Saturday, November 28, 2009

veliko tarnovo

it should be known that with experience comes learning and with learning comes the thirst for more experience. some experience, however, we look back on not in regret or pride in how close we came to the edge yet with a respectful amount of perspective that without these experiences we would not be the same today. they give us smile lines and creases beneath our eyelids. they leave us questioning if we will ever wake up in the morning or ever fall asleep again. they have their place and we pack them in our backpacks to share with one another when we sit down at the same feast.

bulgaria is rad. way rad. we made it to Велико Търново yesterday evening and we'll probably end staying here another night before going back to istanbul. i dont know if i ever would have chanced upon this place had it not been for my living situation in the heart of deep south eastern europe.. well technically deep west asia now, when i return i'm finally moving into my new place of dwelling in Kadıköy. i'm happy today. happy to be breathing clear and happy to be in the cold. i think i'll have a new take on turkey when i get back, the story is starting to get interesting.

Friday, November 27, 2009

2BD булгариа

a few notes from the road. love it here. its scary how much i love it. arrived at 430am with chris in abandoned downtown боургас with no place to go. the town was like a vampire town but somehow in the midst of emptiness it was very inviting. this was when we wandered into a 24 hour bar called allegro and proceeded to drink heavily with immediate new bulgarian friends, namely георги who would later take us into his home as a gracious host for two days. we were up until 10am drinking wine and learning about булгариа, my new favorite country. боургас is a really cool seaside city that screams of eastern europe. its coldish this time of year but people walk slow and dress up just to go to the corner store.. and everyone is absolutely beautiful. we found ourselves on a latenight bus ride to варна which is where we currently reside. варна is even farther north along the black sea coast and seems to be quite larger. we have plans to go to велико търново in central булгариа soon but i'm not sure if our time will allow for this.

revealing pictures into our world soon. mookfish out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

bulgaristan bailout

things begin to move a bit faster from here. step one: frantically pack all of my scattered belongings to sneak past the door man (asshole!) at the lojman. step two: board a ferry to the asian side where i can stash my things at my new place for when i will be seeking refuge in bulgaristan. step three: get intoxicated tonight with my friend kim and her mom as well as matt and taylor, taylor's parents and my boy 'normal' chris. step four: be bless-ed. step five: flee the country with normal chris to pursue the western coast of the black sea. step six: bid farewell to normal chris as he sojourns north to romania as i somehow make my way back to istanbul to seek shelter in my new place of dwelling for a few weeks before heading to the desert with team egypt. in between i foresee sketchbook drawings, bruises, making out with strangers, gypsy guitar jams, vain use of polish to communicate in slavik bulgaristan, sleeping on buses, visas, passports and knife hands (for matt grager's neck). jam.

a quick side note to amanda "doopie" habrowski, you have rocked my world for 10 years now and your friendship is random and beautiful.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

**unpublished blog from a few days ago** "islam for education"

you never see it coming when you first begin a new class, a student who you previous think will be a problem will eventually become one of your closest friends. this happened to me in two circumstances, both randomly and beautifully. the first was a young kurdish girl who sat in on the level six english class i was to observe when i first started working for the school named Surayya and the second was one of my level four students named Mehmet. Surayya is a very bright student who has every intention on being certified for her TOEFL so she can become a university student in the USA to study genetics. i loved talking with her after classes because her english was fantastic and she enjoys the practice. in one way or another we became to speak of religion and i told her i was interested in learning more about islam. she passed along a few pieces of text that were written in relatively good english and i found them to be very insightful. we became good friends and after long i would be helping her to apply for a few universities including wayne state, which was a tremendous honor. Surayya and i would meet almost every weekday to talk about religion and other walks of life until she finally finished the six basic levels of english ready to go on to the TOEFL course. Mehmet on the other hand is a student i currently have enrolled in my class. in two weeks Mehmet is going on to serve his military service, which is compulsery for Turkish men, for six months. it has been great getting to know him because at first i thought he was not at all interested in my class. he was very quiet and the expressions he wore on his face during class did not seem to suit his personality. over time i got to speaking with during break. we both have a crush on the same girl and this comes to good conversation and practice of english and turkish.. its kind of funny.. i caught on after a while that Mehment is an extremely religious kid and i really grew a liking to his conversation. i asked him one day if he would take me to a mosque service and he very nicely agreed. now, in the last few weeks of Mehmet's civilian time, he has become my inside to many wonderful experiences here in istanbul. in the next few days (when he sends them to me) ill post some really good pics of my level four class. til then this tragrically and unjustly does not give credit to my experiences with either however its late and i dont feel like writing...

mehmet is the guy all the way to the left in this pic:

Monday, November 16, 2009

"look for your missing mind while you're there" - Jie Hua

it is possible that all of these things are coming to a point or developing some sort of meaning, i'm just not sure what it is. burned a few more bridges just to watch them burn. i'm troubled. paranoid sometimes. i have itchy feet and i want to see crowns turned upside down. it is somehow a matter or destiny that i feel compelled to reach closer to my goals. a matter of being equipped to handle great amounts of stress and wider more curious eyes. a determination to do things and actually make them happen rather than just talk about them. its not for me to question how well someone has payed attention or how much they respect what i do.. i'm in too deep and have no concerns for the opinions of others. sometimes i think the strangers who write me letters know me better than my friends do. i dont know.. maybe i secretly still believe in god.. i kind of do.. i just dont believe in the people who take the name of god to extremes. if we are truly in the like of god and we were created in simplicity then is got not simplicity? is god not the space between atoms and the tissued fabric of our skin? yeah.. these things are coming to a point and i'm more awake than ever. sights and sounds from far away call to me and i know better than to ignore them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

how i'm gonna do it

June/July 2010

bus from Istanbul to T'bilisi 60US 3 days

T'bilisi to Georgia/Azerbaijan border share taxi 5US

border to Baku 10US

Ferry from Baku to Turkmenbashi 45-60US 48hrs

train turkmenbashi to Tashkent 20US 24hrs

bus from Tashkent to Uzbek/Kyrgyz border

bus from border to Bishkek

so this is the basic layout of my journey ahead of me. i gather it will take a total of perhaps 15-20 days to get from istanbul to bishkek including border layups and travel from within the countries i'm passing through. i have no rush and i would even consider taking an entire month to get to kyrgyzstan. the journey is 2200 miles in a bird's eye view so realistically it is much longer. the prices are very cheap but i must take into consideration visa costs and being ripped off a handful of times. one must also consider there are no ATMs for the better part of this trip so budget and personal security are imperative. i will stay in kyrgyzstan until i get my fill. i'm not sure how long that will be but i would be happy to disappear into nature for quite a bit of time before coming back to the states.

here is a crude map of the path i have set before me:

so once again.. these plans are basic yet they will manifest with time. the internet is a highly unreliable source for travel in this particular region so i find that other travelers tend to be much more useful.

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan back to istanbul +/- 500US
and ticket from istanbul back to Detroit +/- another 500US

this and my previous mentions of budgeting will be easy to take care of with the 1600US travel bonus i get at the end of my contract plus any money i will inevitably save in the next lot of time. travel travel travel... i have my work cut out for me and over the next few months these plans will be much more developed. for now i will focus on my swims of this next month.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sasha Ермилова on Uzbekistan

Sasha Ермилова
From what I remember it was incredible. We had an apartment, but within 40 minutes of walking we had a little farm. Imagine acres and acres of land. All of it surrounded by perimeter of raspberry bushes. Except for the front of the farm, that's where we had vines and vines of blackberries that you could just come up to and pick whenever you wanted... Read More. In the middle of the farm we had all sorts of vegetables and tomatoes and strawberries and pretty much anything that can grow in the ground. On the right side we had apple, pears, plums and apricot trees. On the left grape vines that went all around the little area my grandfather built for us with swings. I remember swinging high high up to grab grapes from the "ceiling." We also had a little house and a pool that grandpa built and spend whole days through just splashing away. Food was cooked on the fire next to the house. I do believe it was a piece of heaven on earth.
Of course much probably have changed now. IF it's still the same, I recommend going to the bazaar. We used to walk through it and grandparents would buy us shishka bobs and corn and we would just munch on it while we shopped for a variety of items you can find while you're there. I would highly recommend NOT swimming in the canals if you come across one. They're pretty gross. The area is kind of high in criminal activity, though, so do be careful dear Mook. But I hope you find much interest while you're there. I miss it dearly.

Monday, November 09, 2009

half of me begins in you, know that it was not i..

to my friends in detroit and elsewhere:

i miss you guys. i watch the world spin with or without my presence and im scattered in some far away land. with me everywhere i take a backpack full of memories and a love that goes unchallenged. and i must say that i stink of the great city im from. its kind of funny really when you watch the reactions people make when you tell them where you are from. no, ive never met eminem and no, i dont live on 8 mile. but yes, it is a crazy place that im from and yes, it is true that you will never go there. i hope to bring some of you out here as its been mentioned although i completely understand if it doesnt work out. i just miss all of you and i know that this round of travel is going to be a big one. its hard to even wrap my head around when i will be back and what the future holds for all of us. ill find you though wherever you end up and we will make noise. my only worry is that after this journey i have ahead of me is complete that i will be too far removed and will not have enough time back to feel that comfort of home again. its of no difference though, know that im good at what i do and i share that love and bold respect everywhere i wander. all is bless-ed.


i stole this from alan.. it really did it for me..

Friday, November 06, 2009

hmm.. a stamp for future reference and to see if anything has been done about the situation

nah... on second thought i'm better off. i need to stay focused. any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated but, as i've been previously unnerved by, i think i'm alone on this one. something happened to me last summer that i don't often share with people. it shook me up a little bit. it's not the first time life has shaken me up and reminded me that i exist and that i'm fragile, probably not the last. all is fine but such experiences leave you asking dangerous questions like 'what if?' you should never ask yourself that.

met a man last night, nico, who is from germany. he is not the first person i've met to behold an extreme journey in the light of extended travel however there is something unique about meeting him. nico is riding his motorcycle from germany to india over an undisclosed amount of time. however geographically thinking, if you imagine istanbul on a map, he has not traveled very far. in fact, he was only 14 days deep into his journey when i met him at a hostel yesterday. this was a unique perspective for me because most travelers i meet are well experienced and deep in their travels however he is like new blood. he was even expressing the immediate doubts that had struck him in the last few days and i'll be curious to see how his travels pan out. i put a link to his blog on my page, its called The Long Way Raus. check it out.

back to my gloominess. i've stamped today. we shall see where this takes me but i know this next few months will be very interesting and shaking in their own way. i'd be less vague but people read this who will want to talk about it with me and talking is not something i'm good at on the subject. but this is a stamp just as i've made many stamps in the past. be bold, kids. the mind is an interesting and amazing thing and people are pretty rad too.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

¿por que te vas?

listen.. listen.. what speaks to you? something is always calling from far away, thus i've known for years. foolish i've often been for thinking of this great void as distance of miles and kilometers rather than distance in our history and ancestry. i suggest rather than being afraid of our connectedness with us and the kingdoms which have walked before us that we embrace and celebrate them. and the silence between our worlds is growing deeper by the day. as it's been written so eloquently before me, "unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better it's not."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

of course the big stopping blocks for people are time money and interest - kim howard

i've always believed somehow that there is a strange interconnectedness between certain points in the past and certain points in the present. it seems to happen during moments of different states of mind when suddenly a change of weather or a random song will teleport you back to some place you know very well. this morning the air was cold and i'm still in my sleeping-pants. an early morning meeting on the rooftop with a friend on the rooftop presented sudden reminder of times back home, wherever home was for either of us.

istanbul, istanbul.. in a few weeks i'll step foot outside of the city (the country more specifically) for the first time in a few months. in time my finger will heal and i'll be able to play guitar again. she'll come with me to bulgaria.

so, as its been warrented, a little on turkey:

i have some friends coming out here next year and often i think about what it would like to bring someone into this world i've landed in. in the past i've been an open eyed and curious wanderer of new cities always eager to see everything and absorb it as my own. istanbul has been different for some reason. my niche that i've stumbled into is quite small however without borders. i live and love on the european side in taksim. this part of town is the central attraction of nightlife in istanbul where its easy to have a fun and budget-varying night out. the streets are always crowded and its easy to meet people from all over, especially at the far end in tünel which is a haven for expats. i prefer a handful of my tribesmen and women which i've chanced upon in the last few months, they are as close to me as the friends i've made anywhere and i wish in a beautiful way that we could combine forces someday. speaking of this i mentioned i have some friends coming out. so as i wander the streets i'm always thinking about how cool it will be to bring an outsider into town especially people i'm so fond of.

there is another spin on istanbul that i am gratefully blessed with, i also have a second scene on the asian side where there is an entirely different aroma of life. i've learned long ago that when i came out here i was placed with people of the like and it's superficially obvious. soon, when i come back from bulgaria i will have a new apartment where i can finally set up creative shop and sleep on a pile of cushions i've been collecting. from there it is only a few short weeks before egypt. our team is a bless-ed one. we are actually venturing so far south that we are in stone's throw of the sudan border. we've got quite a journey ahead of us including an aquatic voyage down the nile traveling and sleeping on boats. a debaucherous night out last week with the five of us gave a nice foreshadow of the fun and potential we have together. we somehow fit well into each others' lives and i'm thankful to have met these wonderful people. the tribe grows too. there are many among us not affiliated with our trip to egypt however deeply woven in the fibers of tribal istanbul. travelers and transients alike we each know the role we fit in among each other and we are all painfully aware of the temporariness promised before us. the future is beautifully uncertain and although it is easy to speculate a grand journey to kyrgyzstan it is also easy to forget that one day you might wake up with a finger more or less missing.. yeah halloween 09.. dont worry, it's getting better i think.

in this day of lovely interconnectedness i see the bridge between my life in istanbul, my life in detroit, my life in samoa, my life in central america and anywhere else i've wandered or will wander. live and love, mookfish.

a bless-ed picture from sofia, bulgaria cleverly tagged on facebook as myself (on the right) and christopher graham, my bulgaria travel mate (on the left). dibs.