Location: stockholm, Sweden
Sorry I have been out of touch but I have been in love and not really connected to anything in the real world. However, I have moved from Turkey and taken up a post running around in Sweden, Denmark and Norway...so you can expect some updates (hopefully) of good weekend adventures very soon.
Gotta run as I am going to BOMBARD my page with photos from all of my previous travels!
Location: Termessos and around, Turkey
Have you ever been to a place that quelled, nay quashed, the advance of Alexander the Great? Ha Hah HAAH, I have! Have you enjoyed opera in an ancient amphitheatre with plummeting canyons and soaring mountains working as a frame to the masterpiece? Ha Hah HAAH
This weekend I flew to the ancient ruins of Termessos and was, as frequently happens, simply stunned by the sheer determination of some ancient civilisations to create a life for themselves in THE most difficult places on earth. Although, at least, in this case, its easy to see where they got the rocks. Termessos is set high up on a mountain amongst other jutting mountains and was, in its day, an impenetrable fortress. Alexander the Great didnt get a look in when he came through in 333BC and the Romans decided it was much easier to make the city of Termessos an independent ally to the empire than get their butt whooped in an attempt to take the city.
I did, of course, garner all of this from the Lonely Planet in advance of my arrival but it wouldnt have mattered. It was easy to see that the
Termessonians (??) would have been incredibly content with their achievements and not in a hurry to share them with anyone else. Termessos was constructed at the throne of a fertile mountain valley. To approach from the front brings you up incredibly steep terrain that funnels you into a tighter and tighter valley, which ended in a sheer rock wall. The side approach (over the edge of the theatre) was unapproachable period. The back wall of the city capped the surrounding mountain ridges and again, you can forget it!!! Within these borders they constructed a huge water retention and drainage system, two very large gymnasium/bath-houses, a theatre to seat a couple of thousand, temples etc etc (i.e. a miniature city). It was amazing to visualise. They had everything but there were probably only 20,000 people living in the city walls. These remote people had created an incredible fortress that was, by all standards, very modern
AND they did it with limited manpower.
I just dont know what to think about our lives today when I look at
something like this. Everything constructed by hand and still so beautiful. Have we really advanced that much? Of course we have in scientific terms, but I wonder whether we have our priorities set any better than the people of Termessos. They did not wage war yet lived in much more troubled times. To avoid it they moved far away, did not bother anyone else and ensured that no one else could bother them. Within these walls it is clear they appreciated health, culture and structural beauty
it just left me wondering.
I was pondering these things, sitting in the amphitheatre (SO beautiful!) with an English couple, when we were interrupted by singing. My face went: What the? Oh, you cant be? I dont believe
how good is this!!!! over the course of a few seconds. It seems like forever when it is you, because you are so surprised, and then it seems to double the joy you experience.
A Turkish soprano, belting out opera with gay abandon, was the source of our joy. She was not there for money. Rather, it was clear she was a tourist visiting with her kids and had simply been overcome by the desire to sing. The French tourists, our only other companions, began making requests and we were indulged for 40 minutes!!! It was phenomenal!
So, floating in a little cloud of happiness, the rest of the day seemed to just float by without incident even though it was littered with them. In fact, I was thwarted in my attempt to visit the Karain Cave, on of Turkey most fascinating destinations, because the road to the cave had just been laid that day. The bitumen was wet like mud and the gravel on the side of the road was about 1 foot thick and sloping down into a fence
so my motorbike just went: Nnoo-oh-ooh-hoh-ho-ho-ooe way buddy. You can forget that one.
It was a shame because, apparently, the Karain Cave has been continuously inhabited for 25,000 years (remember we are only in the year 2005), which makes it somewhere that really needs to be checked out!!!
Unfortunely there was no time to stick around waiting for the "paint to dry" and I took off for the Sundance Camp in Phaselis (my home for the night). It turned out the Sundance Camp did not have a tree house for me to sleep in and they had thought I might like a very small tent. Even though my head and feet bulged out of either end when lying straight, I really didnt care.
My Dutch neighbours were awesome and by the time the day was done we had become great friends. Our friendship, and my resulting oblivion to the world around me, meant that I completely forgot to visit the eternal flame at Chimaera. It is strange: I drove all that way (over 100kms) to see the flame but, honestly, I wouldn't change a thing.
The next day we made friends with the editor of the Saturday supplement in Istanbuls biggest newspaper (she was also very cool) and it seems that her friend circle here in Istanbul will soon become mine.
Lifes good but Ive gotta go!
Lls lesson learnt:
Everyway of being and every way of feeling (love, passion, courage, hope, pain, joy) is found exclusively within you. You determine which ones that are welcome in your life. You determine their occurrence, longevity, intensity and overall effect.
Philosophy 101 (potential new segment):
There is no doubt that the above is true but is it also not true that to
feel emotion we must invest in the things around us (people, places etc)?
So, is it possible to accept the temporal nature of positive experiences and not have negative ones impact our lives?
For my part, I think it is, but I also accept that goes against everything
we are taught. I even feel bad just writing it down. Surely you if you
care about something when you have it you must care (i.e. be upset) when it is gone. But then, surely the joy (memory) of having it can outweigh the grief that it is lost? Are not the happy memories the ones that endure?