I know, I know. In this time and age it sounds as if I was living on another planet if I admit that I have never done a video before. I love photography, because I can take my time to compose the shot. I was afraid I would just blur the images if I ventured into video. An additional hindrance is the fact that I think my voice sounds like Daisy Duck on tape. Thinking what to say and catching the right images, trying to drop my camera and making sure unwanted people didn’t walk in front of my lens…it all seemed just too much!
Along came PPH (peopleperhour) and a chance to be featured as one of their travel bloggers. They require a lot of things: blogging about free lancing, photos of my travels and the place where I live and… video clips. So, it was either to pass on a good opportunity to get the glamour granny known in the UK, or to face the challenge. Of course, I chose the latter.
My friends graciously accepted to accompany me on my mission to make my first video. They came with me for courage and to be my models and off we went to a fabulous site near where we live: the Apollo Temple and Oracle in Didim. Famous for the remaining columns and the haunting images of the Medusa.
The columns of the temple and oracle
And here are the results of my first efforts. Four video clips. As I said: please don’t fall over laughing. However, comments and advice would be greatly appreciated.
This is a guest post by my friend and neighbor, Steve, a Scottish Till Eulenspiegel who holds up the mirror to our fellow Turks and expats alike. He does this with an enormous sense of humor and a keen eye of observation for the foibles, weaknesses and strengths of those around us. Not a trace of malice in his remarks, because in essence he loves us all as we love him in return.
Steve in his Ferrari jacket which caused a sensation in Miami
The following is an excerpt of a little booklet he is putting together and I just thought his unique style is far too good to be kept in a drawer.
The Turks mean business
Our complex is located in a small town in Turkey. The people who live here or have holiday homes here come from all walks of life and, although predominantly from the UK, we also have neighbors from Germany, India and Turkey. The large pool and beautiful gardens are managed by a company which in fact, built the complex in the first place. The name of the company is A.L.A.Y.P. No, no, that is not the real name, but the name they should have. Why? Because, in plain English, A.L.A.Y.P translates into: As Long As You Pay! With capital letters for good reason. Because, you see, you want anything fixed from drilling a hole to changing a light bulb or hanging a mirror, they’ll happily do so: A.L.A.Y.P. They don’t even ask first what it is you want, oh no, businessmen that they are and before you can even open your mouth, they make sure you are in no doubt that it’s going to cost you.
Safety? How do you spell THAT?
Turks are a friendly people, they are a helpful people and they love noting better than to fix a problem. And, believe me, they can fix anything… their way! Which, in essence means, that health and safety regulations are considered as nothing but impediments to getting the job done. Let’s say, you buy a beautiful painting in a shop. The shop sends the picture together with a guy who will hang if for you. Drill in hand he looks for an outlet to drill the hole. Then you look closer and see that there is no plug on his drill. Does it matter? No, the dangling wires go straight into the socket and whilst you already start mentally revising how to practice resuscitation after electrocution, the job is done and the beaming guy, still alive and standing, stretches out his hand for a tip.
That is nothing compared to the way how they paint an outer wall. Why bother with scaffolding when you have a trusted friend and your faith in Allah? The other day when my wife and I were out for a stroll we saw this scene which left us rooted to the spot. A young guy was dangling from a fourth floor window, head down, paint roller in hand and happily applying a coat of pink to the building’s outer wall. This only ‘safety harness’ were the strong hands and arms of his friend who was holding him by his ankles. See what I mean?
Our neighbor, Frau Goinhoff
She is so named because she is always going off somewhere. She is a bit of a writer, well, she would say an ‘authoress’ ‘cause it sounds better, but to give her her due she has published two novels and a guide book and writes for travel magazines. Therefore she travels a lot, but, she has that certain German air about her, know what I mean? They seem to strut around with that little bit of arrogance, but she speaks several languages, so we’ll let it go. Goingoff is like s stick, she is so thin she is almost see through but she thinks she is fat. I have seen more fat on a butcher’s apron. She says she lives on fruit, vegetables and nuts, but, believe me, I have seen her put away a T-bone steak and suck the bone. We all know that she has little culinary skills, but when we go out for a meal she polishes off not only her own plate but the leftovers from the others too. We dread to hear her say: “Well, I was just thinking…”, because then you know you are in trouble. Because these words are always followed by a suggestion of where to travel next and her inviting you to come with her. Frau Goinhoff also likes her bling. Anything shiny, jewelry , gold coins, she is forever buying or selling. You would recognize her anywhere, she is quite distinguished, blond hair (bleached!!), very large sunglasses, full make up, lots of lippy, but if you get on the wrong side of her you will soon know about it. Off come the sunglasses and the fiery German comes out of her. Be warned, she is a very fine lady but at times can be very childish.
I’m sure you recognize who Frau Goingoff is in the eyes of her friend Steve!
As much as the count down, the clock and the glass of champagne, New Year’s resolutions form a part of tradition when the next year comes a-knocking. We contemplate on the past year, the achievements and the failures and we promise ourselves: all will be better next year. I will finally get around to…..what? A mountain of good intentions grows before our inner eye, unfortunately coupled with the certain knowledge that very few will be accomplished. Which doesn’t stop the euphoria and neither should it, because the resolutions contribute to the uplifting feeling of a new start, a fresh chance and nothing should spoil it.
So, I will make a list of my very personal New Year’s resolutions, but being a realist, I’ll also rate the probability of them being accomplished by the end of the next year. I’ll rate on a scale from 1 to 5, 5 equaling ‘ hopeless’ and 1 indicating the highest probability. In accordance with the festive spirit, this is not an altogether serious post, so take it with a pinch of salt.
Visiting the carnival in Basle/Switzerland at the end of February (1)
Spending time with my very good friends in Beirut/Lebanon (2)
Exploring the south of Turkey (2)
Learning Turkish properly (3)
Learning how to cook (off the scale!!!)
Losing weight (3)
Joining a gym (5)
Writing more fiction (2)
That’s it. I’d love to hear what your New Year’s resolutions are and how you intend sticking to them.
A glamour granny loves silk. I’ll travel nowhere without at least two or three silk scarves of various sizes and colors in my luggage. A silk scarf covers my head in mosques and churches, protects me fro draft in airplanes, spiffs up an simple top or T-Shirt, acts as a sarong and has even been used as a strap to pull my bag in an emergency when the leather grip broke. Silk is warm, cool, beautiful and extremely resistant.
It won’t come as a surprise, that when I visited Bursa, Turkey’s forth largest city located beautifully at the slopes of Mount Ulugad in Anatolia and only a few hours from Istanbul, I headed for the Silk Bazaar without delay.
Bursa's silk bazaar
Bursa, which is an ancient city, was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire after the conquest from the Byzantines in 1326. Conveniently located at the westernmost end of the Silk Road, Bursa has been a center for silk trade and silk production ever since.
Sultan Bayazit built Koza Han, or the Silk Cocoon Market in 1491 as a joint caravanserai and silk market. It’s easy to explore the historical center of Bursa on foot, just follow Fevzi Cakmak Caddesi, then turn left into Atrürk Caddesi and you come past the covered bazaar, several mosques and other sites until you reach a park with a fountain and water play resembling a Versailles in miniature.
Fountain in the park. The water moves!
Right behind it is the doorway to Koza Han. The structure consists of two stories in the typical Ottoman architecture with a courtyard in the middle. All is covered and vaulted and although silk trade as such is no longer conducted here, the shops selling silk garments, scarves and also some table silver are a glamour granny’s paradise.
Two stories of the han
Isn't it gorgeous?
The Queen loved it too!
People come here to sit either in the café under centuries ’old oak trees in the courtyard or on one of the tables and low sofas t in niches opposite the shops where you can watch the action below.
Cafe in the courtyard below
Bursa’s silk, produced locally or imported from Iran and China, was used to make the clothes, bedding, pillows and carpets of the royal Ottoman household until the 17th century. The skill and quality show to this date, although I learned that the last local silk producer closed about 10 years ago.
What fascinated me, apart from the silk products, were the many photographs along the walls which depict the times when Koza Han was the center of the silk trade. Huge bales of cocoons were auctioned off and other photographs show how the silk was spun.
Auction in full swing
Workers in a silk factory
A more enjoyable trip down silk history lane is hard to imagine. In case you wonder: yes, I bought two silk scarves to be treasured during future journeys.