Tuesday, 27 September 2016

So the new kitchen is finally ordered.

Fitting starts next week.

It's been harder work than it should be, but we seem to have finally got there. I wonder how long it will take to get used to everything being different after 26 years more-or-less like this?

Friday, 23 September 2016

It's 12.50am and I have a cold & can't sleep


Went to bed, laid for an hour, got back up & finalised identifying kitchen appliances (yup, that's a fridge) for the refitted kitchen. Doing the redesign has been frustrating, with drawers only available in the width of units that we don't want or at different heights across different width units and too many faffy, fiddly factors.

We have a design that we can both agree on. Done. Probably.

Media is a funny thing.

2 angles.

One is that culture and interaction are being shaped by media consumption, to the point where as a non-TV watcher I am finding myself decreasingly able to connect with media presentations. Part of that is the generation Y concern for fluffy bunnies, inclusivity and the environment, but a much larger part is the manner of presentation. It feels all tense, urgent and yet the words and emotions used convey little of the meaning to me. It's a lot like sitting in a technical business meeting discussing quality standards for an area of business for which I have no knowledge or interest.

This was prompted by watching a bit of the latest version of Alpha videos last night. It just doesn't connect. But more than that, I'm finding the people that DO connect with that kind of thing being less and less able to communicate effectively to me.

Maybe the answer is to get a TV.

Angle 2.

It feels like media is everywhere to be consumed.

That's not news at all, but what is different and increasingly so is the availability of copyright content EVERYWHERE to the point of blurring ownership to consumers.

I can watch videos on Amazon prime, streaming in DVD quality, and very nice it is too.

I watched 3 videos during our 10 hours of flying to Turkey and back.

I recently downloaded some TV programs from veoh that were unavailable from Youtube, and have found various sites that work as a streaming portal for almost every recent film one could wish for, and with no suggestion that one is breaking the law in the way that torrent users used to.

Apart from causing distress in the movie industry, it's going to be increasingly difficult for people to have a sense of copyright over digital content, if everywhere you go content is freely available whether a fee has been paid or not. I'm in several minds about the rightness or otherwise of all this because the rules governing this kind of content are relative and set by society, rather than clear and absolute, and the ground in this area is shifting. Curiously the BBC has changed the rules this month regarding streaming TV programs, and a license is now required to watch programs retrospectively. I wonder if this will help them or if the horse has not only bolted, but been caught, bought, sold & turned into glue. Never mind any stable doors.

Monday, 19 September 2016

It sometimes surprises me how stressful travel, particularly air travel, can be.

It also amazes me that I voluntarily put both myself and my wife through the stress of doing it in the name of relaxation and fun – that I don’t learn from my previous behaviour – calling it a mistake is incorrect, both because it’s deliberate and has also sometimes resulted in highly beneficial moments.

Of course, it’s not always so bad.

Travel in countries where the language is somewhat familiar, at least sufficient to take a stab at, hasn’t always been difficult. Flying back from Frankfurt at Christmas last year was fine. Likewise Seville the previous summer and various other holidays & trips. Geneva was slightly hard going, simply because the budget-tourist part of the airport is thoroughly unpleasant, so even though all travel arrangements were looked after by the Crystal Ski people, it was still a crappy experience beyond their control.

This year has been one of our steepest challenges yet.

We did pick up a few works of Turkish, a very few, so when the online check-in website was in Turkish only I could recognise the words for hello, Exit and please. After that we fell into the loving embrace of Google translate (did an amazingly good job) and I literally sweated my way through putting in the various details for us to check in and download boarding passes (however Turkish Airlines always print boarding passes anyway when we bag-dropped) to put on phone and tablet.

A week or so before we flew I got a notification from Tripcase (travel management app) that our flight times had changed, but the change seemed minor and I didn’t worry any further. This did, however, cause enormous anxiety when my head still remembered the original times for both journey legs, despite reading the new times repeatedly, and I had waking nightmares about missing our connection in Istanbul.

It’s going to be fine.

I’m writing this sat in the domestic departure hall of Bodrum airport with almost an hour before we board the first flight to Istanbul. Of course it will all be fine, but I won’t be able to post this until we’re back home, so will also be able to confirm the flight was, in fact, fine.

I wrote that Saturday morning – we made it back fine, with the greatest stress occurring at Heathrow airport . Now I’m ‘looking forward’ to my first day back at work, travelling to Bristol & trying to sort the kitchen refit out.

Friday, 16 September 2016

So the final day has arrived

And it's with a mix of regret: not having done many of the things I'd wanted to, and relief that we'll be heading back to our own home, own bed, own food etc.

I was going to say that this holiday has been conspicuous by the lack of forming friendships, but last year in Spain we didn't do so either except when re-connecting with our dear friends in Badajoz. Each time this trip we had just a couple of occasions to get to know people, like Juliette and Sanjiv at Ortakent or a couple of couples on the 2 day trip we've just completed to Ephesus & Pamukkale, and then we've gone separate ways. Interesting for me how one gets drawn to people, so with Juliette and Sanjiv, it turned out that they were Christians and there was an almost instant and natural connection, yet we didn't discover this until we said goodbye at the last minute.

Unlike many previous trips, I've not tried to blog this one through the time here, mostly because our room wasn't conducive to sitting down & writing and the wifi is a bit of a faff. We're actually sat out on our (tiny) balcony this morning because Chris had a tummy ache and we're just waiting in the cool for everything to be fine again. We'll probably head off to Golturkbuku in a while for a swim and lunch, before dinner tonight with Ben and some goodbyes.

Packing shouldn't be difficult - throw everything into the suitcases, carefully segregating clean & dirty (I have 2 un-worn tee shirts, a couple of pairs of pants (both European and American meaning) and lots of pairs of socks. Generally it's been too hot for socks, and I've been wearing an ancient pair of M&S leather deck shoes most of the time: loose enough to let air circulate, strong enough to walk around. Chris intentionally brought more than she could possibly wear in order to have options, so my few clean items will travel with her wardrobe.

Anyone interested in Ephesus?

Apparently there have been quite a few by roughly that name, but the Greco-Roman city is the one we all think of. It covers a very large area, and there's lots of ruins, but not too much in the way of really interesting buildings, and in all honesty, I'd call it disappointing after some of the places we've seen. The library of Celsus has spectacular frontage, the amphitheatre is colossal (seated 25,000) and the 'terraced houses' that are now under cover (extra fee to view) are probably the high point. There's some other interesting bits that haven't stuck in the mind especially, but those were the highlights. I keep comparing it with other places we've seen on this and other trips, and apart from sheer size, it isn't really that special *compared with* Pompeii, Herculaneum and Philippi. We've visited a couple of sites on our own this trip: Euromos and Iassos, that were smaller, but not much less interesting. On the second day of our 2 day trip, visiting Pamukkale and Heirapolis, the amphitheatre in Heirapolis was in much better condition (after re-assembly). 

Generally archaeological sites in Turkey have been scruffier and with poor signage compared to other parts we've seen. TBH there's ruins everywhere, but they seem to consist of piles of shaped stones, tumbled and fallen, with little sense of what they once were. The region has suffered a lot of serious earthquakes, so perhaps that's entirely reasonable, but for a tourist it's less exciting. If you want exciting ruins then go to Italy or Greece (and most of the good stuff here has Greek origins, built on by the Romans anyway).

Chris is feeling better, so I think we're going to leave shortly. Later I'll do online-checkin & hopefully book some decent seats on the flights home.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The best laid mice of plans and men

Wonder if blogger for Android will work this time?

So we were ready for a nice early start, everything packed, only to find the carpark completely rammed and no way to get our car our. :-p

As with everything, the Turks have a very practical approach to motoring, but just like the car we saw on the main Bodrum highway, on its roof, it doesn't always work for everyone concerned.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Just occasionally things come together to make sense.

It might be theology, relationships or all sorts of stuff. Tonight it was Turkish starters (meze) where instead of everything being a bit too sharp or oily or over-cooked & mushy, instead it tasted just right.

We ate in a tiny place called Sheaniah's in Golturkbuku just round the coast from Torba, having already been there for lunch earlier in the week with Ben. According to the blurb on Google Turkbuku is normally crowded with film stars and athletes, and someone was trying to impress Chris (Christina) with having worked with Anthony Hopkins, failing sadly because she'd not heard of him. :-)

They were very friendly, even giving us turkish delight and cologne as part of their Bayram celebration for Eid, inviting us to see the house etc, though sadly we're unlikely to ever go back.

Friday, 9 September 2016

I've just seen a man wearing rocket boots

was the title of the last blogpost I wrote.

That post is presently 'publishing' from my phone, as it has been for the last 5 days, and written because we had actually seen someone wearing rocket powered boots, hovering over the Agean sea. It made other witty comments about activities going on that I've mostly forgotten now.

So we've been here for almost a week in the most westernised bit of Asia - Turkey is like India without the incredible grinding poverty, polytheism, respect for British things and iffy food. Considering how the nations of Greece and Turkey have their history and genetics woven so closely together, it's amazing that they should be so different. But even though the countryside is so very similar, Turkey *feels* quite different in a way that's hard to pin down. A few times, driving around, it's felt as though the scene unfolding in front of us had come from India and might have been something we'd see if we were travelling there.

Or it could be an over-active imagination.

We've travelled a bit now, with more journeys due soon to archaeological sites. Turkey certainly has a lot of ruins, though little of what we've seen so far has been handled sympathetically with the exception of the materials recovered from shipwrecks and displayed in Bodrum castle. Many of the sites have been plundered, sometimes for building materials in the case of the Halikarnassos Mausoleum, often for objects of antiquity to ship back to museums in Britain and other nations. So the Mausoleum is basically a hole in the ground with a small number of decorative artifacts strewn about, the remains of the great frieze presently being in the British Museum. The temple of Apollo at Didyma was much better, but there was much still missing. We will shortly try some of the less well known sites around Milus, Praen and Euromos.

It's been good to spend time with Ben, especially since he's taken the week off to be with us. His local knowledge has led us to a restaurant where one barbecues the food at the table, and another tonight at a place tucked away for locals, serving delicious grilled meats. Food at our hotel (we're half-board) has been patchy, with mediocre stuff some nights, nice stuff others, and eating out has given us a much more favourable view of Turkish cooking than otherwise. I am, however, slightly dodgy in the tummy, and wondering why.

Now - bedtime.