Travel

Turkey in a (Travertine) Shell

Nov 19, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Pamukkale - Istanbul 

Pamukkale, pronounce it if you can, is located in central Turkey. The Traverntines, an angelic cloudscape of burning white bathes which cling to a mountainside, are the main attraction. They draw tourists from all over the world.

An intertwined mix of crystalline structures they bubble and dance along the hillside, each glorious tub clinging to the bedrock and its neighboring travertines like mushrooms on a rainforest tree. The pools are filled with hot, glacially-blue water heated in the Earth’s interior. As it pours over the mountainside, the water deposits more of the crystalline white mineral and the process of forming and reforming these celestial bathes begins a new each day. This is where butterflies flutter, where diseases are cured, and where “Care Bears” live.

Or so we're told.

To Write Our Own History

Nov 17, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Rhodes, Greece – Pamukkale, Turkey

The last day in Greece I rented a bike, a blue Yamaha 660XT, and set about getting lost. I covered about 100 miles as I circumnavigated the little island, occasionally jutting inward for a look at a mountain or a castle. Rhodes's coasts are lined with happy little beach towns, its secluded mountainous center home to a smattering of ancient villages resting below the mild green peaks. The air is cool and crisp, the waters blue, the people friendly. I blast down back roads, carve mountain passes, fishtail on the sandy beach shores. Back to town; one last gyro, yum. I’ve seen so little of Greece, yet enough to know I want more. Another day, another trip.

Crossing the Aegean I return to Bodrum. One last night and one very surprising and exceptionally good Cantonese meal. The next morning at 4am it’s off to Pamukkale. I’m leaving early for two stops along the way, Didyam and Ephesus – both are archeological sites.

Halloween Missed, at least I’m in a Castle

Nov 13, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Edgiger - Rhodes, Greece

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. I love dressing up. I love carving pumpkins. I love spooky decorations. I love the creativity. I love making something so fun from something historically so dark. I love that it is not only acceptable, but encouraged that you go to every house you can, interacting with strangers and making new friends. It is the one time a year when everyone is open to meeting strangers who will not only greet you, but give you candy. You open your house to the masses and invite them inside. Everyone is on the same page. Fun, hilarity, vulgarity.

Life is a Winding Road

Nov 10, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Cappadocia – Kalkan

Life, it is said, is a winding road. You never know what is around the corner. Depending on your perspective it can either be a terrifying experience ending in tragedy or a tremendously exciting journey ending in fulfillment. Traveling intensifies this experience, amplifying every aspect of the road; higher highs, lower lows, bigger crests, deeper valleys. The road while traveling is filled with impossibly tight turns, ludicrously high speed straits, and of course, the unexpected potholes and breathtaking vistas along the way.

The Turkish Bathhouse Experience

Nov 7, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Safronbolu - Cappadocia

“You will have the skin of a baby on you” a middle aged man with darkening teeth and cigarette breath proclaims. I look to the women to my left as if to say, “do you think they are actually going to cover us in the skin of dead babies!?”

It seems plausible.  

"Good News"

Nov 5, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Top Gear fans, “Good News!” “What?” “It’s the new Dacia Logan!”

I stand outside Terminal 1 of Istanbul Airport, an hour after having departed my hostel. Two days in Istanbul and I have had time to process and contextualize my Iranian experience. Now, it’s time for some adventure. I’d initially planned to be in Iraq at this time, but escalations between ISIS and Kurds on Turkey’s southern border have quashed those dreams with no safe overland egress into Kurdistan.

So too were my motorcycle dreams dashed as I came to find, much to my consternation, that even scooter rental in Istanbul is twice the price of a small car. It’s an insurance issue, apparently the Turks value life higher than vehicle damage, what rubbish…

And thus, I have settled, or so I think, on a cute little mini.

Lord of the Ring

Nov 3, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Back in Tehran

“God is the greatest (3 times). Glory to him who has subjected this (transport) to us and we could never have accomplished this (by ourselves) and to our lord surely we must return.” The plaque reads above gate 24, Tehran International airport. Prayer bellows from the speakers. Yet, people can’t be bothered. They shop, mill, eat and drink. I sit, sloth, tired, senses dulled, consciousness muted, glass-eyed, and heart a murmur; brain stew. Before me three 747s sit, the tips of their wings touch the snowcapped mountains in the distance, but we should rewind.

The Magic of Esphahan

Nov 1, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Shiraz – Eshphahan

Abnormal Normality

Oct 30, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Tehran – Persepolis

For four days now I have traversed Iran: from the busy streets of Tehran to the solitude of the desert and calming Shiraz to the dramatic Persepolis. I’ve taken long bus rides and taken short flights, bargained with locals and discussed politics at mosques. I’ve made friends with young Iranians and shared meals with older gentlemen. Yet, I have a problem. Writers block. It’s not for lack of movement or experience; it’s just that nothing stands out. You walk, you talk, you see, you eat.  

Setting Things Straight

Oct 27, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Tehran - Shiraz 

We in the West have a certain image in our heads when we think of Iran; evil scientists planning world destruction in a lab, crazy fanatical leaders plotting the demise of Israel and supporting terrorists to quell their maniacal, blood thirsty whims, bearded men wandering the streets, buildings crumbling behind them as old Soviet cars belch thick black smoke into the sky. They’re dressed head to toe in Arab garb, heads wrapped in turbans, eyes sinister and beards long. Women are forcibly shoved to the periphery of life, controlled and in fear. They look upon westerners with distain and malice. 

We are wrong.

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