Friday, January 11, 2013

in the world of hybrids

Turkey: they're muslims, they're cultured like asians, and they party like europeans



Here's a group journal that we wrote during the trip. 

TURKEY IS THE SHIT

DAY 0: JAKARTA - DOHA

* 9-hr flight to Doha + 2-hr transit at Doha + 4-hr flight to Istanbul
* Cassanova lost his hat on the plane (as expected). It's quite hilarious to think that someone would just snatch a fedora off a balding middle-aged man in a plane, so we're sticking with that story.
* NoRiYu and Nabila watched Little Miss Sunshine, Modern Family, and The Simpsons on the plane. A perfectly relevant assortment of entertainment. All of which fit the theme of the trip too well; namely, the adventures of an almost dysfunctional family.
* Nabila watched The Beach for the first time.

DAY 1: ISTANBUL, TURKEY

* Got picked up by the tour guide Serdar and the driver Hussein
* Lunch by the Sea of Marmara (Shish Kebab)
* Ottoman Palace --> Low-hanging chandeliers, indoor Hamam, the death of Sultan Amid II (1918)
* Fat cats
* Bosphorus Cruise --> NoRiYu was ill. Hassan, Saphira and Nabila enjoyed the view in the cold cold night. Military high school and private school by the strait (not sure if any kind of formal learning could take place in such a beautiful place).
* Dinner at Halic/Surbalic --> Saba fish + rice + chips. Rush rush rush.
* Walked to the theatre (dog on a roof)
* Sufi Dance --> Men in skirts and hats spinning around in a state of trance, as an effort to connect with God. 

DAY 2: ISTANBUL - BURSA - MT ULUDAG

* Headed to Bursa (went on a ferry, had some instant noodle, watched some seagulls)
* Party Bus --> Madam got a very naughty lap dance from Serdar, Nabila & NoRiYu showed off their LIMITED belly dancing skills
* Visited the Ulu Cami Mosque
* Raysa spilled boiling hot tea on NoRiYu. "Have you seen The Omen?" "Yes." "Stay away from that kid"
* Went to a bazaar
* Lunch at Hunkar, a really nice kebap place with a great view (one of the waiters hugged Nabila, said something in Turkish, then said "beautiful" aww)
* Another fat cat
* Silk House at Bursa (secret garden, stunning interior design)
* Rush rush rush to Mt Uludag
* MOTOR SKI!!!
* NoRiYu and that extra guy's motor broke down. Nabila, Saphira and Hassan had to share a motor. Couldn't climb up the hill. Got left behind in the cold cold night. Dun dun duun
* CREATURES OF THE NIGHT on top of Mt Uludag
* Extra guy left the area
* Nabila and Hassan explored the hotel. 8th floor --> there was a party which we weren't invited to. -2nd floor --> played foosball and air hockey. Rooftop --> swimming pool

DAY 3: BURSA - PERGAMON - PAMUKKALE

* Long drive to Pergamon (Bergama). Oooh the beauty of the countryside.
* Pit stop at Starbucks
* Peed into Starbucks cups
* Drove past a really nice town with colorful little buildings
* The poignant tale of our unlucky-in-love tour guide, titled The One That Got Away: High school sweethearts, naive and hopeful, were together for 8 years, engaged for 2 and a half years, separated 5 days before the wedding. Serdar fell into depression, continued working, and then 3 months later, he met us. Possible fling with NoRiYu? ;)
* PERGAMON --> The birthplace of parchment. Shopped a little, pooped a little.
* ASKLEPION --> The ruins of a hospital that accepted no mortal. Anyone with a life-threatening disease was thrown out. + The story of the man and the snakes. He has given up on life, so he refused to drink the milk that was supposed to heal him and put it outside. Snakes drank it, and somehow he was healed after drinking the venomous milk. Not sure if that's exactly how the story goes. Sorry, bad memory.
* Turquoise stone shopping
* Ottoman + Hassan + Big Madam + Nabila + The Brondong had a long talk about the Evil Eye, positive and negative energy, the evils of branding, etc while waiting for NoRiYu and Senior Yusuf who were busy shopping. Turned out that Serdar went to a university in Cappadocia, majoring in Tourist Guiding.
* Long drive to Pamukkale
* Listened to Turkish songs (Kiss Kiss)
* Project Galau: Hero by Enrique Iglesias, Linger by The Cranberries, Somebody I Used to Know by Gotye and The One That Got Away by Katy Perry
* At the hotel: thermal pool in our underwear + belly dancing + Turkish wine and cigs

DAY 4: PAMUKKALE - SELCUK - IZMIR

* The Brondong was hungover. Woke up exactly 5 min before departure, pretended nothing happened.
* COTTON CASTLE + HIERAPOLIS --> Rock formation and hot spring. Rumor has it the water has a healing power
* The Sexist Story of Cotton Castle: Once upon a time there was an unnamed ugly girl in Pamukkale. Her uglyness is so severe that no man wanted to be with her. One day she was walking around, looking for fresh air and mourning about her tragic situation. Little did she know, that walk was a gateway to a miracle that was about to change her life forever. As she was strolling by the empty countryside, she tripped and fell into a pool. She fainted for hours and hours. Time flew like the wind, and Ugly Girl remained unconscious through the break of dawn and the setting of the sun. Eventually she was found and rescued.. by a handsome prince, no less. She woke up looking into the deep blue eyes of a gentleman. Something was wrong, she thought. In his eyes there was no sign of disgust, no sign of repulsion. Instead she caught a glimpse of admiration, and if possible; love. Both of which were alien to her. She looked deeper into those sympathetic eyes and saw the reflection of a woman; a true beauty. She lingered, admiring the stunning features of the dame. Unbeknownst to her it was her own reflection looking back at her, and it was that dame that the prince was looking at in fascination. That pool had unleashed who she truly was all along. That pool turned the insecure caterpillar into a majestic butterfly. That pool, and the area around it, is now called... Cotton Castle -.-
* Madam's wheel(from the wheelchair) came off...
* Headed to Selcuk
* Open buffet + train museum
* KIRCHILAR --> Fashion show + leather shopping. NoRiYu and Omar became instant models for the day. Crazy suit for Omar. Turned the place into a club. Hot male model + staff. One of the people there wanted to arrange a marriage between Nabila and his son Emrah.
* EPHESUS EXCAVATION --> Nike + Hermes + Medusa.
St John and Virgin Mary lived there. It was Virgin Mary's sanctuary, so to speak.
* Celsius Library - Right in front of a brothel. Complete with a tunnel connecting it to the brothel for sleazy men who were afraid of their wives.
* Nabila performed a short and terrible solo at the grand theatre
* Took a family sitcom photo in front of Ephesus.
* Dinner at the hotel in Izmir. Really small and secluded hotel.

DAY 5: IZMIR - CANAKKALE

* Tried to take a stroll around the area but it was freezing cold and raining
* Looooong drive to Troy
* LUNCH + BIG MADAM'S BDAY SURPRISE - Cami Yummy (the handsome and brooding waiter) told NoRiYu that she's beautiful.
* TROY - Nothing particularly interesting. Note to selves: watch the Brad Pitt movie one more time
* Bosphorus means "cow passage" - The legend goes that Zeus, the god of the gods, was a cassanova. Going against the laws of the universe, he made love with everything and anything within reach: objects, creatures, animals, mortals, etc. Hera, his wife,was incredibly jealous of this one girl that Zeus was cheating with. So Zeus turned the girl into a cow to cover up his indiscretion, and that cow tried in vain to escape Hera by swimming through the strait that is now known as Bosphorus.
* AT THE HOTEL - NoRiYu, Saphira and Nabila were talking about the appearance of a boy behind us, in Indonesian. He turned out to be Indonesian and heard everything. Oops.
* Stuck in the elevator with NoRiYu, Saphira, Nabila, Madam and The Little One
* THE BALCONY - NoRiYu + Saphira + Hassan + Nabila hung out in The Brondong's room + balcony. Seemed to spark something between NoRiYu and The Brondong. Dun dun duun. Bruno 2.0, definitely.

DAY 6: CANAKKALE - ISTANBUL

* "you escaped me last night"
* Long looong drive to Istanbul
* Foosball - Hassan+Nabila vs NoRiYu+Brondong. NoRiYu+Brondong won
* Back in Istanbul - went to Topkapi Palace(saw Moses' stick, Nabi Muhammad's beard and footprint, swords, etc etc), met Nina Bee, had some chestnuts
* Dinner at Halic again
* TURKISH CARPET - Went to a fancy carpet place that Liam Neeson once visited. The prices were like whoa, mom got a headache, we all sneaked off one by one. Nabila + Hassan + Saphira + Cassanova got to walk around the area, at night, and it was a beauty
* NYE gala dinner at crowne plaza
* Lots of overdressed rich people (or were we underdressed?)
* Nabila + Saphira + Hassan + NoRiYu + Cassanova danced the night away
* Senior Yusuf + Ottoman fell asleep before the countdown

DAY 7: ISTANBUL - DOHA -JAKARTA

* Haghia Sofia + Blue Mosque + Suleymaniye Mosque + grand bazaar
* Hassan + Nabila went off to buy the red hats. No one noticed. The bus proceeded to leave. Finally, Brondong(of all people) realized we were absent. Could've been a real smashing adventure if they had really left Nabila and Hassan behind.
* At the airport--> Brondong stayed cool. No hug no kiss nothing for noriyu :'(
* 12-hr transit at Doha was a series of hormedy(horror+comedy, go figure) happenings--> NoRiYu and Big Madam's room was double-booked, meaning that there were two arab men sleeping in their beds when we arrived in the middle of the night. Bravo. NoRiYu and Big Madam moved to Nabila and Saphira's room. Cassanova felt a tingly feeling in his room way down on the 3rd floor, suspected the room was haunted, ran all the way to Hassan's room, then slept at the lobby
* At the immigration--> Big Madam's face could not be detected for what seemed like ages. She never did get detected, but the guy finally decided to look past it.
* Home not so sweet home Jakarta + Singapore. 

I can honestly say that Turkey might actually be my favorite place in the world. The trip was much too short and it felt unfinished. I definitely feel that we need to go back one day. I would love to spend the days in Istanbul just walking along the streets with my camcorder and a sketchbook. I also need to check out Cappadocia and its underground cities. We didn't get to wander around and explore much because we were with a tour guide and had a fully packed itinerary to follow. It was my first time traveling with a tour and I wasn't so excited about that. Luckily our family was big enough that we didn't have to join other groups. It could've easily been just another tourist crap if it weren't for the little moments that had slipped out of the organized fun; all the drama, the honesty of our tour guide, the balcony talks, my aunt's saudade, the intense games of foosball, the nighttime explorations, random encounters with the locals and the spontaneous dancing and singing. It's impossible to have a normal time with this family of shitheads, and it's both a blessing and a curse. However in Turkey all I saw was blessings all the way. It is impossible to describe our journey in a blog post. All I can say is that I am truly inspired and nothing can stop me. It has even made me start writing. Maybe I do want to be a writer. Who knows, maybe this is the start of something wonderful in my life.

2 comments:

  1. Wah the trip seems like so much fun!!! And you have a hilarious family!! Great documentaries, I really enjoyed watching them ^^

    ReplyDelete
  2. i likes ur blog title, www.theephesus.com

    ReplyDelete

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