It’s been a long time since my last posting. I was so frustrated by my inability to upload photos. However, now I think I have it figured out.
Want to let you all know succintly what’s been happening.
Been out of the U.S. for 2 months now, primarily in Turkey (1 month +), Syria & Lebanon. Now I’m back in Istanbul since yesterday, preparing for a major shift: I’ll go to Oman for about a week (it’s the other side of the Middle East). Going there because it’s a different Arab/Middle Eastern culture and wanted to sample it. I’m planning to spend one day in Dubai, and then it’s off to: Africa on Nov. 18.
After visiting Lebanon, I returned to Syria, and enjoyed Latakia & Aleppo very much.
Heading back to Istanbul because I’m locked into a flight, so spent one night in the highly recommended ostensibly spiritual and pretty city of Sanliurfa.
It had impressive high rise architecture, and the lowest humidity (24%) of anywhere I’ve been – even lower than the Syrian desest.
Sanliurfa high rise
view from Sanliurfa Citadel
- Stayed with a Servas family in Adana
- flying NW toward Istanbul
After one night in Sanliurfa, and becoming excessively irritated with all the children constantly verbally assaulting me with “hello,hello,” I was off to Adana (also Turkey).
I had made a plane reservation out of Adana to return me to Istanbul, rather than spend 14 hours on a bus – cost almost the same. Problem was: could find no budget lodging in Adana, and didn’t want to spend $60 to stay in an unappealing city.
After so much effort to find a place, I finally did my first Servas call, and the woman (Bettine) answered her phone and graciously offered to have me stay at her home and she would pick me up at the Otogar.
5 long hours on a stuffy bus, and there I was in Adana. Much drama trying to call Bettine, but again a helpful person aided me, and eventually I did get picked up by Bettine, her husband, and their 15 month old son Mustafa (sp?). They took me out to dinner (definitely not a Servas expectation) and set me up in very comfortable digs. Bettine & I had some excellent talking time, despite Mustafa’s adorable efforts to distract us.
On the roof at Top Deck Hostel, Sultanhamet, Istanbul
Next day I had 6 forms of transportation in 6 hours: taxi, airplane, bus, ferry, tram, walking. Left Bettine’s house at 8 a.m. and arrived at my hostel in Sultanhamet (Istanbul) at 2 p.m. (stopped for one of those famous fish sandwiches at the wharf – didn’t like it).
Two days now of prep for my departure. I think I’ll have two airports to sleep in tomorrow night: Doha (Qatar) & Dubai, before catching a bus to Muscat, Oman. I’m a bit nervous – a lot of unknowns. No guide book – couldn’t find one in Istanbul. Did download a chapter from Lonely Planet, but not quite the same thing.
Wish me luck.