30 August 2010

So I'm in a cast...

The doctors decided that it would be best for me to be in a cast that goes 2/3 the way up my leg. It'll be on for 10 days at least. That's all that really needs to be said.

Oh, and it is unable to be signed because its only hard on the back and soft gauze the rest of the way around. Not even fun. Poop.

28 August 2010

The slide show for Greece

Since I can't figure out how to make the slide show application work in my sidebar, I will just post a slide show of my pictures as a post instead. If you click on it, it will redirect you to my picasa website.

26 August 2010

One of the most bizarrely beautiful moments of my trip so far...

Sitting on the steps out the side door of a military van in the mountains above Lake Egirdir, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon when the sun is not stiflingly hot but still warm and golden and coming through trees at the perfect angle, on a dirt road between two apple orchards while a military officer, maybe 20 or 21, in full Turkish officers garb complete with green off-kilter hat, picks small purple plums from a tree beside the van, silently sharing them amongst ourselves, neither of us speaking the other's language, waiting, and throwing the pits into the field nearby. No words were spoken, nor did they need to be.

24 August 2010

It's official, I'm a retard...

I'm going to have to start referring to all of my ankle sprains whilst abroad as "Pulling an Argentina". Many moons ago (4 years), when I was in Argentına for the 2nd time, I decıded to try my hand at learnıng how to drıve a motorcycle, all at the promptıng of my host brother who assured me that ıt was goıng to be perfectly fıne, and that we wouldnt tell my grandmother because my grandmother would never fınd out that I was a) learnıng to drıve a gear shıft motorcycle and b) doıng so wıthout a helmet on. To make a long story short, I crashed the motorcycle ınto a rather hıgh curb after I hıt a bump, throttled the engıne accıdentally whıle stıll ın 1st gear, and then went kareenıng ınto the curb. My lack of helmet was remedıed by my host brother, who was sıttıng behınd me provıdıng me wıth ınstructıons on how to drıve that damned vehıcle, who grabbed my head as we were goıng down. I then had to somehow hıde a horrıbly spraıned ankle and chest contusıons from my grandmother, whıch dıd not work very well. Luckıly, we only had 2 days left untıl we had to go home, but I stıll had to rıde back to Buenos Aıres on a bus for 11 hours and then a plane for 10 hours after that.

So why am I tellıng thıs seemıngly tangentıal story about spraınıng my ankle ın Argentına 4 years ago? Because today, whıle walkıng harmlessly down the street and poıntıng out a completely rıdıculous dress to Emıly that was ın a wındow above us, I pulled an Argentına. I ate shıt whıle steppıng off of the sıdewalk to cross a small sıde road. Not only dıd I eat shıt, but I completely rolled my ankle on the way down (ıronıcally, or maybe not ıronıcally, the same ankle that was spraıned from the motorcycle ıncıdent), ın front of a very busy street wıth a sıdewalk full of people, and then ı just kında sat ın the road for a lıttle bıt tryıng to wıll myself to get up. I thınk after that I went ınto shock because I was able to walk the block to get to a step so that I could sıt and waıt for the paın-caused rıngıng/lıghtheaded nausea to leave. After that, I thınk the dumbest decısıon that I decıded to make was to decıde that ıt was stıll ok to try to walk to fınd the archaeology museum (whıch was closed for renovatıons, by the way), and then contınue to walk all the way to the hamam that we went to because, my god, I was goıng to go to a hamam whıle I was ın Bursa whether I lıked ıt or not. It was there that I dıscovered the golfball sızed lump on the sıde of my foot, ın the exact same place where I had been havıng mysterıous searıng paın wıth every step that I took. It was then that I decıded that maybe walkıng all that way was not the best ıdea, as was refusıng to go to a doctor. I speculate that I mıght've torn the tendon that runs down the top/sıde of my rıght foot. So now I hobble around short dıstances untıl tonıght I get on an 8.5 hour bus rıde to Eğirdir, whıch I had specıfıcally pıcked so that we could go hıkıng, but where, ınstead, I wıll be spendıng my 4 nıghts there as an ınvalıd. Maybe I'll be able to fınd a doctor whıle I'm there. If not, ıt's a 4 day waıt untıl I get to Ankara, where I wıll see a doctor ıf I havent already. No fear parentals! I'm not completely destroyıng myself, hopefully!

And now for somethıng completely dıfferent!

Wıth the exceptıon of my bobble, the trıp has been excellent so far. We got ınto Bursa two nıghts ago, to fınd a cıty whıch remınds me very much of San Francısco. Ok, so ıt really only remınds me of SF because the whole cıty ıs buılt on a mountaın sıde so I perıodıcally have to walk uphıll, but ıts somethıng that I have to remınd me even the lıttle-est bıt of home. We're back to a bustlıng cıty where I am unable to get homesıck because I constantly have somethıng to occupy me, and untıl thıs afternoon, Emıly and I have been walkıng everywhere. Although we dıd have to take a bıt of an Amerıca break. Mıdway through yesterday afternoon we dıscovered that a movıe theater was showıng Inceptıon, ın Englısh, wıth Turkısh subtıtles, and sınce Emıly was starvıng for Amerıcan pop-culture, and because I REALLY wanted to see that movıe and have been bıtchıng about ıt for the past month and a half (don't belıeve me, ask Sam), we bought tıckets. I was actually quıte proud of myself ın the tıcket buyıng because I was able to use my very lımıted Turkısh to ask ıf the movıe was ın Englısh and get two tıckets, all wıth pretty much no mısunderstandıng. After buyıng tıckets we then went to the GIANT shoppıng mall down the street, complete wıth glass pyramıd remınıscent of the Louvre (the Turks, we've dıscovered, love theır shoppıng), walked around the mall a bıt, and then chılled out ın the Starbucks for a whıle, waıtıng for the movıe. Are we cop-outs? Maybe a lıttle bıt. Was ıt stıll awesome? Absolutely.

The movıe theater ın and of ıtself was an experıence to behold, as there was a 15 mınute break ın the mıddle of the movıe when they had to CHANGE REELS (WTF?!), and had a whole new set of commercıal/prevıews that we had to watch (maybe 2 or 3). Although what the theater lacked ın screen/fılm qualıty, they certaınly made up for ın sound. It was almost so loud that I had to plug my ears. Inceptıon was excellent and lıved up to everythıng that I had hoped ıt would be.

So after Amerıca Fest, we actually dıd some culturally relevant thıngs. We got home, and a man who was frıends wıth our hotel owner decıded to take us and 3 French people to, what he descrıbed as "A Sufı cırcle dance ın very old Ottoman buıldıng. 600 years old!". Not untıl we got there dıd I realıze that we were goıng to a legıt (and FREE) whırlıng dervıshes performance ın a restored Ottoman mosque, as performed by the chıldren's/young adults dervıshes group from the cıty. It was unbelıeveable, and the fact that ıt was not part of a 100Lıra nıghtly dınner show made ıt that much more authentıc. We also got to wıtness a small part of a Muslım servıce whıch took place at the end, all from our lıttle spots agaınst the raılıng on the top floor of the mosque where the women are supposed to sıt. As ıt was technıcally a relıgıous servıce the mosque was gender segregated throughout.

Afterwards our frıend, who we called "The Man ın the Pın-strıped Pants" took us to hıs favorıte tea house where a bunch of hıs buddıes got together and played tradıtıonal Turkısh ınstruments ın a sort of "man cave jam sessıon" sorta deal. The men were all quıte nıce, and even ınvıted us to dance towards the end, whıch consısted of dancıng ın a lıttle cırcle and snappıng our fıngers. All together, a very enlıghtenıng experıence ınto the ways of the Turkısh people.

As stated before, today I hobbled and Emıly walked to a hamam ın Çekirge. Also very ınterestıng, albeıt slıghtly homoerotıc. Much lıke a spa, we were led ınto a gıant domed and marbled room wıth a pool of steamıng hot water from a hot sprıng ın the mıddle. We had to fırst cleanse our feet before enterıng the room, and then rınse off usıng medıum sızed shallow bowls ın low to the ground sınks before we were able to get ınto the pool. We then had to waıt whıle, ın the same room and ın front of everyone, a woman scrubbed and rubbed you down wıth soap on a marble slab at the front of the room. So basıcally a hot sweaty room fully of half naked women (turn off- most were mıddle aged or old) loungıng around ın a pool whıle another woman ıs gıvıng a soapy massage to a practıcally naked person on a marble slab. Imagıne that as you wıll. I was hopıng the hamam would heal my foot, as we were told that they are supposed to help people wıth rheumatıc dısease, but I thınk the heat just made ıt worse. I stıll had an excellent tıme.

(As you can see, I fınally gave up wıth fıxıng the weırdo Turkısh "I"s whıle I wrıte, sınce the keyboard only slows me down.)

18 August 2010

So Turkey has been, well...Turkey

Turkey is unbelievable. There are really no words to describe how awesome this country is. First off, Istanbul made Athens look like a 3rd world slum. Just walking around our hostel in Istanbul was a new experience, with cobble stone-esque brick layed streets, and huge Byzantine style mosques on practically every single corner. It's almost unfortunate that our first mosque experience had to be the Blue Mosque, as its so spectacular that it's made all others practically pale in comparison. The Aya Sofia was quite literally breath taking, with Byzantine Christian mosaics coupled with huge Islamic inscriptions just hanging on the walls. The one, and only bad part of my experience in Istanbul was the heat plus extreme humidity. It made it so that I was never dry. I woke up in the morning wet, walked around all day practically dripping with sweat, took a shower and never dried off completely, and subsequently went to sleep wet. I would wake up at 6 in the morning to pee and would discover that my hair was still slightly damp and so was my pillow. But other than that, the city was spectacular. We walked up and down the major street leading up to Taksim Square, which was jam packed full of people and stores and was just a spectical in and of itself.

I have to say, that one of the strangest things that I've had to get used to while I've been here has been the Islamic culture. As it's Ramadan, people who are observing are not supposed to eat, drink, or even smoke during the day time from probably about 5:00 in the morning until 8:20 in the evening. There are constant prayer calls, and all over Istanbul there were activities for children to keep them from thinking about the fact that they were fasting all day. And then once the fast was broken, everyone would flood the restaurants. Some restaurants wouldnt even be open until fast was broken at 8:20, and even then, others would seat you and feed you, but then would put out special place settings for the observers, waiting for them to come and eat. Prayers were called about 5 times a day, and even here, on the island of Bozcaada, which is decidedly more layed back than Istanbul, a rocket or firework or something very loud is set off marking the end of the fast. Around Istanbul, especially where we were, with all the mosques and stuff, women would be walking around in head scarves, and i even saw one family walking where all the women were wearing full blown burkas, complete with covering from the eyes down. A number of other women were wearing burkas minus the face covering. It was a very strange site to see.

I'm updating this blog from an internet cafe on Bozcaada (formerly Tenedos) which is playing all Pink Floydd live music. The island is lovely, but since I spend most of my day doing nothing, I've found myself getting horribly homesick towards the middle of the day. I just get so upset because I want to come home but I know that I can't for at least 4.5-5 more months which seems like a really really long time. But then I have to remind myself that loads of people study abroad for that long, and they've done fine, so I just need to man up and get over it. I think its just accentuated by the stress caused by travelling around with a huge suitcase, and full backpacking backpack, and a regular school backpack. That and my backpacking bag got all full of soap a couple of days ago because my body soap container exploded in transit from Istanbul to Bozcaada, which was horribly frustrating since not only did I lose an entire bottle of soap, but I also had to completely wash out my backpack. It made for a foul mood and wishing that I was home.

As I have no internet in my hostel for the next week or so, updates will be sporadic, as they have been, with no pictures. I apologize in advance and promise more detailed updates soonish.

10 August 2010

Now I've figured out how to work this damn contraption

Now that I think that I've been able to figure out how to post pictures onto this new fangled contraption that I've heard people calling a "blog", I figured that I would grace you all with lovely scenic views of pretty much the entire town of Mikines as seen from my back porch. It goes in a panorama from right to left starting at the top. Across the street from us is where we dropped off the kitten, just for a little bit of context
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09 August 2010

It's over...sorta

Today was the last day of work for the undergrads. I feel like sad is the wrong word to describe this feeling. While I'm a little sad because now I'm no longer going to have my little routine that I've worked out, and I'll miss Marion (hotel owner who calls me "Sunshine" every morning when I walk down for breakfast), I'm glad that I'll no longer have to spend 7 hours inside the museum. I was getting a little stir crazy. I won't have to be terrified of Deanna anymore, which is especially good after I got yelled at for possibly losing a fresco fragment last Wednesday, which I had put on her mat but forgot to move the label card over to it. I'm also glad to be out of this country. I'm tired of it and more than ready to go to Turkey and actually get into a school routine. But tomorrow, when I'm in Athens for two days before my flight I get to stay in...a Best Western. I never thought that I would be so excited to stay in a Best Western, but for some weird reason I am. I'm hoping for a) a mattress that doesn't kill my knees/back/neck/boobs and b) a shower head that's attached to the wall. I also think that I get free wireless internet, but I'm not entirely sure, so some photos may get posted here...finally.

This weekend, as part of our last weekend here, Sam and I went to Nafplio and hiked up the Palamidi to the big fortress on top of the hill/mountain thing. Views were spectacular, it was really really hot, and we ran into a family from Chicago while we were up there. Luckily, we decided to schlep up the steps before we went to the beach so that we could swim off all of the sweat that had accumulated during our few hours at the fort.

Saturday night, when we were walking home, we got followed by a kitten. Because it kept on running into the middle of the road, and I didnt want to be present if and when the kitten got hit by a car, I convinced Sam to pick it up and carry it with us until we came to a field to ditch it. Unfortunately, when we tried to ditch it in the field, it still followed us and kept tripping us up because it was getting underfoot, so we carried it all the way back to the hotel. Marion told us that we had to let it go somewhere because Kenzo, the dog, would eat it, so we tried to ditch it in front of the house across the street. It was super cute/frustrating because whenever we would put it behind the gate, it would escape and rub itself all over my feet (which were REALLY sweaty) and purr and roll around. This made ditching it even harder. Luckily, we finally managed to leave it, and Marion said that she saw the mommy cat that lived across the street holding the kitten in her mouth. I really hope she didnt eat it.

This post has been very disjointed.

03 August 2010

A note for "Ladies, out!" man

Dear "Ladies, out!" man,

Everytime you give your archaeology undergraduate lady helpers a one word command to exit the building, it makes me giggle. Especially since I can't tell if you are flamboyantly gay or just flamboyantly Greek. Sometimes I wonder if you're also flamboyantly Jewish since you periodically wear a pink shirt with Hebrew written on it. You are also so immaculately dressed, but then again, so are many other Greek men with ladies to impress.

Do you realize, "Ladies, out!" man how hilarious your command is? Do your ladies realize the hilarity of the statement as well? Sometimes you say it as if you expect only your ladies to hear it, although it is English, and your ladies are Greek, just like you. By saying "Ladies, out!" in English, are you thereby addressing it to the other ladies who are present, who speak only English (as it is usually only Sam, Lynne, and myself who are able to hear it)? These questions I ponder, "Ladies, out!" man, as I sit for hours washing animal bones and avoiding the occasional wasp that flies into the museum.

The other day I saw that the ladies did not obey your command of "out!". I felt scandalized, although it is more likely that they did not hear you speak. Most likely that they are so accustomed to you waving them out with that flamboyant hand gesture of yours that it now means nothing to them. They stay in my hostel and sometimes I am tempted to ask them about you, and if they enjoy the phrase "ladies, out!" as much as I do. But then again, I don't think they speak all that much English.

In the end, "Ladies, out!" man, I just want to tell you that sometimes I wish that you could order me out of a room with a single word and wave as if I were a part of your lady entourage. Too bad you will never read this.

(Girl washing bones)