the subject matter here...

But I digress... so I took a side trip to Kapadokya. I was ragged. Had been traveling all summer. Cappadocia was ragged- rough around the edges. Cappadocia, I first discovered here, was a jewel in thr rough- my favorite kind. The impurities of thıs jewel are ıts brilliance- like amber from the Balkans- serious natural beauty. Amber is like a snapshot of the ancient world- what got trapped on that tree at the time that the resin started hardening is a clue to our origins- BUT you have to understand this. You have to want to dig deep and delve into the mysteries of the Earth to know amber. When I look at a piece of amber, I see the galaxy... Deep thoughts, I know...  So I saw this snapshot in the Kapadokya landscape to make a long, esoteric story less long...

(quick amber fun facts reference:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber)

My 2nd trip to Cappadocia was in 2007. I was on a sabbatical from the archeology world back home on Maui. I was studying yoga in Istanbul, and back at Fezzy's HQs. I met a great cast of characters there who have helped me immensely and are like family to me. Family that NEVER comes and visits me here in Gaziantep mind you... ahem... work on it folks...

So Hillybilly came to visit me and then Sher-Bear followed her. The merry pranksters set off for a Kapadokyan adventure- surely.  Twas memorable indeed. Nuff said.

Fast-forward to 2012 Kurban Bayram. The new trio of princesses; the Turkish Princess (TP), the Azeri Princess (AP) and the Hawaiian Princess (HP) set out on a whirlwind 1500 kilometer journey by... rental car! Now, the AP doesn't drive so TP did the majority. I was her wing-chick and covered her ass when she needed to catch some shut-eye. I'm an awesome 'wing-chick- by the way...

Now one of the main thrills of this trip was that both the AP and the TP had never been to Cappadocia before, so I functioned as a tour guide (how gratifying can that be when the stranger gets to show the locals around their own turf... heh heh).

As any proper princess would do, she sought out the local Knights of the area. One night in shiny armor I had met back in 2007. He was kind enough to rent me his car for 2 days so my travel mates and I could go check out the underground cities to the south, etc. I never did forget him. I even had some updates on him since HillyBilly ended up staying in the region for a couple years- because of a Knight, of course...

Goreme is a village (albeit over-run with tourists a lot of the year now), so I knew it would be easy to find this Knight. The 2 people that I asked were in fact his relatives so, search was over. We all met up and planned some events for the next few days.

The history of the name Cappadocia, from what I researched, goes back to Persian times. The area was called Katpatukya and means 'land of beautiful horses'. The history dates back much further, of course, back to before the Hittites, but more on that later.I suspect there is more to this story though. I'll report back later on this.

The different types of erosional weathering is what has formed the landscape- just like any landscape, but it is quite unusual here and I am strangely attracted to it. This is strange because I am a water girl. I can't really be away from the beach for too long. Being land-locked is sometimes difficult to deal with honestly...The place is rough and rugged with no pretenses- just how I like my men. On that note, I met a Knight there (born and raised in that ethereal landscape no less) that had those qualities... *alas* Not to get carried away here, but I just have to say that... oh, forget it...

The Cappadocian geological region is located on a high plateau and experiences extreme temperature differences. It has a lot of water sources in the area. When water freezes, it expands. When this happens underground, things move. Same with rocks, right? So because of all this super cool natural science, we have Cappadocia's perhaps lunar-like surface? Whatever you think it looks like, it is just cool. I wanted to get lost hiking in those valleys. I really missed my 4X4 truck while I was here. You could just drive off in a direction and get lost in it. I imagined myself driving (with a Knight of course) into the lunar landscape and just stopping off somewhere and setting up camp. You would need all the luxuries of course: fishing poles, BBQ, tent, my favorite Canadian Goose Down sleeping bag (affectionately better known as 'my husband'. The AZ termed this for me)... mountain bikes, beer, good friends to share in the experience, and most importantly- a sense of adventure

Back to our reality trip though, and not my 'fantasy trip', having a car is the only way to really check out the region. There is so much unusual beauty- just like a Moss Agate stone. Because it is formed of volcanic rocks, this makes sense to me. These geologic formations have this shaping due to a denser lava from a later eruption covering a previous 'tuft' (consolidated volcanic ash) layer. The heaviness of the top layer cut through the mountains, in places of weakness,  and sliced them literally vertically. So, weak covalent bonding (geologically speaking) created conical-shaped phallic mountains! It is confirmed yet again, SCIENCE ROCKS!

I've traveled around Turkey fairly extensively, and off the beaten path often. This place is just pleasant- even with the increased amounts of tourism that I have noticed over the past 11 years. You can still be in Göreme, and off walking on a trail and be totally alone. It still feels ancient in the evenings when it's dark and the landscape is illuminated with lights shining out from fairy chimneys (the volcanic tuft cones that resemble one of the finer aspects of Homo sapiens of the male species).

So the intrepid traveler princesses had fun and days/nights were occupied with love, lust for nature, and laughter. We happened to bring along our Ottoman Era costumes as we knew they'd come in handy...  

Each time I have visited the place, I know I'll return. It's just like that. There is too much about the area. I want more. I have unfinished business there.


I'm going to stop typing and just put the pictures in so you all can kinda just 'arm-chair' travel as I like to call it.
some of Göreme's finest...

finally some decent wine that rivals Bozcaada...

some clay pot action


heading to the wine cave

Naz hanging out

we didn't want to get lost returning from the wine cave so I had this brilliant idea to have Naz point the direction home

at the tractor head left

with Naz inside the wine cave

leaving the wine cave & wondering where our sleeping cave is

once we found the right path, we took a detour to look at a cave for sale- at midnight. It was spooky...

standard operating procedure
there it is...

yea, we brought costumes with us...

enjoying a Cappadocian morning





lounge lizards...

3 witches holding court in Cappadocia

Naz looking coquettish

room with a view

hanging out at the museum. I wasn't feeling the crowds


hanging out

good times

scary monsters

awesome landscape

our host supplied us with wine at the caravansarai



digging on the view
dinner at a village house with Yaşar and Mustafa

the afterparty...

brilliant morning after

sweet Göreme

Well it's a perfectly beautiful gray day. I say this optimistically as it will soon morph into a sea of gray in the next few months... The sky, in fact, reminds me of the Pacific Ocean in northern Cal in winter... If you want to go in it and enjoy, you have to put on a wetsuit...

I might have just stopped mid-sentence in some of this. I can't be held responsible for lost/distracted thoughts. This is simply how I roll during these posts. I genuinely don't believe I'm so scattered in my thoughts in person.

I'm not also spellchecking...


Part II What I Miss When I'm Missing Things...

Another beautiful day here. Another day of procrastination. So I will continue on with my walk down memory lane...

my mother and I enjoying the view of San Diego!

my brother, the Spanish conquistador, in San Diego @ Point Lobs

family fun in San Diego

my nephew and his wife. We are waiting for some Air Force jets to fly by on a practice mission...

In Ashland at my brother Curt and Jennifer's place enjoying sunset cocktails

Curt's playground: he has an airport hangar in Medford to hold all of his toys...

his airplane he has been building for nearly a decade I believe

back in Hawaii- camping in Hana with my beloved truck!

nuff said

eating strawberries. My truck also serves as a camp table

NYC w/Dave & Mr. Ed

the NJ chicken coop

what's on deck at the NJ Chicken Coop

Ron's the man

Bayonne NJ walkabout...

watching the freighters come in. Bayonne, NJ

back in Haiku @ Streams property. We are on rooster patrol right now... That's right- Rooster Round-up

waiting for a rooster to be rounded up...

the sweat lodge heating up...

I'm thinking that I miss too much, but there is also so much more to be grateful for that I have newly discovered. That will be another post. Now, back to nostalgia...

starting the process of 'dressing' the sweat lodge (Inipi) for our full moon sweat at Stream's property

I miss working in the field with Nico...hahahahaha

I miss garden parties in Kuau. Hi Miss Emily!

yes, afternoon garden parties in Hawaii... da best!

I miss island houses!

I miss having garage sales!

I miss taking Miss Simone clean her house

I miss hiking in the forest during torrential downpours of rain!

I miss beach days on the South Shore. This was the day of the tsunami that never was. Well IT was, but it wasn't as destructive as it was supposed to be...

Jimmy and Mr. Ed surveying the surf on Tsunami Day

New Orleans! I miss Carnaval and this city

I miss my couchsurfing host from New Orleans

I miss the backyard laboratory at work

I miss Vanderland and seeing all the upgrades to it

another work truck that I miss... yes, lots of work trucks in my life

my office space at the laboratory in Wailuku I miss

I miss Mimi's home in Haiku

isn't it beautiful??

I miss partying in Lahaina...

I miss Katie-girl...

I miss having cocktail hour with Katie-girl

hahah now this one is precious... I miss watching Katie-girl go to great lengths to protect her furniture from her cat who has a bladder problem... heh heh

voom voom goes Miss Simone's car- which I miss.

I miss finding really weird, random things at the beach

morning coffee talk at Wailuku Coffee Company with da gargoyles

NYC grad students at our professor's rooftop party

And... it's probably time to stop here because I do have to get down to some nitty gritty work making up this midterm exam...

There will be a part III because... well this is just fun.