Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Ready to go Home. When can I come back?

It is the eternal question for the traveler.  Or for me, anyway.  I want to go home.  But how long before I can come back?  Anyway, at the moment I really have no home.  I just spend my last 16 lira on a glass of white wine at the Istanbul airport.  But there is more lira where that came from.

My last few days – with the exception of Saturday – were quite full.  I did the things I wanted to do.

At the Grand Bazaar, I bought my nephews Aladdin slippers.   I got hit up a lot more the second time, without Ugur, but it was all good.  The guys in there were not quite as intense as the ones that followed me around the streets outside the Hagia Sophia.  I got a lot of compliments and I bought what I went for.  One kind of funny thing: I went into a shop in the book and art part of the Grand Bazaar to have a look.  The guy in there started telling me about this woman he had in Soho New York.  She was rich, Jewish and wanted to have sex all the time.  She was a bunny, a dog, a monkey in bed.  I have absolutely no clue why this guy was telling me all this.  I asked him if he goes back and he said “no she took all my energy already.”  On that note, I said sayonara.  You should have heard the way he went on about this woman.  Craziness.

I love the Grand Bazaar.  There are all these trippy nooks and crannies.  I would love to really get in there and explore one day.  But you have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle something like that.

I sat in a lot of cafes.  I walked and walked.  I walked to Ortikoy one day and then hopped on a ferry not really knowing where it was going.  It took me to the Asian side.  Then I hopped on another one, kind of knowing where it was going.  The ferries are only two lira a ride – a little over a dollar.  So it is easy to just hop on them and ride around.  I loved being on the Bosphoros with those magnificent views of the Galata tower on one side and all the mosques and craziness on the other side.  Yesterday I hopped on another ferry to go to the Chora church, it is a church with a lot of Byzantine mosaics and some medieval frescoes.  It was not so easy to get up there – and coming back, I walked and walked (this seems to be the story around here.) But it was worth it to see the mosaics.

Speaking of mosaics.  This whole time in Istanbul I have been searching for anything Theodora.  Theodora was the wife of the emperor Justinian here, in the 6th century.  She is one of my favorite people in history so I wanted to find a copy of the mosaic of her that is in Ravenna or SOMETHING Theodora.  But there is nothing.  They don’t even know who she is here, it seems.  I did see a hotel Theodora and found a paperback novel based on her in the Virgin Megastore, but the book looked really dumb so I did not buy it.  I guess I will have to go back to Ravenna to get my Theodora fix.

Over the weekend, in my neighborhood just down from Taksim Square and also, over by the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, there were so many people out.  Just massive quantities of bodies.  It was akin to when I was at the Vatican the day after the Pope died.  I would stand against a wall and just watch the people walk by as the call to prayer sounded.  It seems, that I can be invisible again, which makes me very happy.

One day I saw a girl in a white full-on burka with a bit of a raised skirt and white Converse high-tops.  I left my Converse sneakers here.  It was time to let them go.  I put them by the garbage and I hope some homeless person can use them.

This was such a different kind of trip.  Everything was so full on in my face sensory wise.  Even quiet Cappadocia.  I’ll even remember the dogs howling outside the Elif Star caves.  I’ll remember that I never turned on a TV (though, I did watch Project Runway Season 1on my laptop.)  I’ll remember how I got used to the precariousness of it all.  Most of all, I will remember the people I met.  They are unforgettable.

I’ll post some pictures when I get back. I can’t tell you how weird it will be to be at the Four Points Sheraton at LAX tonight. But, Onward.

6 Responses to “Ready to go Home. When can I come back?”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    I’ve loved all your Turkey posts! Really made me want to go back to Istanbul… Was that ‘Theodora’ book the Stella Duffy one? If so, it’s not dumb at all – I’m reading it now, and loving it. Guardian review: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jul/17/theodora-actress-empress-whore-duffy Are you in CA over the holidays? We’re eating our way through SF: staying in Lower Haight from 19 Dec – 4 Jan – would be great to meet up for a meal/drink if you were coming north.

  2. Natalie Be Says:

    Nice Shannon. Brought back memories of my trip in March. I also found the trippy nooks and crannies facscinating and even at night, I wanted to just keep meandering down the dark, dimly lit alleys. Kind of scary but enticing at the same time!!!

  3. Stephen Says:

    I love your writing. Such a unique voice. I will always be your groupie. Istanbul freaked me out. I kind of hated it. Because of the Islamic culture men dominated the psychic space and I found them to be bullies one minute and petulant babies the next. But reading your posts make me want to go back and give it another chance.

  4. Stephen Douglas Says:

    Great write-up Shanon. Many many thanks. Why? I am 69 years old and I have been to Turkey in 2008 and 2010 not including my first exposure to Izmir in 1966 where as a young Navy lad I bought a brass Samovar with Russian tax stamps embossed in the brass after much haggling with an old shop keeper and I can never forget the smell of that old bazaar. Old world was speaking to me. I was captivated by a scene of old swarthy men sitting on low stools around a charcoal fire that was roasting a large vat of black shiny Turkish coffee beans during winter days. The kids had small transistor radios which was a big deal in those days. No matter where I went I saw the huge dividing boundary between youth and old people. Two very different worlds side by side. I saw Ephesus before cruise ship crowds became the norm.
    Now at my age, my nose no longer works as well. Still, no regrets other than aging. In 2008 I did a Rick Steves tour and in 2010 I did two long tours back-to-back by Pacha Tours of Eastern Turkey and all of the midland areas. In all my life I have never seen so many ‘rock piles’ as I call the old Roman sites.
    So it was that I read your Turkey blog to refresh my senses of bad coffee and so-so food, but meeting so many wonderful natives. I toured in early spring. I did eastern Turkey starting from Trabzon and on to Kars, Van, and many other places. Like you, I had a little netbook computer I used to send email stories to many friends who followed my tour of Turkey. I stayed several days after the tour in Istanbul just to relax and wonder around. Rode a lot of ferries…..always a wonderful thing to do as you did yourself. And visited many old haunts from my earlier visits. I love Istanbul. I want to live the rest of my days there. My wife does not share those sentiments. I have grandkids. No. It does not appear I will be so lucky. But I hope to return there soon. Also, I want to ride the Greek Island ferries as I did in 2008 in late October. It was wonderful to have it all to myself tourist wise. The Med beckons to me still. Very glad to read your blog. You seem to have a great appetite for travel ….and like you, I appreciate the wine and cheese after a long day on my feet in Turkey. But file this one item back in your mental filing system. The city of Sivas is dry!!!! I stayed one night at the Bayut Sivas Hotel downtown and the hotel has a beautiful bar lounge. Can you imagine my reaction when the barman told me there is no alcoholic beverages served here. I stopped breathing at that moment for some time….and finally took a deep breath. Why? Ever after I always kept two or three bottles of wine in my luggage while on the road. So, you see, even at 69 yrs of age I still have a child like wonder. Old age does not kill that inner child. But you must know that by now.
    May you have many more travels before old age. Old age ain’t bad except you feel it deeply climbing many steps in the summer heat. Winter is not so bad after all. But finding good hot coffee in cold climbs…..maybe.
    Good luck

    Stephen R. Douglas

  5. Stella Duffy Says:

    if you’re still there (and er, ‘dumb’ books aside!), you can go to the ‘Little Hagia Sophia’ (Küçuk Ayasofya Camii) and see what was once the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, built by Theodora’s architect, and a prototype of the large (current) Hagia Sophia. She most certainly visited it, and it’s been beautifully restored, albeit as a mosque.
    And in Hagia Sophia itself, you can stand on the green marble spot in the women’s gallery, marking the place where the Empress – Theodora originally – stood. You can also look up and see Theodora and Justinian’s initials engraved in the finials of the column in HS. There are certainly still a few touches of Theodora in Istanbul – you just have to search them out!

  6. Colleen Says:

    Stephen R. Douglas – I loved reading your remembrances of Turkey! I hope I can find more of your writing on the net. … It’s no surprise that Shannon’s blog has followers who are as talented as she is.

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