The week of death & tears

I never thought George Michael would be dead this year.

Nor General Organa.

Or her mother.

Let alone all the others we’ve lost this year. Bowie. Prince.

They say that losing all your favourites is a sign that you’re getting older. Maybe I am.

But what happens when some of those that you’ve lost were before their time?

Antov Yelchin.

And then what age is too young? I consider anything under 70 young.

Because that’s just the way it is. A full life is someone dying in their 80’s. Or at least late 70’s.

So with that in mind, when a friend posted this link to a tribute to Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa I had to share. Because thinking about her and Debbie Reynolds still tears me up. Add in George Michael and I turn into a sobbing mess.

So in light of that, here’s something that was wonderfully written and imagined.

Vale you bright souls.

Leia Organa: A Critical Obituary – Because you’re always being judged

I’m dancing with the freaks too Georgie… We’ll miss you on the dancefloor at Mardi Gras…

Round the world adventures – Part 1 The landing

I’ve been missing a while…

It’s because I went on a round the world adventure.

Hopped on a plane from Sydney to Zürich, to Istanbul to Antalya in Turkey.

Mum was waiting for me after a 32 hour flight and 4 planes later. Why does no one ever mention that buying a round the world trip means that instead of having the most direct flight, you kind of travel backwards and forwards until you get to your destination? Instead of a direct flight from Singapore to Istanbul, I got to see Switzerland! Maybe that’s why I was paying extra? At the end of the day though, I really did enjoy the scenic route. I’ll never buy another RTW ticket in my life ever again. Unless I’m doing shorter distances and more time in between plane rides.

Turkey was a lot different from what I remembered from my teens.

For one, there was a Starbucks at the airport so I got my coffee hit, albeit bad coffee hit and over priced for what it was…Maybe that made me more amenable? Who knows. Or possibly that I had flown for so long that I wasn’t taking any shit from anyone also helped. I also wanted a shower. Desperately.

Except when it came to customs. They made me pay 50 euro for a visa when I am a Turkish Citizen because I didn’t have my citizenship card on me. The other customs guy that I talked to after forking out a bucket-load of money was that the dude that gave me the bum steer could have looked me up on the computer. What an arsehole. At least I swore about him until I saw the Starbucks. Then I forgot about it all as I rushed to get caffeine into my system. Little did I know that it would taste like I was licking bathroom walls. Not that I know what bathroom walls taste like, but it’s what I imagine they taste like.

It’s a surreal feeling having flown half way around the world and landing in a land where many see your Australian passport and try to talk to you in broken English and then look rather shocked when you start talking back to them in fluent Turkish. However the more I travel the more I find that no matter where you go in the world, airports are all the same. They could be speaking Dutch, English, Korean, American or Turkish. People everywhere, check in check out & even customs. The carpets even match in a weird way. People pushing, shoving, connecting & avoiding your eyes. I’m a people watcher – especially when my 3DS has run out of battery and I need a break from reading my book. Istanbul’s airport felt like it was a total mishmash. Chaotic even. You fly through customs, then take a huge long walk from International terminal to domestic. At least it’s not like Heathrow where you have to take a bus to the other terminal. Or LAX. I guess I should count my blessings. It was a pleasant walk and one where I got to buy a SIM for my phone so that I could call my mama and check in to say I’m on time and on schedule.

But before I could figure out how to make the phone go, I was boarding my plane to Antalya. The land of endless Mediterranean beaches and warm weather. Considering I was missing winter for this, I prayed that it put on a good show because I bloody hate summer at the best of times. The oppressive heat and humidity are disgusting. And I can’t cuddle up to people in bed during summer. I’m a cuddler. I like koala’ing around someone to sleep. Summer negates this. And you sweat. Like actual sweat & stick together. I hate sweat. UGH.

By the time I landed in Antalya and got out of the airport and found my mama! YAY! My mama… who I’m really missing at the moment, believe it or not. I want to murder her when she’s here and miss her like crazy when she’s not. Figures.

For the first few days the weather was a balmy 30 degrees Celsius and I could go at will to the beach down the road and flob about. This pleased me greatly. I kinda like summer at 30 degrees. Then on day 3 the weather decided hell was winning and it needed to be hotter than hell itself. The temp soared between 45 degrees and 50 for the rest of the time I was in town. Fuck you summer. Just fuck you with a big rusty fork.

Note: It was hot. Very bloody hot. Super hot. To the point that leaving the house was just not done until well after 3 pm when the temp got to a point that you could leave the house without dying from heat stroke or blisters on your feet from heat coming off the ground and through ones shoes. Which meant that if I wanted to go to the beach, I had to be there really early in the morning, or quite late in the afternoon to be able to walk to the water without a hospital trip thanks to the pebble beaches along the Mediterranean coast. Or shop. Shopping was fabulous. Such cheap, many buy! But that’s another post altogether…

 

wp-1476158730585.png

Me lazing under a beach umbrella enjoying my view…

 

wp-1476158362242.png

The view into the mountains from the wrap around balcony at mum’s place. I tried to zoom. I may have failed. That little speck you see at the top is a Turkish flag. It made me think of how lonely the moon flag would also be… 

With all my love, Australia…

You guys know how I love to share things that make me laugh until I’m crying. And I am trying to get my shit together to write about my travels in far away lands, however it’s hard to process and write about Turkey when it all went to hell in a handbasket and the feels this gives me. So until I can write about it, here’s something to give you some giggles too.

With love, from the land down under…

The title of the article I yanked this from made me laugh just as hard:

Pride Festival – Istanbul 2016

You know, I was walking around Istanbul on Sunday – Taksim to be precise – when my friend and I noticed something a bit different. There were riot police everywhere. In groups of 5 – 10, 20-50, with gas masks on top of their heads, their machine guns in their arms and a searching expression on their faces as they sized you up as you walked past.

As we walked some more towards the main drag of Taksim, we noticed that there weren’t just riot police, but regular police, water tanks, riot vans, something looking like a tank and a whole bunch of vehicles and men in uniform everywhere. Being that this is Turkey in 2016, we got a bit worried about what might be about to go down. Was there a bomb threat? Should we be clearing out? But it didn’t look like anyone else was moving out of the way, so we trundled along and tried to take “sneaky” picture of the police without them realising as they had filled every side street along the main drag with police vehicles and actual officers.

We walked some more and got a bit more worried as we were pretty sure that the entire Istanbul police force were here. In full regalia. We thought the worst. Instead my friend decided to call her cousin who, bless her, was like the gossip spring of Istanbul. We asked what was going down, do we need to clear out ASAP? Are we in danger?

Her reply was rather a shock to me…

Oh no. Today is meant to be the Pride march and they are all there because the government has told the queers they aren’t allowed to march. I stood still for a minute and did a 360 degree turn. Just to take in the amount of police presence to stop a pride march.

I took a deep breath. And I let it out again.

Mardi Gras at home is so liberating. It’s so full of love, light and laughter. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be in the middle of a march for my fellow queer people and have to go up against so many police officers who were given the right to use gas, water and anything else they could get their hands on to stop you from marching.

This is the police presence in Sydney during Mardi Gras, they actually march in the parade to show solidarity, queer or not –

Police Mardi Gras

2016 – Sydney Police Force marching in GLBTIQ Mardi Gras

And yet, in Taksim, this is the reality of the police presence

#Pride2016 Yasak Ne Ayol! LGBTİ Onur Yürüyüşü#Taksim#Polissaldırı

A photo posted by EYLEM NAZLIER (@eylem.nzlr) on

I tried to comprehend why, why a bunch of queers warranted such a heavy presence. Were these people harming others? Were they stealing? Were they tearing the fabric of reality apart? What could they have possibly done, apart from be who they are, that could garner such a harsh reaction from the people that are meant to be protecting the citizens – not terrorising them?

It brought tears to my eyes to look up and see people stealthily hanging pride flags from their windows. There were rainbows slowly popping up everywhere and still the crowd didn’t really hold many queers.

To our surprise out of nowhere a bunch of people started to walk with rainbow flags, standing tall, standing strong – and I thought. Fuck. The whole police force of Istanbul against 20 young gay youths.

I’m not sure if there were more people that marched in different groups all along the Taksim main thoroughfare, but we only saw these guys before we decided to keep walking.

It breaks my heart that LGBTIQ pride marches around the world are still subject to this form of harassment and intimidation. That gay kids around the world would still rather commit suicide than come out to their religious leaning parents. That anyone would or could harm someone else because of who they fall in love with.

This was not the Istanbul that I was expecting to confront of this day. It wasn’t the Istanbul that I wanted to see. What I wanted to see was an Istanbul that was all inclusive. That didn’t march to the beat of Erdogan’s drum. That let pride marches go freely without gassing, water cannoning or beating my fellow queers up with batons.

Instead what I found myself in was a huge pile of doo-doo that pulled my heart strings, that made me realise how lucky I am as an Australian Turk that I can march without fear of getting a baton to the face for just being in the street during a pride march – let alone because I’m queer.

What I am going to focus on is that the new batch of children that are growing up will eventually replace these dinosaurs that are in power. They will start to run our governments and make laws that are progressive instead of divisive & hate fuelled.

And until that day I’m going to try not to weep for my fellow queers, that despite the resistance and unlawfulness of being who they are, that they keep on marching.

Chin up. Tits out.

March my loves, march.

<3

istanbul-pride-EN

My American Addiction

Ok, so obviously everyone is keenly aware that I have a very high burning love affair with that great big country over yonder blue.

So while I’m slowly selling every inch of my soul to my job to build up enough leave to go back to travel some more, I had been hungering for all the different kinds of delish yumyums that you can get when you’re State-side.

And then I happened upon a site that sold all the bad things you can eat over there HERE! YES HERE!

I couldn’t contain my excitement and may have done a wee dance of joy around the house squealing. Then sat down and ordered a whole bunch of stuff (from sauces, creamer for my coffee, drinks, herbs and snacks…)

And when I arrived I also did a small dance of joy before ripping the box to shreds and literally crying at the contents.

Oh how I’d missed you french vanilla creamer! And you, sugar filled cereals! Never mind that the chippies are quite tasty too with all those flavours that we don’t get here.

Where is this place? Oh here, let me share the joy with you!

It’s right here, called USA Foods – and sometimes they even have free delivery.

It was like I’d happened upon a Plutonian emerald… the utter joy of my discovery has kept me sated for a while.

However the pull of a Texan BBQ rack is a calling. Also gumbo. And some jambalaya.

I’d sell my backup soul for a good bowl of gumbo right about now since the weather has started to turn a bit nipply.

Hmmmmmmm gumbo.

And you see, this is where I’m at right now.

Missing for weeks, return for food.

NOM!

Oh ps. I got some henna done on my hand over the weekend at a friends daughters kina – which is Turkish for that girls only party you have before your wedding where instead of getting stupidly drunk and watching strippers, we instead belly dance the night away, make the bride to be cry while painting her hand in henna and then dance some more until they throw us out of the venue.

I needed to document the henna because it’s rather pretty.

wp-1458630932059.jpg