I think I would categorize this under “Creative Commons Success Stories.”
I was contacted a few months ago by publication company, Alter Communications, inquiring if they could use some of my photos in an upcoming issue of BOSS magazine, a quarterly publication for Dixon Valve & Coupling Company. This was during my Europe trip and I happened to be in Turkey at the time; but I was able to work everything out over email with Kim, the senior graphic designer, in just a few hours – which I think is quite amazing. All I really wanted was a byline credit and some copies of the magazine when it came out, and Kim was happy to provide both.
Fast forward to about a week ago, a flat package arrived for me at home. Inside were a couple copies of BOSS magazine, with a personal note (hand written, none the less) thanking me for the use of my pictures. I was pretty stoked. You can see the online version here: BOSS Magazine Fall 2009, or swing by my place if you want to see the hard copy.
As a side note, these were the still in the days1 I was shooting JPG2. To be honest, the photos weren’t that good, at least in my opinion. Had they been RAW, I would have been able to do quite a bit to pretty them up. But hey, if it works: it works!0
28 June 2009
The original plan was to take the bus to Selcuk and stay at the ANZ Guesthouse. The new plan, that Ali (from Mavi Guesthouse) gave me, was to go past Selcuk to Kusadasi. Ali (from Panorama Hotel, aka Ali II) would pick us up at the bus station.
The new plan didn’t really work though. We got kicked off the bus in Selcuk (because that’s were I said we were going…I probably should have said Kusadasi). We found a bus to take us to Kusadasi, however it dropped us off somewhere in town, not the hotel.
So we started walking. After asking a couple of people on the street, we finally found Panorama Hotel. Ali II wasn’t too pleased that we weren’t at the bus station as he had waited over an hour at the bus station. I explained our situation and everything seemed fine…more or less.
We grabbed lunch (as it was well past breakfast time at this point) and took a bus back towards Selcuk to visit Ephesus.
Getting to Ephesus is actually kind of interesting. It’s about three kilometers outside of Selcuk and there’s no bus (at least from Kusadasi) that goes all the way to Ephesus. Instead, you get dropped off on the side of the road and can either negotate with a taxi driver or walk the kilometer to the entrance. Being strapping young men with a budget, we opted for the latter.
Ephesus was pretty amazing, and it damn well should be considering we paid 20YTL1 each to get in. It was also one of those super touristy things to do, and, for me, falls into the category of going to the Hermitage: Sure, I’ll see it if someone is going…but I’m not really going to go out of my way.
Ephesus is currently being restored, which takes away greatly from the cool factor. There are some areas, though, that have either had their restoration work completed (at least for now), or have yet to be restored; these were the highlights, as everything elsed clashed unfavorably with the modern industrial equipment.
After a couple hours at Ephesus, we walked the kilometer back to the road and caught the bus back to Kusadasi. I was completly wiped out and went for a nap.
I woke up around 8 or 9 and when for a quick bite to eat with Charlie. I wrote some postcards, we walked the pier, and then it was off to bed for an early wake up call, again.0
$13 USD ↩
27 June 2009
Sleeping felt great. Waking up, not so much. But we had to get an early start on the day as we day yet another all day tour before we had to run to catch another overnight bus, joy! Shazia had left for Istanbul last night, so we made friends with Cecilie and Finn.
We’ve actually been “stalking” them since Istanbul where we both stayed at the Mavi Guesthouse. They booked a tour with Ali’s help as well, and we (unbeknownst to either party at the time) booked essentially the same tour all the way to Samos. The only difference was Cecilcia and Finn had an extra day in Cappadocia before their tour.
We started with some more rocks just outside of town, but today’s tour eventually took us down to KaymaklÄ± to see the KaymaklÄ± Underground City.
Being almost 50 meters down was a nice change of pace from the beating Turkish sun, although the cool relief did not last long.
We did a short (about 4 kilometers, or so) hike through Ihlara Valley and then stopped for a quick lunch over the river before finishing out our day. It wasn’t nearly as good at yesterdays buffet, but it filled the belly enough.
Funny picture of the day: What a bunch of tourist look like photographing a mountain in the middle of nowhere.
We finally headed over to Selime Monastery to finish up the day.
Getting back before our bus left had its moments of excitement. The bus was supposed to leave at 19:00 and our tour was supposed to get back by 18:30. However, we had a late start in the morning because they didn’t have enough seats and had to get a second bus for the tour. It was pushing 18:50 by time we got back to the hostel. Fortuneatly our bags were packed and ready to go. However, I needed to check my email to see if Ali had sent me any last minute information. Meanwhile, Charlie went to go take a shower after we decided that he was no longer allowed to ride next to me without taking one.
Ali actually ended up calling the Shoestring Cave and leaving a message. So I called him back. It was lucky I got a hold of him as there was a change of plans. It basically boils down to this: We were going to stay in Selcuk, which is about 25 minutes from Kusadasi, which is where we catch the ferry to Samos. The ferry leaves at 08:00 in the morning. Ali thought that he could get us a ride, but he couldn’t. So he’s going to have us stay at a place in Kusadasi instead so we can just walk to the ferry!
I wrote down all the contact information for our new hostel and was off running to the bus station with Charlie 45 seconds behind me. As it turned out, this bus didn’t leave on time and we had an extra several minutes to spare.
We took the short ten minute ride to Nevsehir, where it started raining buckets. As we arrived, the streets started looking like Venician canals. This was unfortunate for the sheer fact that none of us, save Cecilie, had any sort of rain gear. Finn used his backpack as a shield, I threw on my fleece zip-up, and Charlie just sucked it up.
Once we got on the bus, it was okay though. The AC was on, Charlie had take two showers, and we on our way to the cooler coast.0
26 June 2009
I’m going to start by appologzing profussely for all the pictures of rocks. Cappadocia is, in essence, a giant collection of cool looking rocks and I’m pretty sure I got a picture of every single one of them. Out of 215 photos I took today, I ended up only rejecting 84 of them. Typically, I reject just over half. Not today.
Anyway, the bus ride was less than ideal. Charlie smelled like a sweaty rugby player after an all-day round robin tournament and the bus driver refused to keep the AC on. We awoke in Nevsehir and were called off the bus. A bit dazzed from just waking up, Charlie and I got off, thinking this was the guy who was going to take us to the hostel from the bus depot.
As it turned out, we think it was just a way to get tourist to purchase a tour of Cappadocia, as the guy quickly put us back on the bus once he found out we had already booked a tour. Still super confused about what happened, we finally did off at the right stop.
We got to the hostel and learned that both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett had died while we were in transit. Sad times.
A quick turn around and we were off to explore the northern region of Cappadocia with our guide, Esra.
Many of the holes in the rocks were for roosting pigeons. The previous inhabitants used the guano as fertalizer.
We spent most of the day hiking around. One kilometer here, another four there. For two guys who barely got any sleep, I thought we did pretty good. We befriended Shazia, another traveler from the States who was on vacation with her mother; had an amazing buffet lunch (that’ll teach them to let to college grads eat all they want); and, toured a pottery shop, among other things.
For dinner, we walked into town and had pide (a Turkish pizza) and a beer at a restraunt that Shazia had recommended for their kunefe, which is amazing by the way.
We wandered back to the
Bat Shoestring Cave and promptly fell asleep.
25 June 2009
For our last day in Istanbul, Charlie and I split up.
While walking down to the pier the other day, I saw a sign for the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam. Knowing that much of our current math has its roots in Arabic (our numbering system is, after all, Arabic), I was rather curious to check this museum out.
The museum was relatively new and not quite completed yet; which was unfortunate, because several of the models were kinetic, but not plugged in.
I think I was most impressed by the astroglobes, which were used to predict star locations, and water pumps, which I was interested in for their sheer ingenuity and for a project I’m working on that I’ll discus at a later date.
I met back up with Charlie at the hostel for one last trip to the Grand Bizaar to get some more Turkish Delight and hopefully a carpet for me.
With remarkable efficient, we entered the Bazaar, completed our missions, and were back at the hostel.
One snag Charlie ran in to was withdrawing money from the ATM. The aforementioned trip was expensive, 390YTL1 …which actually isn’t all that bad considereing what we were doing and the ground we were covering, and we still had to pay Ali. However, Charlie couldn’t get either of his ATM cards to work! Crap! After calling his bank and some bank and forth to the ATM, we eventually figured out that he has a maximum withdraw limit and was attempting to take out barely more than the limit.
Charlie rushed back, just in time to pay Ali and catch the bus.
And just like that, we were on to Cappadocia.0
$250 USD ↩
24 June 2009
Having walked so much the previous day, Charlie and I decided that today would be a good day to take that boat right up the Bosphorus. After a bit of late start, we walked down to the pier in hopes of finding a boat that would take us on for a decent price. It didn’t take long for a guy to get us interested in a two hour boat cruise. It wasn’t the exact ride we wanted, which would have taken us up to Ã‡amlÄ±bahÃ§e or so, but it was good enough, especially given the amount of time we had. The asking price was 20YTL each; after walking away once, we were able to get him to go for 30YTL for the both of us, and probably could have gone lower.
The ride was decent; I was able to take some great pictures. It would have been nice to have a guide to give some background on what we were looking at, but alas we had no such fortune.
There wasn’t much to see on the Asian side of Istanbul, so I ended up falling asleep for the hour or so it took to get back.
Charlie and I decided that we were both pretty hungry. Charlie heard a rumor that the fish was pretty good here, so we set out to find something decent. We settled on a bustling fish house of sort right on the water.
The kitchen, and I use that term very loosely, was little more than a collection of grills on a boat docked to the pier. Ordering meant walking up to a guy right on the edge of the pier, handing over your 3YTL and getting a cooked fish sandwich handed to you. For another 2YTL each, we added two cans of Coca-Cola.
Overall, it was a decent meal, at least up until I starting getting bits of bone in my mouth.
We made our way back to the hostel, getting lost in the Bazaar along the way.
Despite my little cat nap, I was still dog tired when we got back. I spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping, which honestly isn’t such a bad thing to do in the hot Istanbul weather.
After I finally woke up, we spent the evening figuring out what to do in Cappadocia and really the rest of Turkey. Ali, the owner of Mavi Guesthouse1, was very helpful in piecing together this section of our trip. It was going to be a grueling few days, but we assured him we could do it.
The plan was such: leave tomorrow night on an overnight bus to Gorme (which is in the Cappadocia region) and go on an all day tour of the northern region of Cappadocia. Sleep at Shoestring Cave for the night. Wake up and go on another all day tour of the southern region of Cappadocia. Then, catch another overnight bus to Selcuk. Spend a day in Selcuk (i.e. Ephesus), staying overnight at the ANZ Guesthouse, and leaving for Samos, Greece the next morning at 8am via ferry. Talk about a whirlwind tour of Turkey.
Content with our plans, Charlie and I headed off to a Turkish Bath, also known as a hamam, with Nick (one of our roommates).
Let me tell you something about hamam’s: they are utterly amazing and utterly scary. We got changed into single towel and slippers and were ushered into the sauna to sweat it out. There was some talk about crossing legs or not, but we decided that we were all mature males, comfortable with our heterosexuality.
Two older gentlemen2 came to get us out of the sauna. They sat us down on the marble and drenched us in water before rubbing us down with a stiff glove. It actually felt good and I wished they went a bit longer.
Next, we were instructed to lay face up on a marble table. There, they gave us a soap massage, intermixed with sporadic slapping (for effect, I’m sure). It’s pretty much what you would expect, although a bit on the vigorous side. They had clearly done this many times before and were not afraid to go practically all the way up my thigh. To put it bluntly, one slip and this guys thumb was going right up my asshole. Seriously. Not an exciting thought.
I just stared straight ahead, looking at the single bare Philips florecent light bulb illuminating the room.
Philips…Lets Make Things Better
Reveling in our newfound cleanliness, we walked back to the hostel, grabbing some food and baklava on the way.
23 June 2009
For better or worse, I feel like Charlie may be the end of me on this trip. I’ve already been traveling pretty much non-stop for three weeks and now I’ve got an eager beaver who wants to see it all.
Today, we went to the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Old Bazaar, bought Turkish Delight1, walked across the Galata bridge, walked up to Galata Kulesi, and over to the KabataÅŸ ferry which took us to ÃœskÃ¼dar (on the Asian side of Istanbul).
We walked around ÃœskÃ¼dar for a while before returning to what we thought was EmÄ±nÃ¶nÃ¼”Ž (which would have been for a short walk back), but we ended up going to BeÅŸÄ±ktaÅŸ, which is further north (north being the wrong direction) of KabataÅŸ. The north end of the tram only runs to KabataÅŸ, so we had to hike it the 1.5 kilometers to the tram before we could relax in air-conditioned comfort. We later learned that today has been one of the hottest day day in Istanbul this year. Great.
We took a nap before venturing into the somewhat cooler evening to find some well deserved grub. A kebab house fit the bill pretty perfectly and all was good.0
which has led to a slew of rather off-color jokes ↩
22 June 2009
I got up extra early this morning, around the the crack of 9am or so to find several messages from Charlie.
I finally left the hostel just before 11 and made my way to the central train station via the metro. My plan was to reverse my route that I took coming in.
Amazing, everything worked out great! I got on the metro, got to the train station, walked back through the entire train station to the other side, found a bus to the Boryspil airport, and all was good. Even better, I had lots of time to kill, which was surprising because I had left later than I planned.
My plane out of Boryspil was a bit late, but we eventually did get off the ground and I slept most of the way, as I usually do on flights less than 3 hours.
I decided the best plan was to wait for Charlie. His plane was scheduled to land in about three hours and I wasn’t sure he could figure out where to go.
I found a food court and grabbed some lunch, which was an adventure in-and-of itself. In my attempt to eat local foods, I try to stay away from places such as McDonald’s and Burger King. I found a nice little place to eat that had a combo meal for something like 13 liras3.
The picture on the menu looked good, so I said “Combo please with Coca-Cola.” The woman at the register asked what I wanted, so I said, “Combo Meal,” trying to repeat the the words on the menu as close as I could. It was no use though. She waved over another woman who was able to translate for me.
Well, as it turned out, you still had to pick what you wanted for the main course with the combo meal. The titles weren’t very descriptive, so I just asked her what she liked and went with that.
Slightly frustrated, and even more embarrassed, I quickly devoured the entire meal (I didn’t have a chance to get breakfast before I left due to problem solving Charlie’s flight issue).
With at least another 2 hours until Charlie’s flight arrived, and feeling a bit worn out, I decided to seek refuge in the local Starbucks.
Not wanting to miss him, I waited about 30 minutes after Charlie’s plane landed before I headed over to the area where the passengers came out. Unfortunately, it would be another hour until I saw his happy face. When Charlie finally emerged, I’m pretty sure seeing me standing there was the happiest moment in his life.
We made our way down to the metro, up to the tram, and all the way to the hostel with a minimum of fuss. Despite the fact that he had just been traveling for over 24 hours, Charlie still wanted to go out. So we made a quick tour of the surrounding area before going to bed.
In summery, I feel like this day exemplifies exactly why traveling by air sucks.0
I’m meeting Charlie in Istanbul today. However, he’s had a bit of excitement on his plane ride from the States…
6:30 PM PDT
SO…….I am in Halifax…….we had an emergency landing for a guy who had a heart attack. Didn’t empty enough fuel so the plane was too heavy and we blew out two tires (or so I hear). Probably not going to get in until at least 2pm, possibly three. Keep an eye out for me in case I decide to wait at the airport. What is your flight #?1
9:05 pm PDT
Now I’m going to get in at 3:30….hopefully. See you at the airport!
Possibily 6:30 now…….We are Delta flight 72 from New York. I’ll keep and eye out for you if you decide to hang around. See you in a few hours!
I’m Aerosvit Airlines flight #265 ↩