Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Istanbul, Turkey

Hi Everyone,
I am back in Istanbul Turkey. I will be here for the weekend and then will fly to Madrid Spain on Monday 22/11/04 to catch a train to Algecira and then a ferry to Tangiers Morrocco. Plan to be in Morrocco for 3 or 4 weeks and then back to Spain for 3 or 4 weeks.Since last you heard from me, I was in Olympos Turkey. God it was a great place!! I just dug it. Stayed for 6 days and 7 nights. Livin in a tree house. Eating oranges and all kinds of Turkish food mainly centered around Aubergines (eggplant) tomatoes and chilis. Every night there would be a big bonfire and all the world travelers and vacationing Turks would tell their life stories and recent adventures and hopes and dreams were exchanged as well as e-mail addresses. I met some totally awesome people many of whom will now be on my travel updates. In Fetiyah I met a guy named Chris who works half the year in Antarctica and half the year as a bicycle tour guide who is taking a year or two off and traveling. and a woman named Petra from England who has lived all over the world teaching Spanish in English countries and English in Spanish countries and has visited more countries than me!!! (I am now up to 36)She and Chris and my buddy Nick traveled around Turkey to Olympos Egirdir Konya and then to Kapadokya together.Egirdir is a beautiful lake town in the mountains of South-Central Turkey. It is Turkeys 4th largest lake at about 600sq kilometers. They catch lots of Bass trout and carp as well as other fish and serve them in the local restaurants.Bad weather there so we split after two days and went to the wonderful Eastern city of Konya.Konya is like the spiritual heart of Turkey. It is the birthplace of the Sufi religion. Sufism is really a mystic branch of Shia Islam. A sort of cross between Islam and buddhism.The practioners are known as dervishes and we were lucky enough to be granted an audience with the imam of the local derva (mosque). Sufism is illegal in Turkey or perhaps a better word is prohibited. I dont really understand why because the Turks are pretty accepting of other peoples religions but this is the facts of the matter. It was hard to locate the Derva (because it is underground so to speak)and after pestering everyone we met we finally got a sleazy carpet dealer to take us to a certain Cobblers shop (after Chris bought 2 carpets from him), and after some (brief)questioning we were taken to a little home with no sign or minaret or markings of anykind. Inside we waited about 20 minutes and then a middle age man in a turban and a big long beard appeard and blessed us with "Salaam Alechem" and we "Alechem salaamed" back to him.He went into a 10 minute discourse on the history of Sufism. (The carpet salesman kissed his hand and touched his forehead to it and then he was our translator) Then he invited us to ask any questions we may have. He allowed us to stay and question him for about 90 minutes and then allowed us to watch as his followers arrived and they did evening prayers and then he demonstrated sacred movements and did the whirling dervish thing for us and WWWhhooaaa what a cool day for me. Maybe one of the coolest ever. The dude is so charismatic all of us just sat there on the carpets and cushions grinning like a bunch of drunk school children. A very heavy man indeed. While we were there a few of the other followers came in with special problems and they told him and he gave them prayer/poems to recite and one guy he moved a big shepherds staff over him and prayed and then opened a bottel of mineral water and said prayers to the water with his prayer beads and breathed into it with each prayer and gave the guy the holy water for a medicine. We Stayed in Konya for the first day of Bayram the feast that ends Ramazan and then went to Kapadokya.Kapadokya is a geological wonderland of magical looking mountains and outcroppings of rocks and ancient cave dwellings and underground cities that housed up to 5000 people and fairy chimneys and fantastic hiking trails through surrealistic looking valleys. Long ago before man came here fairys dwelt in this place and when humans came they turned themselves into pigeons. There are thousands and thousands of pigeons here whose droppings make the valley super fertile as farmland. The odd Penis shaped rock formations are called fairy chimneys and are made of soft stone which gets its weird shapes from centurys of wind erosion. They are more or less easily hollowed out and made into dwellings and there are tens of thousands of them, some inhabited and some abandoned. We explored many of them. This place is way too far out for me to describe so I suggest you all look for it on the net and check it out it is truly amazing.So now I am back in Istanbul and will split up with my friends. Nick will go to Bulgaria, Chris to Syria and Petra is not sure either to Syria or Jordan. Me Im still on the road a-headed for another joint the only thing I know how to do is to keep on keeping on Like a bird that flew but tangled up in blue.I will write from Morrocco. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in America.
Nothing but Love to all of you,

Personal to RB: did you get the absinth?Personal to Suzy and John: Im thinking of visiting for a month or so in 2005 to study yoga and crash at your house if its okay.

Personal to the Professor: I got you a cool Meersham pipe, Ill give it to you on January 15


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