Experiences

Full-length articles, short notes, musings about places, people, me: Life!

Travel vs. Falling in Love

25 February 2019, written during a sleepless night in Tokyo “Eureka!”, I yelled, as I scrambled out of my bath and ran down the corridor, leaving trails of wet footprints behind. “Basak-san, stop, you no can run wet in hotel! Danger! Fall, hurt!” I didn’t care. I had understood why travelling was addictive and I … Continue reading Travel vs. Falling in Love

Notes from Tokyo

I arrived in Tokyo on 23 February 2019 to work there as an interpreter for 6 days during a big conference, along with 12 other interpreters from all around the world. The plan was to work, then travel, and return home on 17 March. I was afraid I had planned everything too tight, down to … Continue reading Notes from Tokyo

A Cocoon in Kyoto

I must get a haircut, I must get my hair cut, I will get a haircut in Kyoto, as soon as I get there, I thought. I had trekked through Kumano Kodo for 6 days, and now I was on my way to Kyoto, city of well-dressed, elegant women, and I felt like an ogre. … Continue reading A Cocoon in Kyoto

Boğatepe village, Kars

Today was our third day here and yet I feel it has been a whole week – not because I am bored – HAH! Far from it. It’s because I have been learning so much, seeing so much, and most of all, I think it’s because I feel so close to the villagers that I … Continue reading Boğatepe village, Kars


Thallasic Dance

Nowhere else can I capture this harmony, this precision – My legs beat the water in perfect rhythm, my arms reach far ahead, right, left, right, left, each drawing an hourglass as it reaches back to my hips I raise my head to breathe from my left. my arms reach far ahead, right, left, right, … Continue reading Thallasic Dance

Incubi

A struggle, a fight, a voice lashing out like a whip in the night A roar of thunder, drenched in sweat A knot of blankets, cold and wet A cracked attempt at a scream through desert-dry lips …Wake up! Heliogravure by Felicien Rops “A Un Diner D’Athees”, photo taken at Museum De Reede, Antwerp

Release

On a night of open gates and nightingales, under the dimpled sky’s smile, I walked through a land where shadows are as beautiful as what they represent and allowed my mind’s shadows to drift off towards Orion

Atkı

Atkı Atkıyı takacak mı, takmayacak mı? Oturduğum lokantanın penceresinden hamburgerimi yiyerek seyreden ben ve atkısını dilenci kıza vermiş, şimdi de karşısına dikilmiş, duran iyi giyimli genç adam, ikimiz de nefesimizi tutmuş, bekliyoruz. İki caddenin arasında kalmış kaldırımdan kalın paltolu, şapkalı, eldivenli insanlar geçiyor. İnce, çiçekli entarili kız, keskin rüzgarın ve egzos dumanlarının ortasında, kaldırımın üzerine … Continue reading Atkı

Gündoğan, Bodrum: View from my bedroom

I enter my room, knowing enchantment awaits — Half the window brimming with the night sky, the other half, confetti-covered in shades of yellows and whites reflected upon a sea of shimmering lights.

Chichu Museum, Naoshima: Discovering Art

It was alien. It was eminently disturbing. It was awesome. It was a sentient being set in a throne room, more awe-inspiring than any throne room that ever existed — in fact, a temple.
It’s worse than seeing yourself in a mirror; it’s seeing yourself being watched. An ever-watchful eye. The girl stands by it all day, seeing herself be seen in this transparent granite, so alienly transparent, alienly perfect, alienly round, placed on a pedestal, impossibly placed – so high, so unbearably huge, creating such a strong urge of knocking it down its pedestal, down the steep steps – but you know you would only manage to break your foot. It wouldn’t even acknowledge your presence.

A friend in Fes

I met Nuri on the street, as I was seeking refuge in a group of women who unfortunately had no idea where the Andalusian neighborhood was. I had told them of my claustrophobic, troubling tales of insistence and distrust involving several different men who had offered to guide me there. Maybe those tales could have … Continue reading A friend in Fes

Fes: a whirl, a daze

What do I think about Fez? It’s a whirl, it’s a daze of narrow streets, a labyrinth, all ye who enter here, leave hope at the door, it’s shops, curiosity, wonder, beauty, surprises, the comfort of streets blissfully empty of shops, sudden (rare) empty spaces where children play football, walls of ocher, colored decorations, crumbling … Continue reading Fes: a whirl, a daze

Catherine

We arrived in Istanbul after more than 35 hours aboard two trains. To start with, I told my 5 tourists that I couldn’t possibly join them for dinner. The sole idea of hearing one whine about the fact that we were eating AGAIN, the other say he didn’t want “this” only to claim he DID … Continue reading Catherine

The Joy of Being

and suddenly the whole floor was shimmering with continuous movement of water, all around the central puddle. Rivulets, glistening serpents of water, gliding forth on the slightly inclined, smooth floor, converging with other rivulets, taking along indecisive droplets, rushing towards the central puddle… Then droplets, rolling along, growing fatter, unexplainably coming to a stop in front of a bigger droplet, staying there passive until joined by a tiny droplet which changes the equation, or by a gust of wind, or a small insect stopping by for a drink… It is hypnotic, all this glistening, gliding, rippling movement…

From the Floating World

I am traveling, but am I travelling through space, or through time — or have I landed on a completely different planet? It seems to be the latter. I spent my whole day somewhere totally alien.

Koyasan, convalescence

It took me around nine hours to get from Tokyo to Koyasan. After my peaceful breakfast of rice balls (onigiri) and tea, sitting on a bench under the sun by a convenience store in the ancient neighborhood of Yanesen, I went to the train station and all peace was lost along with my metro ticket (which still contained plenty of money) and on top of that, I made the mistake of taking the local train instead of the express!

Japanese toilets

26 February 2019 We are, of course, all fascinated by Japanese toilets! The one at our 5-star hotel is exceptionally welcoming, lifting its lid and lighting up. “Down boy, down! Good boy.” It cleans and dries your nether parts and, most importantly, it protects you from feeling ashamed of peeing loudly, thanks to the loudspeakers … Continue reading Japanese toilets

Impressions from Peru & Similarities between Turkey and Peru

Many cities have kept the medieval tradition of single-ware streets. In Arequipa, for example, the quantity of shops selling eyeglasses is mind-boggling. Never have you seen meter after meter of eye wear shops one after the other, street after street. There aren’t enough Arequipans to buy so many eye/sunglasses/lenses. And most Arequipans I see seem … Continue reading Impressions from Peru & Similarities between Turkey and Peru

Me, Jane.

Yes, I was Jane of the Jungle of Manú National Park, a protected rain forest, for 4 days and 3 nights. You can’t enter Manú without a guide, so yet again I had to join an organized tour. We were a group of 13 people, instead of the 5 promised by the agency. The guide was … Continue reading Me, Jane.

Notes from Miraflores

 My landlady, Alejandra, wanted us to visit Miraflores together today at 12 so I went out for a short walk in the morning. And, to my great and happy astonishment, the apartment is literally two minutes away from the seaside! So tomorrow I will have breakfast here: Then I walked to the other side of … Continue reading Notes from Miraflores

Bye, sweet Arequipatita

Good-bye, Arequipa. Thank you for being so beautiful on our last night together. Your Plaza de Armas was spectacularly back-lit by the setting sun, the sky was colored layer upon layer of blues and dusky pinks. The palm trees stood out like lace against the sky, the white cathedral and other buildings were lit with … Continue reading Bye, sweet Arequipatita

Back to school, Lima

I love my school. Nos encanta nuestra escuela 🙂 For five days, I got up with enthusiasm every morning at 6.30 to go to Peruwayna Spanish School. It took me 20 minutes to walk there. I chose to walk by the seaside instead of through Parque Kennedy, which I also really liked, because I had … Continue reading Back to school, Lima

A happy dog in Lima

I was walking to my language school one morning in Lima when I thought about the fact that I don’t as yet know the past or future tenses in Spanish. I know only the present. And I am here, on an unknown hemisphere, in South America, in a brand new city, and I am so … Continue reading A happy dog in Lima

Dead tired but alive and happy

Yes, that will have to do for now… I was a diligent, concentrated schoolgirl during my 4-hour Spanish lesson this morning (great teacher, nice students, 5 people in my class, around 20 students in total, really cool school with nice activities), then had a long and pleasant lunch with a Peruvian translator colleague from TTNS … Continue reading Dead tired but alive and happy

Things that happen easily

In my experience, each door has its own stubborn, capricious character, and you have to cajole and coax each and every one. These Peruvian doors are sweet and generous and understanding. They are self-confident and don’t feel the need to humiliate or frustrate you to feel their own self-importance. Each encounter with them is a little miracle; a reminder of how easy life could be if only we were more self-assured.

Here I am, in Lima!

It took ages for all of the travelers to get their suitcases last night. We all laughed together as we worried. I have the feeling that Peruvians are very open and communicative! “Muy inquietante!” I said to the woman next to me, after we’d been waiting in vain for half an hour. She laughed and … Continue reading Here I am, in Lima!

D-12: Pre-departitia

12 days to go before I land in Lima. I may go crazy first. When did I start to plan this trip? Since when has this torture been going on? I wanted to be all happy-go-lucky, no plans, not even a return date, nor even an idea of WHERE I would return FROM. It seemed like such … Continue reading D-12: Pre-departitia

Lima sends me off in style

Yes, Lima sent me off in style. She took me to Museo Larco, far, far away from my neighborhood. The museum is in a beautiful old mansion with an big , enchanting garden. The pathway and garden walls are covered with red bougainvillea, there are ginormous cacti, palm trees, ferns; it’s a fairy tale garden, … Continue reading Lima sends me off in style

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