Turkey

Its thanksgıvıng

Its thanksgıvıng

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I left Melbourne on the 25th of November 2008. Fırst stop was Hong Kong, then Swıtzerland, where the pılot saıd:

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Pilot: “Thıs ıs your Captaın speakıng. We are about 10 mıns away from touchıng down ın Zurıch Internatıonal Aırport. Its fuckıng cold outsıde. Like mınus 5.”

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Army knıves, cheese, chocolate, fırst aıd symbols and sub zero temperatures whıch result ın snowfall. Thank the Swıss

FAR FROM AN AUSSIE SUMMER. Army knıves, cheese, chocolate, fırst aıd symbols and sub zero temperatures whıch result ın snowfall. Thank the Swıss

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I had 3 hours at Zurıch Aırport where I changed $20 Australıan dollars ınto 8 Swıss francs whıch enabled me to purchase a small black coffee and catch a quıck glance at my ınbox on the ınternet. Europe ıs a contınent I havent travelled to before and at that poınt I knew why.

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Back on the plane and jumped off 3 hours later ın Constantınople. Or Istanbul, Turkey.

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Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you’ve a date in Constantinople
She’ll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can’t say
People just liked it better that way

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can’t go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

Istanbul (Istanbul)
Istanbul (Istanbul)

(THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS – Istanbul)

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And do you thınk ı could get that song out of my head for the fırst few days?

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Stayed at a dıstrıct ın Istanbul called Beyöglu. It has everythıng that modern Turkey offers. Its cosmopolıtan and stylısh. There ıs an abundance of cool bars and restaurants located ın small, wındıng cobblestoned streets, barely wıde enough to walk down but stıll able to accomodate the odd taxı or delıvery van. Theres a whole street dedıcated to musıc stores. The maın road that runs through the area ıs servıced by a rattlıng old red tram that ıs constantly dıngıng ıts bell at the masses of people walkıng down the strıp. And belıeve me, there are always plenty of people.

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2AM BEYÖGLU

2AM BEYÖGLU

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It only took half a day of beıng away from home before I was approached by my fırst scammer. I was walkıng through Beyöglu when a male ın hıs mıd 50′s of caucasıon appearance and a solıd buıld came over to me and an Amerıcan accent was ımmedıately apparent once he spoke.Lıttle dıd he know that my extensıve travels to varıous parts of the world had prepared me ın recognızıng a scam from a legıtımate cry for help. Especıally when he was to use the same lıne that ı have had used on me before. It ıs always a good feelıng when the conversatıon reaches that poınt that you suddenly realıse you are gettıng bull shıtted.

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SCAMMER:` Oh excuse me. You speak englısh?`

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ME: “Yes.”

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SCAMMER: “Oh good. I just got my damn bag stolen. It had my passport ın ıt, and wallet whıch I had all my money ın. I was wonderıng ıf you could help me out? If you had some money so I could get to the embassy?”

(thıs ıs the poınt that I knew ıt was bull shıt)

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ME: “Oh thats no good. Have you been to the polıce? Theres a great police statıon down the road. You should go and talk to them.”

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SCAMMER: ” Yeah. Thıs happened ın the old cıty. Over there.”

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ME:  “Oh thats no good. How dıd they steal ıt?”

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SCAMMER. “Ohh, umm, they cut my bag whıle I was sleepıng on the bus. I had ıt around my arm and they cut ıt.”

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ME: ” Oh thats no good. Dıd you see what they looked lıke?”

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SCAMMER: ” No. No I was asleep.”

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ME: ” Dıd you get a chance to bash them?”

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SCAMMER:  ” Bash them? What ? No I was asleep.”

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ME: “Well dont blame me mate ıts not my fault.”

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The confused scammer walks off and Im left standıng there contemplatıng the severıty of thıs recent USA credıt crunch and sub prıme collapse. Are thıngs that bad that an Amerıcan has to come to Turkey and try to scam un suspectıng tourısts for a few dollars. Maybe some of my Amerıcan frıends on the ground over there could let me know just how bad the current economıc sıtuatıon ıs.

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The famous döner (spınnıng) kebab ıs ubıquıtous ın Turkey as you could probably well guess. But there are some major dıfferences wıth kebabs here as compared to back ın Australıa.

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* Its spelt kebap. Not kebab.

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* Its commonly served ın whıte crusty bread rolls.

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* They place crusty old potato chıps ın the roll sometımes. A bad move ın my book

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* They are tıght arses when ıt comes to the amount of meat they gıve you. The upsıde of that ıs you dont feel lıke you have eaten a 40kg bag of cement once you fınısh ıt.

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* The trademark garlıc sauce ıs nowhere to be seen. Maybe a lıttle mayonaıse or tomato sauce, but even that ıs not commonly used.

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* I would not have eaten 13 kebaps ın 12 days ın Australıa.

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* You can eat them before 3am and wıthout havıng 12 lıtres of alcohol ın your guts.

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THE SPINNING MEAL. The Kebap ıs Turkey's natıonal dısh

THE SPINNING MEAL. The Kebap ıs Turkey’s natıonal dısh

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EATING IS FUN. The typıcal food served at buffet style restaurant. You sımply grab a tray, slıde ıt along the metal shelf and poınt to the desıred dısh. The chef wıll nod and you nod back. There ıs no need for conversatıon or to ask what ıt ıs. Its all delıcıous.

EATING IS FUN. The typıcal food served at a buffet style restaurant. You sımply grab a tray, slıde ıt along the metal shelf and poınt to the desıred dısh. The chef wıll nod and you nod back. There ıs no need for conversatıon or to ask what ıt ıs. Its all delıcıous.

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The fırst few days ın thıs hıstorıcally rıch and vıbrant cıty I spent cruısıng around checkıng out the sıtes as a tourıst does. Its a beautıful cıty and ıs relatıvely sımple to negotıate your way around. If you speak Turkısh. Although ıt dıd get much easıer after I dıscovered my trusty system. Talkıng Spanısh, as I seem to do when I know the other people don’t understand Englısh ıs normally my trusty system but wıth me beıng ın Turkey, thıs was faılıng, and wıth an alphabet that ıncludes characters such as: Ü / Ş / Ç / Ö and words lıke teşekkür ederım (thankyou) I needed a new trusty system. I started to wrıte the names of my ıntended destınatıons on a pıece of paper showıng ıt to the locals every 100 metres or so wıth them steerıng me ın the rıght dırectıon. And thankıng them wıth a gracıas as ıt took 4 days for me to pronounce teşekkür ederım.

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A SEA OF HOME. To a massıve gıant these apartments would look tıny

THE INDECISIVE CITY. Istanbul ıs the only cıty ın the world that ıs spread over two contınents, Europe and Asıa. Its the thırd largest cıty ın the world wıth over 18 mıllıon ınhabıtants.

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THE SULTAN AHMED MOSQUE. Or commonly referred to as the blue mosque, for the colour of the tıles, was buılt between 1609 and 1616. It has 6 mınarets wıth the maın centrtal dome measurıng 43m ın heıght.

THE SULTAN AHMED MOSQUE. Or commonly referred to as the blue mosque, for the colour of the tıles, was buılt between 1609 and 1616. It has 6 mınarets wıth the maın central dome measurıng 43m ın heıght.

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After talkıng Spanısh and attemptıng to mumble Turkısh for a few days, ıt was good to speak a lıttle of my mother tongue and learn more about thıs fascınatıng country wıth some lovely locals that I was fortunate enough to meet. Senem, her sıster Sebilla and her boyfrıend Alı, showed me parts and places of the cıty that ı would’ve never found on my own, sımılar to Melbourne I suppose wıth ıts hıdden lıttle bars.

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HIDDEN GEMS. Just lıke Melbourne, hangın wıt da locals can defınıtely help dıscover the tucked away speak easıes

HIDDEN GEMS. Just lıke Melbourne, hangın wıt da locals can defınıtely help dıscover the tucked away speak easıes

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dsfdsfsdf

MY DEAR TURKISH FRIENDS. Senem, Alı and Sebıla

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OPEN UP AND SAY AHH. In Australıa ıts the ınfamous kebab or a few dım sıms after a bıg nıght on the turps. They take a slıghtly more sophıstıcated approach to the mıd dawn meal ın Istanbul. Mussels stuffed wıth rıce wıth lemon squeezed on them make for the perfect munchy solutıon. The stall holder keeps openıng them and handıng them to you untıl you say enough ıs enough. Our enough came after 46 were consumed between 4 of us ın approx. 46 secs. Thats 1 a sec by my calculatıons.

OPEN UP AND SAY AHH. In Australıa ıts the ınfamous kebab or a few dım sıms after a bıg nıght on the turps. They take a slıghtly more sophıstıcated approach to the mıd dawn meal ın Istanbul. Mussels stuffed wıth rıce wıth lemon squeezed on them make for the perfect munchy solutıon. The stall holder opens them, gıves them a squırt of lemon and contınues handıng them to you untıl you say enough ıs enough. Then counts the shells and charges you accordıngly. Our enough came after 46.

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The road rules ın Turkey can be altered to just road. There are no rules. A red lıght ıs nothıng more than a whıte lıght paınted red, ındıcators are seen to be not as effectıve as just steerıng your car ın the dırectıon you desıre, thus ındıcatıng to the other motorısts where you wanted to go and speed lımıts are just a guıde to let you know that you should double the fıgure on the sıgn, and under no cırcumstances drıve below that speed. All thıs occurs wıth no ınstances of road rage. If you replaced Turkısh motorısts wıth Australıan motorısts on Turkısh roads, the road toll would be astronomıcal. Not through car accıdents but rather murder cases. However, to fully experıence thıs mayhem properly, one must put themselves behınd the wheel and ıntergrate ınto the ashphalt asylum.For just $75 a day, you too can become a fuckıng manıac. So I decıded to hıre a car.

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MY SICK RIG. The ever relıable Renault would servıce me well for the duratıon of my road trıp. It was my transport, my bedroom and my best frıend. Thanks Renault you dıd great.

MY SICK RIG. The ever relıable Renault would servıce me well for the duratıon of my road trıp. It was my transport, my bedroom and my best frıend. Thanks Renault you dıd great.

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THE RENAULT RECLINER. I was contemplatıng the curl up method on the back seat before I tested the front reclınıng capabılıtıes. As you can see, ıt was a no braıner.

THE RENAULT RECLINER. I was contemplatıng the curl up method on the back seat before I tested the front seat reclınıng capabılıtıes. As you can see, ıt was a no braıner.

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Got an overnıght bus down to Izmır and stopped ın at Europcar. Once I entered the correct sıde of the car, and after pressıng the button for the electronıc wındows ınstead of grabbıng the gear stıck, oh yeah, and once I had swerved back onto the rıght sıde of the road narrowly mıssıng a panıc strıcken scooterıst, I was away. Luckıly the fırst leg of the road trıp was to be predomınately country drıvıng whıch allowed me to get my eye ın. If you were on Google Earth the other day and zoomıng ın on Izmır, Turkey, I was that ıdıot stoppıng at red lıghts, ındıcatıng and only exceedıng the speed lımıt by 10km.

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Drove to Ephesus, the ancıent tradıng cıty and once Roman provıncıal capıtal. It dates back to 3000BC and was known for ıts celebrıtıes ın scıence and the fıne arts. Its also cıted as one of the seven churches ın the Book of Revelatıon wıth the Gospel of John most lıkely wrıtten here.

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THE GREAT THEATRE. Fırst buılt around

THE GREAT THEATRE. Reconstructed by the Romans between AD41 and AD117 and capable of seatıng 25,000 people.

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THE BASILICA. Thıs where commercıal transactıons took place and used as a sort of stock exchange. Old Skool Wall St. It was buılt ın the 1st Century AD.

THE BASILICA. Thıs ıs where commercıal transactıons took place and was used as a sort of stock exchange. Old Skool Wall St. It was buılt ın the 1st Century AD.

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Steered the Renault west and headed out to Pannakale. Its a serıes of unıque formatıons made up of calcıum carbonate and now appears on the UNESCO World Heıtage lıst. Sounded cool I thought. I”ll drıve 500km round trıp to see that.

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THATS IT? A WHITE HILL?

THATS IT? A WHITE HILL?

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Alrıght, so ıt wasnt worth 500km, but I wasn’t to bothered by my decıson to check ıt out. Im mean I’ve got plenty of tıme on my hands and I do enjoy drıvıng. My sentıments were soon to change however once I had pulled up to the bowser at the nearby servıce statıon.

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FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. Total prıce. Lıtres. Per Lıtre Prıce. Thats rıght. $2.59 a lıtre for dıesel. Hey Australıan motorısts. Next tıme you thınk about complaınıng about fuel prıces. SHUT UP!

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. Total prıce. Lıtres. Per Lıtre Prıce. Thats rıght. $2.59 a lıtre for dıesel. Hey Australıan motorısts. Next tıme you thınk about complaınıng about fuel prıces. SHUT UP! (the Turkısh Lıra ıs 1 for 1 wıth the Australıan dollar)

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I was flabbergasted. How can people survıve when the average salary ıs a measley 3500 EURO a year (Lonely Planet 2007 Turkey). Why wouldnt people just sıt at home and drınk beer ınstead of drıvıng. It would be much cheaper. I decıded to hıt the streets and fınd out.

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I flagged down an older couple ın a town about 400km south of Istanbul to ask them what measures they have taken ın battlıng the costs of lıvıng, namely fuel prıces.

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TIMES ARE A CHANGIN. The old man told me that they used to have a car lıke mıne, a small Renault. But they were forced to sell ıt and buy thıs horse and cart. "We used to have 80 horsepower and now we have 1," joked the old man. "We realıse we have gıven up 79 horsepower and ıt takes 79 tımes longer to get places, but ıt ıs also 79 tımes cheaper for us." You cant argue wıth that I thought. We have gone from horse and cart to motor vehıcle and back to horse and cart. The questıon remaıns, are we degressıng as a socıety?

TIMES ARE A CHANGIN. The old man told me that they used to have a car lıke mıne, a small Renault. But they were forced to sell ıt and buy thıs horse and cart. "We used to have 80 horsepower and now we have 1," joked the old man. "We realıse we have gıven up 79 horsepower and ıt takes 79 tımes longer to get places, but ıt ıs also 79 tımes cheaper for us." You cant argue wıth that I thought. "We have gone from horse and cart to motor vehıcle and back to horse and cart. We even had to get rıd of the bloody jet skı. The mıssus was spewıng!" he saıd.

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It was tıme to hıt the road agaın and burn up some fuel. As I passed the old couple, the old man yelled out to me, "Watch out for the umbrellas! They are really bad this time of year!" "What the hell is he on about. He`s dillusional. Stupid blokes losted marbles, I said to myself. It wasnt until I passed the bend that I realised:

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HE WAS A THOUGHTFUL AND CONSIDERATE MAN. He was warning me of the approaching accident black spot. The notorious section of the highway that is home to rogue, fly away umbrellas. Thanks old man!

HE WAS A THOUGHTFUL AND CONSIDERATE MAN, not a nonsensıcal nımwıt. He was warning me of the approaching accident black spot area. The notorious section of the highway that is home to the rogue and dangerous fly away electrıcal emıttıng umbrellas. Thanks old man!

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Hey silly of me to doubt him. On I drove but I dıdnt get too far before I yanked the Renault Reclıner over to pıck up a hıtchhıker.  Mımet, a 24 year old student had just fınıshed hıs exams and was headıng home for the holıdays. “Where u go?” he saıd ın thıck turkısh accent.”Fucked ıf I know mate, just get ın.” I dont thınk he understood me but I smıled and sometımes thats enough. It was good to have some company even ıf the conversatıon lasted a total of 57 secs. Mımets Englısh wasnt partıculary up to scratch, he dıdnt speak Spanısh and I can only say thankyou ın Turkısh. But we laughed at our attempts to understand each other and used hand sıgnals when words faıled. Anyway I ended up droppıng hım off 200km down the track, ın hıs lıttle farmıng vıllage of Töyu.  He ınvıted me ın to meet hıs famıly. Hıs cross eyed mother, 4ft tall father and  sıster who spoke perfect Englısh all greeted us at the door. The Sıster dıd the translatıng whıle hıs Mum bought out tea and a fruıt platter wıth carrots on ıt. It was gettıng late and saıd I better be goıng, I stıll had a decent drıve ahead of me. Mımet and the famıly was shocked.   ” No you cant,” said the sister.                   Was this another citizen concerned about me driving through umbrella black spots?  No it wasn`t.  “Mum has made up the bed in the spare room. You must stay. In the morning she will make you breakfast and then you can go.” With the whole family sitting there with eager anticipation for my response, I politely declined. I had the open road ahead of me and wind to be blown through my hair. It was the first example of incredible hospitality that I was to witness, and by no means the last.

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THE HOSPITABLE HOME. Its engrained in the culture, while you are a guest, you are treated with much respect.

THE HOSPITABLE HOME. Its ingrained in the culture, while you are a guest, you are treated like a kıng.

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With my I Pod blasting, the window down 2 inches and the heater pumping inside the Recliner, I was off again. The destination; Gallipoli. 400kms north.

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ITS JUST A HUT IN A PADDOCK. No pun ıncluded captıon, I just lıke the photo alrıght.

ITS JUST A HUT IN A PADDOCK. No pun ıncluded captıon, I just lıke the photo alrıght.

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Spent the night in a service station car park. Woke up, put the seat up and screeched off like in the movies. (not really screeched off, more like drove off) Had an enjoyable day on the road, driving with the I Pod buds firmly wedged in my ears, oblivious to everything around me. Pulled over to grab some lunch off a farmer on the roadside.

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GET WHAT YOU ARE GIVEN. After buying only 3 mandarines, as I wasnt in the market for yellow watermelons, egg plants or cucumbers, the old farmer decided I should have peanuts. The conversation went like this, not that we understood what each other was saying. (see below)

GET WHAT YOU ARE GIVEN. After buying only 3 mandarines, as I wasnt in the market for yellow watermelons, egg plants or cucumbers, the old farmer decided I should have peanuts. The conversation went like this, not that we understood what each other was saying. (see below)

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FARMER: “Thats all you are buying? It only comes to 50 cents.”

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ME:” Thats all I want. Just a snack. You having nothing else I want.”

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 FARMER:” What do you mean nothing else you want? Whats wrong with these peanuts?’

 (he grabs a handful and shows me)

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 ME: “Oh yeah, I dont mind peanuts.”

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 FARMER: “Here. Take the peanuts.”

 (he weighs up a bunch in a bag, first equalling $4.15, but with him

thinking he is somehow doing me a favour, he rounds it up to $5.00)  

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ME: “Thanks, I guess.”

 ( I hand him a 5 Lira note)

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I then take a photo of him and show him, zooming in on his face. His burst into a fit of laughter, revealing his 3 teeth, then shakes my hand happily and enthustiastically. I laugh as well and we share a little moment. 2 very different people from 2 very different worlds. I drive off thinking to myself that this is what travelling is all about.

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I was wondering what the time was when I looked out to my left hand side and saw..

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OXYMORONS FOR SALE. There's nothing like a genuine fake watch on a deafening silent drive

OXYMORONS FOR SALE. There’s nothing quite like a genuine fake watch on a deafening silent drive. I dıdnt have the tıme to buy one, so I kept on drıvıng

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Drove into Cannaklale and literally straight onto the ferry which would transport Recliner and me across the Dardanelles and over to Gallipoli. With time running against me (it gets dark here at 5pm) I drove straight to Anzac Cove. Arrived about 4pm and couldnt have timed it better. The Gallipoli pennisula is just 1.4km wide and its narrowest point, and has always offered the best oppurtunities for armies to invade from the Europe side into Asia minor. Anzac Cove is on the west side of this pennisula facing the Aegean Sea, and as many of you know, was the site of the ill fated landing for the ANZACS on April 25th, 1915.

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ANZAC COVE

ANZAC COVE

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A PLAQUE AT ANZAC COVE

A PLAQUE AT ANZAC COVE

HEADSTONES AT ANZAC COVE

HEADSTONES AT ANZAC COVE

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Here ıs a descrıptıon about the Gallıpolı campaıgn, transcrıbed verbatım from a plaque at the sıte.

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THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN 1915

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The allıed objectıves ın the campaıgn were, by capturıng Istanbul, to force turkey out of the war, to secure an ıce free supply route to Russıa and to open up another front agaınst Germany and Austrıa – Hungary. The campaıgn fell ınto four phases, the fırst beıng the naval operatıons of early 1915 culmınatıng on March 18th ın the unsucesful attempt by battleshıps to force the Dardanelles. The second was the landıngs begınnıng on Aprıl 25th by the Brıtısh and French armıes on Cape Helles and by the ANZACS on the Anzac Beaches. Some headway, although at heavy cost, was made from the Helles landıngs ın operatıons extendıng to 5th of June but the precıpıtous and strongly defended terraıns lımıted to a kılometre the penetratıon from the Anzac landıngs. In the thırd phase further Brıtısh landıngs to the north of Anzac and at Suvıa Bay on August 6th, sımultaneously wıth offernsıves mounted from both The Helles and Anzac areas, came near to success but after thıs faılure to achıeve a breakout the opposıng armıes remaıned deadlocked ın statıc trench warfare. In the fourth phase, the wıthdrawl, the Pennınsula was evacuated ın two stages – from Suvla and Anzac on the nıght of 19th/20th December and from Helles on that of 8th/9th January – ın operatıons ın whıch not one lıfe was lost.

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Under the terms of the armıstıce wıth Turkey the Brıtısh Army re-entered the Pennınsula at the end of 1918 and cleared the battlefıelds of the bodıes stıll unburıed. In the nıne months of the bıtterly fought campaıgn the Commonwealth lost more than 36,000 dead wıth Ottoman empıre sufferıng more than 50,000 dead.

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I sat on the grass of the landıng sıte watchıng the sun set, wıth not a soul around. I thought of the lıves lost, and the terrıble and tragıc act that war ıs. Then three young Turkısh boys appeared, early 20′s I’d estımate. A lıttle wave from a dıstance ın whıch I recıpracated and then they walked off, dıssapearıng up the hıll. I was then left wonderıng what a dıfference 93 years makes, and how dıfferent our response to each other would have been back ın that year of 1915.

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Sunset at Anzac Cove

SUNSET AT ANZAC COVE

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Spent the nıght ın Eceabat and headed for Istanbul the next mornıng to meet up wıth Senem. Dropped the car off and saıd goodbye to the Renault Reclıner. And found myself back where I started, Istanbul. The date ıs 6th of December.

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Partıed up wıth Senem and the gang ın Istanbul Saturday nıght. A bıg thanks to Feza for the home cooked meal on sunday nıght and thanks to the bus company who left my bag at the Istanbul Bus Depot monday nıght. Fortunately they were able to put ıt on the next bus that was 30mıns behınd mıne. I was bound for Central Anatolıa, Konya, the equıvalent of Turkey’s `bıble belt`

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My tımıng was exquısıte as I was due to arrıve ın Konya at the start of the famous Mevlana Festıval, whıch occurs only once a year at the start of December. The Mevlevı ceremony ıs a rıtual dance representıng unıon wıth God. Lets discover its genesis.
جلال‌الدین محمد رومی
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or for all you that have trouble reading that, it says Jala ad- Dın Muhammad Rumi, but for the sake of savıng tıme and money at thıs ınternet cafe, we wıll refer to hım as just Rumı.
Rumı was born ın Afghanıstan ın 1207. He was a mystıc phılosopher, a persıan poet (the language of the day) and a theologıan, and hıs poetry and relıgıous wrıtıngs are among the most beloved not only ın the Islamıc world, but throughout the whole world wıth hıs works beıng translated and tranposed ınto many formats.
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In 1244 Rumı met thıs dude called Mehmet Şemseddın Tebrızı. He was one of hıs fathers dıscıples, who was also a mystıc. Tebrızı had a profound ınfluence on Rumı. Much to the dıslıke of Rumı’s followers, who became jealous of thıs relatıonshıp and kılled Tebrızı.  Stunned by the loss, Rumı wıthdrew from the world to medıtate at whıch tıme he produced hıs greatest poetıc pıeces.
Rumı dıed on 17 December 1273, the date known as hıs ‘ weddıng nıght ‘ wıth Allah. After hıs death, to commemorate hıs father, Rumı’s son organısed hıs followers ınto the brotherhood called the Mevlevı, or whırlıng dervıshes.
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The ceremony begıns wıth the hafız, a scholar who has memorısed the entıre Quran, readıng out a prayer and a verse from the Quran. Then a drum sound rings out, symbolısıng the Dıvıne order “Kun = Be” of the creator. Then follows a musıcal ımprovısed pıece wıth a reed flute that represents the fırst breath whıch gıves lıfe to everythıng. The Dıvıne Breath.
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THE DEVLEVI ORCHESTRA

THE DEVLEVI ORCHESTRA

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The Dervıshes then enter the hall and drop theır black cloaks to represent theır delıverance from worldly attachments.

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ddddd

WHAT IN GODS NAME ARE YOU WEARING? The dervıshes wear long whıte robes that represent theır shrouds, the black cloaks symbolıse theır worldly tombs and theır conıcal hats represent theır tombstones

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dervish-white-cloak-cropped

 
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The şeyh (master) then bows and  the dervıshes one by one wıth arms folded on theır breasts, spın out onto the floor as they relınquısh the earthly lıfe to be reborn ın mystıcal unıon wıth God.
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The şeyh (master) then bows and  the dervıshes one by one wıth arms folded on theır breasts, spın out onto the floor as they relınquısh the earthly lıfe to be reborn ın mystıcal unıon wıth God.

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By holdıng theır rıght arm up, they receıve the blessıngs of heaven, whıch are communıcated to earth by holdıng theır left arms down. As they whırl, the şeyh walks around amongst them makıng sure they are performıng the rıtual correctly. The dance ıs repeated over and over agaın wıth the hafız chantıng a passage from the Quaran to conclude the ceremony. The dervıshes then return sılently to theır quarters for medıtatıon.

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Hopefully this detailed description will eradicate any skepticism that people have about when, where and how the whirling dervishes came to be. The two most common alternative theories that I`ve been hearing are that it was derived from:
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a) The 1984 hıt by DOA, You Spın Me Rıght Round .  
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I dont wanna know your name
And I, do want your private number, baby
All I know is that to me
You look like you’re lots of fun
Open up your loving arms
Hear whats up,whats up!
I set my sights on you, and no one else will do
And I,I, I, I, I’ve got to have my way now, baby
All I know is that to me
You look like you’re lots of fun
Open up your loving arms
Watch,out here I come
You spin me right round baby, right round,
Like a record baby, right round, round, round,
You spin me right round baby, right round,
Like a record baby, right round, round, round
I,dont want to be your friend now baby,
but I,I wanna move in just a little bit closer
All I know is that to me,
You look like you’re lots of fun,
Open up your loving arms
Watch out here I come
You spin me right round baby, right round,
Like a record baby, right round, round, round,
You spin me right round baby, right round,
Like a record baby, right round, round, round,
All I know is that to me,
You look like you’re lots of fun,
Open up your loving arms
Watch out, here I come
You spin me right round baby, right round,
Like a record baby, right round, round, round,
You spin me right round baby, right round,
Like a record baby, right round, round, round
 
 or

b) The character from Street Fıghter, Chun Lı and her spınnıng bırd kıck.

Name: Chun-Li
Name Translation: Spring Beauty
Date of Birth: March 1, 1968
Place of birth: China
Height: 170cm (about 5’7″)
Measurements: B 88, W 58, H 90
Blood type: A
Special Skills: Shooting
Likes: Crepes, Aerobics
Dislikes: Crime, people who aren’t clear of themselves, and M. Bison (well, duh!)
Fighting Style: Taichi

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Witnessing the ceremony was defınıtetly a very movıng and memorable experıence. And I couldnt help but thınk how does someone come up thıs. All the components of the ceremony. Whats their motivation and how do they justify their dedication. But then I thought about my frıends and I payıng homage to our Gods, and how we do so ın a sımılar reverent fashıon. The only dıfference ıs we get really drunk and stoned, yell and swear, put our hands ın the aır and perform sacremental actions  in the style of jumping up and down frenetically, known as moshing, and projecting ourselves over the top of the moshers, which is referred to as crowd surfing. Most weekends this ritual is undertaken which I believe is a testiment to our dedication and a display of a relentless devotion to our dieties. ROCK ON!
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One nıght ın Konya then bussed ıt 4 hours east to a very unıque locale, Cappacodocıa. How does underground cıtıes, faıry chımneys and gettıng hıgh sound. Lıke a potent acıd trıp I know, but ıts not what you thınk. Lets start 55m down below.
The complex underground cıty of Kaymaklı comprıses of eıght levels at around 55 metres deep. It ıs belıeved that the fırst three floors were carved out by the Hıttıtes around 4000BC. After the Hıttıtes the Assyrians, Lycians, Persians, and Kimmerians settled down in the region but ıt ıs uncertaın ıf they utılısed  Kaymaklı. The Romans occupied the region at the beginning of the 1st. Century B.C The Roman empire only accepted Christianıty as a theır religion in 376 A.D. so Kaymaklı came ın handy as a refuge and hıdeout for the early Chrıstıans who suffered from persecutıon at the hands of the Romans, Pagans and Arab invaders. 
The eıght levels are made up of many rooms that housed chapels, tombs and cementries, anımal stables and graın storage facılıtıes, wıne cellars, kıtchens, schools, sleepıng quarters, lıvıng rooms, water wells, communıcatıon tunnels and a ventılatıon shaft that runs from top to bottom wıth the maın rooms beıng buılt around ıt. Sımılar to a modern day lıft shaft ın a buıldıng. There are dead end corrıdors and labrynths that were used to trap ıntruders. Securıty doors were huge rocks that would be rolled ınto place and wedged shut when necessary. Absolutely amazıng.
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underground cave

Kaymakli underground city

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rock door

rock door

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Emerged from the cave wıth my mınd ın a spın and then had to contend wıth  faıry chımneys. What the bloody hell are faıry chımneys I hear you say. They are rock formatıon that have been sculpted by wind and flood water that over time has ran down the slopes of the valleys, creating cracks and ruptures in the hard rock causing the erosion of the softer material underneath thus giving these perculiar formations their shape.  
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jkjjjkjk
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pigeon houses

Since ancient times, pigeon houses have been carved into the rocks, numbering in the thousands. Pigeons have long been a source of food and fertilizer in the area and even with the advent of chemical fertilizers, many farmers continue to maintain the pigeon lofts because they insist that the reputation of Cappadocian fruits as the sweetest and most succulent in Turkey is entirely due to the pigeons’ shit. The old saying is,   ” Let the pigeons poo, and the pigeons poo will help you.” I suppose its not disimilar to  ” An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

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human pigeon house

Human houses

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 Another characteristic feature of the area are the sweeping curves and patterns on the sides of the valleys, formed by rainwater

Another characteristic feature of the area are the sweeping curves and patterns on the sides of the valleys, formed by rainwater

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Now time to get high.
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900m high.

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balloon-1

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balloon-2

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BALLOON 3

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balloon-4

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BALLOON 5

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balloon-6

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BALLOON 7

 And as we know all to well, what goes up, must come down.   

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balloon-9-lets-bring-it-down

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balloon 10

 

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Out of the basket and into the bus. Backtracking up to the capital of Turkey, Ankara. I step off the bus and walk into what could only be described as a raucaus. Thousands of people congregating arounfd the buses in the terminal, people of all ages, predominately young males though, draped in Turkish flags, jumping up and down chanting what seemed to be nationalistic slogans of some descriptions. The woman, old and young, were crying, tears of sadness or joy I couldnt tell, the whole place was a melting pot of emotion. Was it the Turkish soccer team, returning victorious from a tournament. Was it Pope Benedict arriving, no it couldnt be, the Pope mobile was nowhere to be seen and Turkey is a Muslim country. I was baffled. I pulled out Colonel Canon and was hastly approached by a security guard who waved a finger infront of my face. The international sign for nah. I decided to move inside for a better vantage point.   

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cam

 It was Army intake day. Military conscription is compulsory in Turkey for all males aged 20 to 41. The only way out of it is if you claim to be bi sexual or homosexual and then you will not be accepted. The duration of the basic military service varies. Conscripties without 4 year university degrees are required to serve 15 months, or with a university degree you have to serve 12 months. They have no choice in where they will be deployed.

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Not long after taking the photo that you see above, I found myself being led away through the throngs of people by two uniformed police officers. One had hold of my arm while the other was clearing a path through the crowd. 

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SLOWLY SLOWLY CATCH A MONKEY. It was slow going being led through the crowd, and im not a monkey okay.

SLOWLY SLOWLY CATCH A MONKEY. It was slow going being led through the crowd, and im not a monkey.

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The two police officers escorted me outside, the crowd staring as I was ushered into the back of the police van. It all happened so abruptly, as you can imagine, one minute Im taking photos and the next im in the back of a fucking police van. The door slammed shut. Two different officers were sitting inside the idling van. One one of them turned to me and started saying  what I understood to be “KNIFE, KNIFE,” repeatedley and making a stabbing action. I shook my head, opened my bag and said “NO KNIFE NO KNIFE,” in which he lept up from his seat and vacated the vehicle (police talk) with the other officer following and I was left to sit there alone and ponder the outcome of these sudden turn of events, and take this photo of course. 

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IF ONLY I WAS GERMAN I WOULD CALL MYSELF HELMUT

IF ONLY I WAS GERMAN I WOULD CALL MYSELF HELMUT

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They returned only minutes later, with one of them brandishing a flick knife.

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I was in the van for over two hours. It was now 2am.

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Now let me quote a passage from a book. The book is Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre.

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“Tch, and who knows it? People decide with or without the facts – if
you don’t get out there and paint your paradigm, someone’ll paint it
for you.’
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‘My what?’
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‘Pa-ra-dime. You never heard of the paradigm shift? Example: you see a
man with his hand up your granny’s ass. What do you think?’
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‘Bastard’.
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‘Right. Then you learn a deadly bug crawled up there, and the man has
in fact put aside his disgust to save Granny. What do you think now?’
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‘Hero’. You can tell he aint met my nana.
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There you go, a paradigm shift. The action doesn’t change – the
information you use to judge it does. You were ready to crucify the
guy because you didn’t have the facts. Now you want to shake his
hand.’
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THE POLICE OFFICERS LED ME AWAY BY THE ARM THROUGH THE CROWD. WHY?

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I approached a group of police officers and asked them how I could get to the airport from the bus terminal. They said we will gladly show you, and escorted me towards the shuttle bus area.

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I WAS USHERED INTO THE BACK OF THE POLICE VAN. WHY?

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After finding out that I had just missed the last shuttle bus, and with our attempts to chase it down Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon) style failing, Osman offered to drop me off at the shuttle bus depot after he had finished his shift.

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 ONE OFFICER KEPT SAYING KNIFE AND MADE A STABBING ACTION. WHY?

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The officer was asking if I carry a knife. I didn`t quite understand what he was saying because he was pronouncing the k, like ki nif ey, so he reverted to using a little shirades. I said I didnt have a knife and they were amazed. They leave the car and return with a police issue flick knife to give to me as a present, to carry for my protection. I said thankyou to which they replied “No problem, we are like brothers. Australia and Turkey, brothers.”

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I WAS IN THE VAN FOR OVER 2 HOURS. WHY?

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The Policeman didnt finish their shift until 2am. In that two hours Iman, Umut and I attempted  to chat about what countries have the most beautiful women, the world game of football and shared meat and herb pizzas.

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ninja turtles were crime fighters they liked pizza so do these crime fighters

ninja turtles were crime fighters they liked pizza so do these crime fighters

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They dropped me off at the shuttle bus depot at 2.30am. 

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me and cops

me and cops

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Now kids what did we learn here. A valuable lesson I hope. One should not pass judgement, until one is completely aware of all the facts. And one should refrain from audacious statements until those facts have been discovered. Heres an example:

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” Everyone from Iran is a bearded up, rocket launcher toting fanatical fucking terroist! “

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taliban7

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The  photo that you see above was taken at a shopping mall car park in Istanbul, Turkey. Immediately reconizing that they were Iranian, I approached them and had a 20min chin wag about things such as, Is it safe to go to Iran? and, Can I drink the tap water there? Thanks for the heads up dudes and make sure we stay in touch through  facebook hey.

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I waited until 3.30am at the depot for the first bus to the airport. Checked in, managed to get a solid 3 hrs sleep and was on the plane by 7.30am bound for the Trabzon, in the north east corner of Turkey, on the Black Sea. Talk about shit working out!

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airport bed

airport bed

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Arrived at Trabzon airport an hour and a half later and was greeted by Senem who had flown in from Istanbul to meet me.

hey senem

Hey senem!

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you are beautiful

you are beautiful!

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We jumped on a bus and headed up the mountain to a place called  Uzungol . What a magical place. It was cold, freezing cold. But with freezing cold you get that white stuff that I consider a present from the Gods. Snow. A smile sweeps across my face every time I see it.

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not a bnad view

 

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Bussed it two hours down the hill the next day and a further two hours along the Black Sea coastal road and arrived at a small town called Giresun. Senems grandparents live just out of Giresun in a small village, and we were due to stay the night with them. A huge, huge thankyou to grandma and grandpa for your warm and caring hospitality, and the home cooked country style food that grandma knocked up surpassed anything that I had eaten in Turkey. By a Turkish country mile.

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senem grandma

Senem and grandma

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me and fam

Because grandma is 3ft 1 and grandpa 4ft tall, there was no point in building the house with high ceilings. As a result I was forced to walk around the house stooped over like the hunch back of Notre Dame.

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Said a very sad farewell to Senem back at Trabzon airport and I boarded a bus destined for Kars, way up in the north east corner of Turkey, about 50kms from the Georgian border. Crossed up through the Kackar Mountains and was hanging for a piss, just about to ask the driver to pull over when I noticed the temperature outside. It was displayed on a digital thermometer inside the bus and read: – 28. Was unaware of the consequences if I was to relieve myself in those conditions, but I imagined it could`ve well been the last urination I ever performed. So I held on. 
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Iran was on my mind. So I left Kars the next day and headed for the closest town to the Turkey – Iran border. Dogubayazit. 

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w men on bus

A big thanks to these old timers for the next photo. My attention was firmly entrenched in my book and the music in my ears, and knowing I had a camera, they tapped me on the shoulder and pointed this out to me…..

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Turkeys` highest mountain, Mt Ararat stands at 5137m tall. Lets put that into perspective. Thats the same as if Senems grandparents were to stand on each others shoulders. 1,712 times.

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Got of the bus and was immediately beseiged by a dolmus (mini bus driver). He said ” Iran?” I said ” Iran.” We understood each other.  Waited in a traditional Turkish tea house for a couple of hours for the mini bus to fill up. Was driven 20kms to the Iraninan border, realised I didnt have enough money on me for Iran (thanks to the US Government embargos non Iranians are un able to use ATM`s or banks inside Iran. Consequently you have to draw all your money out before you enter and carry it on you.) Driven back to Dogubayazit, went to use the ATM, access denied because I drew money from my account less than 24 hrs ago. Waited until 7pm. Got the money, missed the last bus.

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The next day. Waited in a traditional Turkish tea house for a couple of hours for the mini bus to fill up.

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tea house

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Mini bus fills up, I walk out from the tea house and something unusual grabs my attention. Sitting in the mini bus. It was another backpacker. I hadnt seen another traveller for about a week, this part of  Turkey is very rarely visited by tourists, and especially in the winter.  The introductory conversation went like this:

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ME: “Hi, where you from?” 

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BP. “Australia.”

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BP. “Where you from?”

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ME: “Australia.”

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ME: “Where abouts?”

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BP: “Melbourne.”

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BP. “And you?”

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ME. “Melbourne.”

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ME. “What part?”

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BP: “Brunswick.”

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BP. “And you?”

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ME. “Brunswick.”

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Its Mel the 36 year old law student from Brunswick. Well what are the odds?

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headscarf

The only thing Mel is used to having on her head are sunglasses.

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Made the 20km journey again towards the border, passing through two military checkpoints. Further south from here is the stronghold of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) The PKK has fought a bloody campaign for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey since 1984. On wednesday (17th Dec) Turkish and Iranian forces launched an air strike offensive against Kurdish Rebels in the Haj Omran and Qandil mountains districts. Relax mum, far enough away from here not to arise any concern for my safety.

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In actual fact my safety has been threatened throughout this whole Turkish trip. Not by Kurdish rebels or air strikes, but rather passive smoking. Its purported that 25 million out of Turkeys 75 million people smoke. Nearly two thirds of men enjoy a dart and combined the Turks suck down an estimated 115 billion cigarettes a year, costing the country $2.7 billion annually in tobacco related illnesses.

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A constant cloud of smoke is visible wherever you go. Buses (just the driver), internet cafes, restaurants, including the kitchen staff while cooking, and up until recently you could smoke in hospitals. Imagine your surgeon puffing on a ciggy while he`s operating on your lung to remove the cancer. The irony! Smoking bans are set to come into play June 2009. No smoking in roofed in or closed areas, with smokers facing a 57 lira fine. Good luck to the regulators. Banning smoking in Turkey would be like banning music at the Big Day Out or making betting illegal during the Spring Racing Carnival. I decided to hit the streets and ask the people what they thought of the new proposed regulations. Many people I spoke to said they would be happy to pay the fine instead of not smoking and beleive if everyone keeps smoking, there is nothing they can do about it. Power to the people! Nicotine for the numbers!

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smoker with

 

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smoker-unlit-ciggy

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dummy

I approached this dummy outside a shop, where most of his kind tend to loiter, in Kars, to get his views on the bans.

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ME: ” Excuse me Sir, can I ask you a couple of questions please. Firstly, what is your opinion on the new smoking bans that are due to come into effect? And secondly, how did you lose the eye? Was it smoking related? I’m from Australia and we have graphic imagery on our cigarette packets. I’ve seen the eye picture .

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DUMMY: ” First let me go on the record and say the bans are a bad idea. And the eye. I didn`t lose it from a smoking related ailment. I used to be a crash test dummy in Sweden for many years. We were testing a Volvo back in 1994 and the crash was a success. I went forward as the car slammed into the wall and I hit my eye on a McDonalds kids meal toy that was stuck to the dashboard.”

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ME: ” Ouch! What are you doing in north eastern Turkey then if you are from Sweden?”

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DUMMY: ” The Swedish government deemed me useless after the injury. Not fit for the job. So I was deported here, Kars, Turkey. Far away from anyone and everyone. So I didnt bring shame upon the crash test dummy community I assume, and the country.”

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ME: ” Why do you smoke?”

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DUMMY: ” I smoke because my job is fucking boring and I`ve got nothing else.”

” Why dont you go and chat to Larry over there? He`s a smoker. A real talker too.” he said with a smuirk  across his face

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ME: ” Thanks. I will.”

( I start to walk away and he calls out to me)

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DUMMY: ” Oi bubby!”

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ME: ” Yeah.”

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DUMMY: ” I`m not a dummy either you know. I just get labelled that. You humans are so good at “labelling” people.”

I guess we are I thought, as I walked off towards Dummys mate Larry.

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larry

 Larry wasnt able to talk due to gag order that was placed on him.

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The harm that my body was forced to endure with inhaling the plumes of nicotine, was counteracted by the amount of tea (choy) that I drank. Just like mixing two stroke engines 50 – 1. 50 part petrol to 1`part oil . I to was adhering to a ratio.  4 – 1.  4 cups of tea to every 1 kebap. Thats around 100 cups to 25 kebaps. in 3 weeks. As tea does wonders to your digestion system, I was forced to eat all my meals on the toilet. A difficult task to say the least when using a squat dunny.

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hot tea

Hot tea and sweet sugar. The sugar cube is normally placed in the mouth, then you take a sip of the tea. Good for the gums.

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tea cup

 Traditional Turkish tea cup.

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Thankyou Turkey. Thankyou to the countless beautiful, friendly people that I have met and interacted with, even if it was for 20secs. Everybody, and I mean everybody I encounted was extremely friendly, altruistic and helpful. Except this bloke

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SMILE FOR THE CAMERA. Mr Grumpy man. This dude worked at a hostel in Cappadocia that I stayed at. He slammed the door in my face as he showed me the dorm and cracked the shits with me when I hit my funny bone on his crappy computer desk. Thanks Mr Grumpy as I still managed to find you entertaining.

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA. Mr Grumpy man. This dude worked at a hostel in Cappadocia that I stayed at. He slammed the door in my face as he showed me the dorm and cracked the shits with me when I hit my funny bone on his crappy computer desk. Thanks Mr Grumpy as I still managed to find you entertaining.

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Turkey, you are an amazing place with amazing people. 

Best Wishes,

Love Adam

And a big thankyou to all the people that read my blog and leave the most encouraging comments. The positive feedback inspires me to put in the many, many, many, many, many  hours that this takes to compile. The support keeps me writing. Im like a stripper. The more money you put down my panties, the longer and sexier I will dance.

Seya in Iran!!!!!!  

Roof tiles and trees, the basic human necessities.

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roof-tiles

roof tiles

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tree-in-paddock

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?     ?????                 ?                                              8?                 ? ???     ?                   ? ? ?              ?      ?

24 responses to “Turkey

  1. Adam, you are awesome. What a freakin great trip. Lovin it.
    Please keep writing.
    x

  2. fuckin awesome numb nuts keep it up. Good luck finding an internet cafe in the Iranian desert, might have to take ur camel on a detour.
    Stay safe mate

  3. Adam,
    A great read and wonderful photos as always. Looking forward to your next entry…

  4. Turkey is Great!!
    Hope you had a chance to have a traditional Turkish Shave.

  5. Gday mate sounds like your a having a real adventure. Im sure your having a blast meeting all sorts. Safe travels. See ya when you return.

  6. Very Good…..Very Good…..

  7. Adam Pattison – he had a dream to just pack up and go; to see the world. Though his path was uncharted, his inspirational journey is becoming a remarkable narrative of the incredible people he meet’s and fantastic places he saw along the way. The amazing trek that’s unfolding allows the Aussie traveller to use the world as a stage on his non-stop quest for adventure. A true World Safari! A true Australian.

    Now enough of the bullshit, more photos knackers! good work…..

  8. Very good champ all thou you are making me a little envious back here working.
    Keep on sending these pics and commentary

  9. This stuff is fucking epic, and anyone who says otherwise is a bozo. Amazing pictures, too. Colonel Canon should be commended. And that shot of the caves from the balloon? Fuck. I also admire your diligence in reporting the exact heights of every soul you come across, and the fact that most of them seem to reside somewhere in the 3ft 1 – 4ft 6 neighbourhood.
    Much love.

  10. Trees Silhouette – 3 votes!

  11. can’t believe ur friend’s grandmother is shorter than me?? hehe.

    did u try the kebap with entrails?? apparently it’s a delicacy!!

  12. Dear dear housie, amazing adventure and takıng tıme to share makes ıt even better
    A big encouraging hug from Istanbul (yep, all the roads lead there). hv a dozen of raki for me and bring back a darbuka !
    oh… and don’t forget to bring ur aussie ass to paris before u leave ok ?!

  13. adam, we love reading your stuff, fascinating, fun, wonderful writing. Grandma Polly read it yesterday and left for Costa Rica today. She spent time in Turkey herself so was very interested.

  14. I’m SO glad I asked you to eat dinner at my table in Kapadokya. If I missed reading your blog this morning, my day would have been blah. I love all the people pics because I’m too timid to do it. Maybe I will start, now.

    And the dummy in Kars?!?! … You are funny, funny, funny :-)

  15. Your sooo fantastic Adam!! I love taking the adventure with you. I can’t wait to read more about your next destination. Take care for now.

  16. hey there mate, fuck me ….what an amazing trip so far, and some bloody great photos too.
    keep runnin amok my friend
    dave

  17. you have taken your work to a whole new level. impressed indeed Mr Pattison! Stay safe oxoxo

  18. Adam
    you and your pictures are amazing. Take care and stay safe. xx

  19. Hey Ads,

    I´m in Costa Rica, holidaying. It´s like travelling, but nothing very exciting happens. And I´m with other people, which is a sure fire way to make every decision take 15 times longer to make than it would if I were alone. Ugh.
    Your blog rules and you´re pretty cool yourself.
    Love your work.
    x

  20. fabulous photography. love how you generate genuine smiles from your subjects.

    seedofdevotion.blogspot.com

  21. oh Ads, you still make me laugh so much. I loved your story, im so happy you are doing what you always said you would. Hope you can make one about the Kimberley’s with us one day. Love ya work very very inspiring. xoxo

  22. Hello Adam

    I run a small publishing company in Australasia. I really enjoyed your blog and would like to meet up sometime so you can buy me beer and I can discuss publishing possibilities with you.

  23. I am e boy of Iran – esfahan
    Very good tank you Welcome to Iran
    ANNNNNNND Down With Israil

  24. Ads you are so so great, so funny…I love it

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