Sunday morning. Awaiting the church bells with a child-like glee. It's 7:30 am and we are pleasantly smug at what has passed so far in this lovely country. A country whose passion and geo-political evirnonment the people wear on their sleeves.  This includes fashion (IMHO the peeps wear very utilitarian garb. I hardly have seen a chick wearing high heels. The peeps dress smart casual and efficiently.  Everybody seems like they are working. I haven't noticed a group of 'dandies.'

It seems if peeps have money, they aren't wanting to spend it, or show that they are spending it. In Baixo Chiado (luxury shopping district), restaurants open, but no one in them. Bookstores are closed at night- this is, IMHO, a bad sign that the intellectuals aren't browsing books at night.

Yesterday late afternoon while we were in a square drinking the requisite bottle of Portugal's Vinho Verde, there was no one else enjoying getting their drink on outside. It was a beautiful sunny winter day with a direct view to the castle on the hill and no one was outside. The kids were outside though, across the street at the status with their skateboards queued up to show their skill. They even had a skate ramp. The city knows how to entertain their restless youth.

Anyway, the point is, everybody is affected by the economic crisis they err experiencing right. It is a somber collective spirit. The peeps watching has been fantastic. Beautiful, strong peeps. Yesterday's odyssey was a gret e-introduction to the city. I was briefly here in 2001. I had just left Morocco, where I was staying down in the Sahara Desert village of Merzouga when the events of 911 occurred. but I digress... Back to Lisbon live and direct.

We took Tram 28 to Arco do Sao Vicente and headed to the Feria do Lado Sarueday flea market. Yes, you all can collectively squeal with delight for me right now... What a blast. If you lived here, this is where you would come every weekend and make a day of it. Walking up and down the streets laden down with treasures from past and present. You can stop and drink or eat in a cafe right off the street fair, or you can venture up the hill a bit further into the Alfama- like Solo_ojo and I did... We we on a mission and I knew where to accomplish it.

Anyway, we took care of business and had a fantastic local brew to wash it down. W also met the local supah-stars if you will... Lovely motley crew! A good time was had by all, and a fantastic storyline for an Indi-style film I should write/direct/star in...

After leaving the favela... We headed back to our hood, but by foot. The Alfamais such a cool neighborhood full of vibrant peeps and a fantastic walking promenade (of sorts) with incredible views of Lisboa's harbor.  We laid down on some park benches and just crashed out for a while. The sun was beating down on my body and I had not a worry in the world for those moments. As the sun lowered, I started to have a worry. You all know how much I love buying boots, but wearing them can be sucha burden for an island girl who tends to be most comfortable running around in Havaianas. So today I was wearing my Reef's  because yesterday I wore my boots all day and my feet rebelled. They demanded to be free the following day. Well, it is certainly warm here, but it is is also wintertime... This wasn't too worrisome I suppose as we headed strait to catch sunset with a bottle of... Yep... Vinho Verde.

It felt weird though. We were loving life, yet there were so any peeps coming up to us. They had no money. Yu could see the hardship on their faces. It felt oh so very bourgeoise to be 'indulging' in an 11 Euro bottle of...Vinho Verede. W lamented we should be grateful for our jobs we complain about. It also felt weird to feel like I had a lot of money comparatively-since I don't ... It was a humbling feeling. I am definitely grateful for what I have cultivated in life thus far.

Walking round ten streets st night. Getting accounted with loves le characters with a story and a product to sell. Desperate to sell it whatever it may have been. Seriously, the streets are flooded with small time hustlers. Again, I dig this city and its 'edgy' feel. There is a grit to this city. People work. They work hard for little. They are tough, and they are real.

There as a huge manifestation (where isn't there throughout Europe and the MENA region these days) by all educators and



Yea, strange title. So, as the (related) story goes... I have this friend back on my Hawaiian homeland. INTERRUPTION: I use the preposition 'on' because it's more logical to use 'on' when referring to an island- spatially speaking, of course. END INTERRUPTION: He's an archaeologist- one of the rare species still practicing this rite of passage. Anyway, he tends to ramble on in his thoughts while working- which I can admire since I tended to do the same as well.  His sometimes nonsensical thoughts, like my sometimes nonsensical thoughts, materialize into written word. As mine did/do occasionally. Ahem...

I mean, with the technological age, my thoughts also materialized into text messages too.  I wish I would have somehow managed to archive all those countless texts to Lil'D, Rochelle-Le-Belle, Codykins, Katie-girl, Shellusha, Hilly-Billy, EdVice, etc... Every one of you know exactly who you are.  What fun those countless hours, days, months,years of texting our immediate psychoses while attempting to keep our eyes peeled on some bulldozer or excavator, etc. 

Then there was the era of podcasts while monitoring- complete with texting when necessary.  Some great podcasts out there: The Moth, No Agenda, Adam Curry's Daily Source Code, Bluegrass Highway, Hospital Podcast, Naked Archaeology... etc

Okay, bringing up 'Naked Archaeology' brings me back to the original intentions of this story- in a kinda round-about kinda way... So, this dude in question. A bro actually.  I mean a real kinda bro that a girl can depend on. You know? So, there was this famous story of him actually that I had heard about even before meeting him. Again, as the story goes:

He was working for a big name on the Big Island. He was alone digging in a lava field in the middle of the day with a hot blazing sun beating down on him. This lava field was somewhere near the ocean, I believe (not a really important detail of the story honestly). So, this spot happened to be in the path of the local Hawaiian Air or Aloha Airlines flight route when heading to Kona International Airport, which really isn't an 'international airport' as we think of the term 'INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.' I mean, it is kinda just like a landing strip I suppose. Again, not an important detail- the size of the airport...

So his boss was flying back onto the island (check the preposition again folks, 'onto') and low and behold what does he see as he glances out the window of the plane. A man. Nekkid! Nekkid with a shovel and boots (likely steel-toed) and hat with some wild hair flowing about (not sure about that detail, but added it for some charm). 

Is this true, or is this just an Urban Myth that has been spun so long ago that it sticks in the cobwebs of our memory as a truth somewhat forgotten?

Okay, this is getting me closer to the original intention of my post this morning. Incidentally, it is 10 am and I'm lounging in bed drinking some Mehmet Effendi espresso blend coffee with stolen Starbuck's brown sugar packets (thanks Fez). Just having finished the last of the pasta I whipped up last night and served to the troops.  My trusty companions that somehow still enjoy keeping company with me and all my absurdness... 

Anyway, to get off track a bit more. A little background on last night. Here are the highlights: Pasta, popsicles, Supreme Beings of Leisure, Solo_ojo, Warden Wardo, tequila, vodka, conversation, fact-finding missions concerning various deadly-serious topics... fade to black...

So, when I was working in the field, taking copious notes on soil, erosion, stratigraphic inclusions and such other titillating geologic lexicon (all done on the infamous 'Write In The Rain' booklets we were supplied with), I used to also write "Very Dirty Poetry". Now, it was 'Very Dirty' because I was very dirty. One cannot expect to come clean from a day's work involving wind, water, sand, hot baking sun, mud, bugs, exhaust from large machinery and other such highlights as the occasional spray of hydraulic fluid bursting out from a broken hose. Or, there is also the scenario played out MANY times of a broken waterline or, even worse, a broken sewer line... Anyway, point being is that I was always dirty working. I mean, my poems weren't necessarily ONLY themed with dirty verses- sometimes though...

So my volumes of 'Write In The Rain' archaeology notes entitled, SECRET SPY MANUAL. DON'T PEEK YOU SPY #1, #2, #3, #4, etc   has a long history of inclusions of 'Very Dirty Poetry'. It was always difficult to give up these spy manuals when one was filled up *blush*. 

So, THIS brings us to the point this morning- finally. I'm exhausted... I had a dream last night. I entered it into my SECRET SPY MANUAL. DON'T PEEK YOU SPY #43 (I just made that number up. As well the SECRET SPY MANUAL. DON'T PEEK YOU SPY Write In The Rain journal.  I didn't really bring any Write In The Rain journals to Turkey with me).  

But here it is for all to ponder...

(Inspired/written during after 5:30AM CALL TO PRAYER THIS MORNING & not able to fall back to sleep…)

Thought I saw a Merman
         In my dream last night
I saw his silky-wet-shadowy-sheen against the moon –held captive chained to luxurious lure of the sea
         Lurking through motionless tide, slick as
blackest of oil
                  Blend in he cannot
I am attracted to this oil slick

Thought I saw a Merman
         In my dream last night
“Do they exist”, silently quizzing myself sensing Darwinian scientific delight
         Trajectory Trailing. Moody heart pounding
He came to rest. Perched against a rock. Listening
                  For me
         From the offshore winds I sailed
Into his beckoning harbor. Take shelter from  storm-swept seas
         Suddenly surging white-capped surf.
Calm after the storm. Sunrise at last

Thought I saw a Merman
         In my dream last night
Their ancient lore buried deep inside my treasure chest
Of jewel-encrusted knowledge
         Ancient wisdoms
Only a solitary pirate can witness late in the night
         holding vigil at the sea shore.
A reflection of a soft, supple metallic orb        
         Taunting. Thrilling. Manna from the Divine?
Go Ahead- Rummage Through my Treasure Chest
         Discover that one gem so fine. That I am
No wonder the moon took such time to pass the sea
         Last night

Thought I saw a merman
         In my dream last night
                  It was just a dream
                           It was just a dream
                                    It was just a dream
                                             It was just a dream
                                                      It was just a dream
                                                               Was it just a dream?

Now, I didn't want to give it all away before you gave it a 1st look-through. A Mer-Mare, in my humble opinion, is a dream about either a mermaid or a merman (there ARE definitely mermen out there, and they are JUST as elusive as mermaids are). A dream about the 'Mar' (Sea)! Get it? So not necessarily a Mer-Man NIGHTmare, or a DAYmare, but a mer (in my case a merman) mare: Mer-Mare...


Again, I can't be responsible for figuring out a connection between any of this... I am still 'editor-at- large' -less. 


Happy Anniversary Jasmine...

Today marks 2 years since Tunisians came together and revolted against their then dictator, Ben Ali. I feel fortunate to have witnessed it while living downtown in the Lafayette neighborhood.  I feel fortunate because of what I saw. Because of what I felt. Because of what took place. Because history was being re-written.  I don't know how I feel about it today, as Tunisia is still recovering, and it is not clear at all if liberties are being granted, or continue to be taken away with the new (provisional) government.

But back to those moments. I was so proud of my Tunisian friends, colleagues and students. They stood in the wake of danger daring to defy the iron-fist management of the country by Ben Ali and his thugs cabinet members... My friends were so proud of have brought down an oppressive regime. The courage and energy that radiated from them was infectious. There were so many reasons to celebrate. That was then. What is happening now?

Things are not okay in Tunisia. Rights are being taken away still. Disinformation continues to exist. Corruption. Joblessness still rules. Freedoms that existed before Jasmine are threatened today. Take the government's plan to forbid public displays of affection I'm not talking about acts of lewd sexual behavior. I'm talking kissing/hugging in public... Take also the government's comments about what 'art' is supposed to be at a recent art exhibit in La Marsa where some political works of art were on display & the local Salafis didn't take kindly to & decided to violate the art space to show their dissatisfaction.  Take the (apparent) Salafi attack & subsequent destruction of a mausoleum of a 13th century Sufi saint in the beautiful Mediterranean town of Sidi Bou Said last weekend. Take the government's non-committal action for it all... blah blah blah...

So much beauty I discovered while living in Tunisia. I was so broke living there, and I still was able to see/feel such beauty. I didn't need much living there. I was happy. I had a beautiful old apartment on Rue D'Egypte. I could walk to work and all around downtown. I had lovely friends. We had sweet, cheap watering holes we used to frequent complete with lively conversations.  I could continue on. But there is no need. You all get the picture.

Many of us have moved on since Jasmine. Quite a few remain. I am almost envious. Those who remain get the real picture. They are a part of the solution- a solution that is taking a back seat to a status-quo corruption that cannot be chased away so easily as Ben Ali was... They need all their strength.

My time there was short. My abundance of love for Tunisia is endless. I briefly returned in 2011. Walking the streets. Taking in the smells. Seeing old friends. Eating my favorite foods. All of it felt like a homecoming of sorts. A homecoming that was really without ever having really settled into a home. That's how special Tunis is to me.

I will return again someday.


cheap ticket to paradise...

Sunday afternoon in the Fertile Crescent

A perfect gloomy day to traipse around the neighborhood and eat a superb Sunday brunch- incomplete, of course, because of the absence of mimosas. Of course, I'm all about finding solutions to problems these days... I'm resourceful. My day has morphed into a 'clean the apartment' afternoon. Whenever I get ready to go on an odyssey I like to start with a clean house upon return.

So I found myself a tailor! Tailor Mehmet downtown near the kale. Awesome man. Somehow we managed to communicate that I want a pencil skirt made from an exact pattern that I have.  We went to the fabric store yesterday afternoon (fabric PORN I swear!). What a wonderland fabric stores here in Turkey. It was pure ecstasy. I wanted to savor the experience. Nothing like touching every bolt of fabric of the right weight, color & texture.  AWESOME!!!

Can't describe anymore to you all without becoming obscene how much I enjoyed the experience.  Check that one off the list now- personal tailor in Turkey.  After the pencil skirt, I plan on taking a few more trousers to him as well... I can see this will become a new addiction for me. Surprisingly cheap as well.  Perhaps by next year I will have myself my own sewing machine so I can do it myself.  I miss my sewing machine.  I hope Katie-girl is having a good time with it.

It seems this post is going to be filled with the most mundane of things, but I figure that for all you guys reading back home, it might be terribly fascinating.  Honestly, just going to the grocery store still holds fascination for myself down here. Folding laundry even holds more intrigue for me than it did back in Amerika...

One thing that does not fascinate me with the mundane, though, is the state of my houseplants.  I've never had to deal with caring for (house)plants.  In Hawaii they just flourish, unless they are a rare breed of orchid that takes some more non-commital commitment. Seriously though, orchids are THE MOST tempramental of plants to attempt to shower with love.  You basically have to ignore them for them to flourish. All the sudden one day you look in the dark corner where you stuck the orchid plant to recover in ICU and BOOM it's blooming!!! When did that happen?  So yea, my houseplants are fussy right now.  Not enough sunlight? Too cold? Not enough water? Inside? Outside today? WTF DO YOU WANT FROM ME??? Arghhhhhhhh. But I persist in trying to diagnose their problems. I'm looking at them right now- all frumpy and giving me this passive-aggressive 'vibe'.

I was inspired yesterday to make Apple Cobbler- based on a recipe that I barely remember assisting with for New Year's... I had to put myself back in that state of mind I was in at the time to sort it all out... Turns out I was able to successfully achieve that state and reproduce a decent quality homemade munchies snack.. Drank the remainder of Malibu Rum in the process as well. 

Loads of laundry this weekend AND I'm even cold-water soaking all my wool and cashmere sweaters! I know, can't get more titillating than explaining this folks (*yawn*). There is a zen art that I have discovered when hanging clothes to dry on the clothes-horse thingy. I get absolute pleasure from this experience.  It really derives out of necessity: how to hang clothes to dry just so perfect that one doesn't have to iron them afterwards... This is end goal here.

In other news, I cleaned off my kitchen counter complete with anti-bacterial medicines... Even had to burn some Nag Champa incense to cover up the medicinal explosion. I suppose I won't discuss the loo cleaning this morning, but I did that too.

For entertainment talk-story I will divulge that I am currently absorbed in watching all the original "Pink Panther" series that Blake Edwards directed with such movie-star greats as David Niven, Elke Sommer, Peter Sellers, etc... I never thought anything about Robert Wagner before, but he sure was hot when he was young... Stupid funny stuff that seems enchanting while experiencing a mildly cold Southeastern Turkish winter.  I also watched the first episode of "Little Mosque on the Prairie"- which is hilarious and I highly suggest it to all friends back home.

I'm looking for some interesting books to buy in Portugal so if any of you have any titles of stuff you think I should read, let me know. As well, any apps I should know about.

Weather Ping Pong here this winter. Where is all the bloody snow? I have this increased fascination with winter clothing and enjoy amassing this type of garb. I can't figure it out- especially as I should be in a warmer place living... I can't help but think that in the back of my mind I'll need winter wear if I move to Cappadocia... Well, where to live next in Turkey is another consideration I'm considering. I mean, if I'm going to live in a cold area, I need to be snowboarding. This is ridiculous right now. So close, yet so far... And why is it so damn expensive to snowboard here? Okay, who reading this post knows someone with a ski resort here in Turkey. Hook a girl up... What about Kayseri? Must be some damn good skiing on Erciyes, no? What about cross-country skiing? Do peeps do that here? Where do you get the equipment? Snowshoes? Nothing like a good snowshoe expedition through the forest.

Okay I'm tiring of this. I'm thinking of doing a reconnaissance survey of my closet and check out all the luscious clothes of mine that I have here that I can't wear here. This includes shoes/boots as well.

looking for my own little paradise on this side of the planet...


How many 'beats per minute' is your comfort zone?

Sunday morning statistsics: freshly showered, back in bed, coffee in hand, cozy apartment inside, whiteout/low ground fog outside with a chance of snow threatening... What else... let me see.  What am I forgetting? Oh yes, the BIG protest happening in downtown Gaziantep this afternoon protesting NATO & the Patriot missiles that are our new neighbors...

Yes, how could I have forgotten.  Of course Solo_ojo and myself are curious (as we were in Tunisia as well)... AND Settar's lovely rambling villa is just oh-so-close to Demokrasi Meydani... At any rate, we are heading to Settar's for some breakfast and a little something something in the coffee. Ahhhhh it's so great to have the weekends to flee this 'normalacy' of living here.I have a rather restless beat here in Gaziantep...

But I digress- back to today's protest du jour. As an anthropologist, it is nearly (entirely) impossible to ignore this gathering. I mean, I have to go. What is unfortunate is that the world of protesting seems two-fold these days; to have turned into this reason for bored peeps to go and cause trouble.  I can already envision the kids there that will be throwing rocks at 'the others' not knowing why they are doing so. It's a rite-of-passage of sorts perhaps? A topic of conversation at school the following day? Well, most certainly the topic of conversations at school, any school, will not be homework or reading for pleasure...

I'm not really sure what this post is about yet, but I see a trend here, so I will continue on... Yesterday morning I went to the local mall here (ugh), Sanko Park. We went early because we didn't want to witness loads of people mindlessly spending their money on crap made in China- well I did anyway. We went to the 11:00 am showing of "Life of Pi". How wonderful a job Ang Lee did directing the movie.  Fantastical images that I conjured up while reading this book 6 years ago sequestered away in a (then fairly remote) valley called Kabak on the Aegean, well they were delivered onscreen with the movie adaptation.  My point (I think) being that upon entering the mall at 10:30 am on a Saturday morning was like seeing an empty nest, and heading out of the theatre at 1:30 pm was like witnessing a bad dream of people just taking their money and lighting it afire. It was so crowded and it was like zombie-land. I mean, I get quasi-infected with the spirit as well when I put myself in the situation- which is why I never put myself in the situation to go to Sanko Park I guess. Admittedly, I have a tast for things which generally aren't made in China... unfortunately this means I spend more money.

So it's the new year according to the Gregorian Calendar. This means out with the old and in with the new? Sometimes.  I know I've been infected with this spirit and the wheels are spinning. There is so much in motion inside my cranium at this time, but I'm not ready to let it go, or flow from my keyboard onto any documentation just yet... I will happily 'assume the position' and continue on my journey until... Portugal!

Yes, as any expat knows, vacations are essential to our sanity. Of course this is the case anywhere, but it's especially important when living abroad I have decided. It's so necessary to get out of one's head. As a (at this time) single entity, vacations are key because it's just you- you get to decide anything and everything. Not your family, not your work, not time- just you. ~You make the rules, and this is awesome. So soon I put on my backpack and throw my Canadian Goose Down sleeping bag inside (affectionately coined "my husband" by Major Pain") and go.

 Where I sleep, I don't care. I want the ocean. I want the ocean to fill me with currents that have traveled the world only to crash on the beach that I will sleep on. Well, it is wintertime, and it will be cold so it's likely I won't be doing this every evening... Doesn't matter. I follow a different beat.

My only concern is that of my love for... BOOTS! I know I won't be able to get away without discovering a pair of must-obtain boots.  There are a few other items on my list, but most I won't be able to take away with me. As a side note, my favorite pair of boots have been recently purchased right here in SE Turkey in Karamanmarash.

Back to following a different beat. I always have. It didn't matter back on Maui about this beat because everybody was on similar beats as mine. Here it is quite different. Many peeps doesn't know how to react to my beat. You also have to realize that you can't change anyone else's beat. With this in mind, you don't even want to. Everyone moves at their own tempo as it's called a 'comfort zone' and just respect and it's all good.  What is respect is the question? Everyone also has a different attitude about respect. Normal, right? Anyway, I dig my beats.

Sometimes the beat is lost, and you have to find your way back. Sometimes you have to make adjustments to compensate for a lost rhythm, or dropped beat.  Sometimes when you get outta your mind, you realize you were living according to someone else's beat, and that you don't really enjoy that beat on a continual basis. It's a cacophony of dead beats according to you. When this happens, it's a fine line. You can either just turn the volume down and continue to be quasi-bothered by this beat, or you need to run. Run with it with precious knowledge that you will in fact get back to your style of rhythm. Ahhhhh yes, go for it! I'm going for it! I found my beat again! This beat needs to be nurtured by all that is amazing and spiritual and mysterious and and and...

Onward. Time to make a move out of the beat of this bed- this warm, comfort zone where the most amazing coffee is served. Time to beat it, pick up the tempo and start thinking about heading downtown where I will witness folks of yet a different beat. A beat I am curious about. A beat unfamiliar to me in a sense, but I understand the beat. A beat I want to know more about. It is the beat of human will that fights for its right to demonstrate (hopefully) peacefully against things out of their individual controls, yet collectively gains strength in beat. I expect a heightened BPM today.

over and out