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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…

 

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Me lazing under a beach umbrella enjoying my view…

 

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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… 

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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

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America – I did you. Oh how I did you. Wrap up of my first visit.

My last post wrapped up when I went back to Texas to visit with Daddy and how I took 10 years off his life with my cuts, bruises and bleeding in his car. Not the kind of bruising I was hoping for but best laid plans and all that. We never did break open his toy bag. All that leather that didn’t touch my skin, oh well. Next time. There’s always next time no?

Next time…

So I flew back into Vegas and let Scotty know I was back. He asked if I would stay with him again and I said that I thought it was best that I spend the last few days in Vegas in my room as it’s easier for me to buy all the bits and pieces I needed to take home and I didn’t want to inconvenience him with having him drive me everywhere. We didn’t ever get another night of amazing fucking, which is one of my regrets, but I figure he’s not going anywhere and he’s not given up on me yet so who knows, maybe there will be awesome sex happening again sometime soon.

I did however spend the second last night I was in Vegas with Mr. Married. Yes, he and his wife were in an open relationship, he found me on OKC while I was over there and he was in town on business trip so we agreed to meet up again as he was the one I had a date with but had to cancel because I was dying from the Santa Rampage and he bought me headache tablets to help while I was hiding in bed wishing I was dead.

So he knocked on my door after he’d finished work for the day, we picked up our conversation from the last time we met and before long we were ripping our clothes off and fell into bed. I have no idea how we went from amazing conversation to naked sex, but I blame his brain. I’m such a sapiosexual that I’ll blame that. His brain made me wet.

sapiosexual (comparative more sapiosexual, superlative most sapiosexual). Attracted to intelligence or the human mind.
Wiktionary

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Spam + Uggs = me apparently. The equation sucks.

I don’t know what changed since last week to this week, but apparently the Ugg boot people love my blog so much they keep sending messages. And facebook. And the uggs.

40 comments overnight.

What the ever-loving fuck?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love my ugg boots (inside only in Australia) and I totally immersed myself in bogan behaviour whilst I was over in America for the visit from the Arctic early this year (and wore them outside).

I have always owned ugg boots, even when I was a wee lass.

That’s beside the point though. In America people wear them outside. Like outside where strangers can see you.

That’s just, well, unheard of. Why not just wear your pajamas outside too? Oh wait, they do.

Is this my snobbery coming through? I was taught not to wear my bedclothes out…

Granted my 2am Target run in my ugg boots and pj’s doesn’t count, I was having a Buffy marathon and my DVD player broke. It was urgent I replace it and who in their right mind would be shopping at 2am?! I was guaranteed that no one would see me.. except when I went to check out and realised the girl behind the counter was someone who was in my geology subjects from university. Oh the fail.

Although to be fair I do have this one friend who has thigh high lace up ugg boots. But he is also gay and carries it off so well that he just looks fabulous. I fear I’d just look like a frump.

Getting back on point though, ugg boots outside is a huge no no. I turn my nose at people wearing their undergarments out during daylight hours, I do the same for ugg boot wear.

The beauty being that while I was in Pittsburgh in February and the temperatures dropped below 0 quite often, my ugg boots got the workout of their life. Not outside.

It wasn’t until I went off to visit my ex in West Virginia that I broke my rule of never wearing my uggs outside. Because I figured the hillbillies wouldn’t get why they shouldn’t be worn out and I was in good company. I buried that snooty bitch and often wore them to the shops to get bits and bobs. Except if I was walking up the road to go to petrol station to buy something. Then I’d wear proper shoes.

So why then are the Ugg people spamming me? Don’t they realise that I am probably not the best person to be spamming. These things keep my toes warm at home and home only.

Except if I’m taking the rubbish out. But that’s just outside the door. And not into the general population.

No, wearing ugg boots out into the general public is akin to me wearing white tights with a black g-string on underneath and then wondering why people are giggling at me. Just.Not.Going.To.Happen.

So if you are one of those people who wear ugg boots outside, why? Is it because it’s comfy? That you think they aren’t just slippers? They are slippers, by the way. They just are.

Given that we live in a very hot country, ugg boots usually are only worn about a few months of the year in winter here. Wearing them in summer effectively would cause all kinds of disgusting foot conditions. I would imagine. Actually scratch that, I don’t want to imagine.

And why am I getting spammed about it incessantly all of a sudden?

Ps. I hate Mondays.

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Road Tripping: Texas take 2

I know y’all been hanging out for this and so here we go. It’s a follow on from here for those not up to date.

I got driven to the airport by Scotty and with a cuddle, kiss and grope and some words telling me to look after myself and get back to him in one piece I was on a plane bound for San Antonio again.

When I landed in San Antonio I was picked up at the airport by Daddy. Who drove wrapped me up in a great big hug and deposited me in this car as we drove off. We went for a brief drive where he showed me his place that he shared with his brother. I met the cat and I got to be a sticky beak at check out the books. There were books everywhere and books tell you a lot about a person.

We didn’t stay long before he drove me off to the hotel that he had booked for me to stay in. The Emily Morgan is really a very pretty hotel and I loved it. It had gargoyles on the outside, instant love for me. Gargoyles on anything. Love! It dates back to the 1920’s and the rooms were just quaint and darling. Definitely somewhere to go stay at again if I’m in town. It’s a few minutes walk to the River Walk and shops. And the Alamo.

I had 3 nights there, we spent 2 of those together, I had a night off in between to catch up with someone I went on a date with last time I was on town but it never turned into anything but friendship. He’s a lovely guy and we talk each other’s ears off.

But the first night was great, Daddy decided that we were going to have dinner close by so we went off to dinner by the river and I ate some gumbo because I was having withdrawals from New Orleans. We chatted about everything, lots of things, music, books, our disbelief in the religious icons that litter our world with such hatred and discord. The gumbo was perfect, the twinkly lights along the river were just wonderful – as was the company.

We headed back to the room after a brief walk around after dinner and sat and talked a bit, he opened the toy bag he brought along and there were all kinds of fun leather things in there – however being that I was taught to not play with other people’s toys I sat and stared at it longingly.

Which I then promptly forgot because things started to get hot and heavy. His grin widened as I undressed slowly for him with some shimmy’s. His eyes might have rolled back in his head as I started to devour him slowly. Suffice to say, we didn’t leave the room for the rest of the night and there was a lot of fun had.

The next day he offered to take me out to his quad biking ranch. His brother and he were starting a new business you see, quad biking. I was overjoyed. I might have squealed. A wee bit.

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And I’m back home, Sydney I missed you!

It’s so good to be home. It really is.

For one, I am back in my queen sized bed. Where I can roll around and not slam into a brick wall. I swear I’ve scraped all the skin off my left arm from trying to roll and waking up face planting the wall.

You see, I went up the north coast for my university classes. Being that I’m doing my study externally it means that I have to spend a week up near the NSW & QLD border.

Yes, I was there… Lismore [Source]Now, Lismore is lovely. It’s densely forested. It has rivers, I mean it is known as part of the Northern Rivers after all and since I am the smart woman doing an environmental degree I spent a lot of time waist deep in fresh water, salt water or shrubs. In the middle of winter.

Smart? Possibly not my smartest move, however at least I didn’t end up in the river head over tits in the river like my team-mate. Oh no, I just splashed my way through because I figured I was going to get wet and there was no point trying to avoid it.

What I didn’t plan on, however, were the tics.

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Road Tripping: Sobering up in Vegas with Scotty

You know, I’ve had a pretty shitty week so I thought what better way to end it than to start to wrap up my very first State-side road trip.

So I believe we left off where I woke up with the random Santa in my bed and drunk amnesia, no?

2 days of alcohol poisoning had left me feeling a bit weak and useless. My luggage had finally turned up so I walked down to the Greyhound station to pick up my pretty pink wheelie and take it back to my room and finally get into some clean clothes.

Scotty had been in contact again, requesting my presence. I begged off saying I wasn’t human and he told me I didn’t have a say because he couldn’t take care of me unless we were together. So he asked where I was staying, what room I was in and turned up no more than 30 minutes later. Settled into the sofa in my room and just looked hot and smouldering staring at me while I tried to unpack my clothes as I got more and more flustered at his staring and his caresses as I passed by. Ok, so maybe I stopped to throw myself into his lap on occasion to make out and hump his leg. I am not above my hormones, oh no.

I gave up trying to unpack my wayward luggage and sat on the edge of the bed feeling about as useful as tits on a bull when Scotty pipes up that I should just pack up my luggage and go stay with him.

You could hear the crickets chirping as I considered this.

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Road Tripping: Back to Vegas

Well, when I left New Orleans for my 2 day bus ride back to Vegas I wasn’t expecting anything too much apart from catching up on sleep. And catching up on sleep I did do. It was fabulous. I also got to experience Route 66 – from the front of a bus.

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Dancing alone in the moonlight on the banks of the Mississippi

I’ve noticed that I’ve waxed lyrical about a lot of serious topics lately and I thought I would lighten the mood by taking y’all back to New Orleans and the rest of my time there.

So after I got chased away by the guy that wouldn’t take no for an answer in McDonald’s I headed off to find the river. I wanted to read my book in peace by the water. I’d missed being by the water by this stage. Living in Sydney means that I’m near the water all the time and at the beach at least once a week. Having gone nearly 2 weeks without seeing water was making me anxious.

Hello Mississippi!

Hello Mississippi!

I wandered over and started to read my book for a few hours. At which point I figured most the shops would be open and I should go and replace that phone I lost while being a drunken wench in Austin.

As I was walking back from the riverside I walked through Jackson Square. And you know, Jackson Square is just beautiful. The park in the middle would become my go to place to read in the mornings with my cup of coffee before the heat got so oppressive.  The one thing about NOLA that I love? The history. It seeps into your bones as you are wondering around. There are tales of pirates, vampires and witches all over.  Ann Rice might have expressed the beauty of New Orleans a lot better than I am.

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NOLA – The first time around.

NOLA – it’s slowly creeping into my blood and becoming one of my other loves.

My first time there, however, was a stark contrast to my latest visit a few months ago.

You see, I’d jumped on the greyhound from Austin and decided that I wanted to skip the rest of Texas and get my ass to New Orleans for the 4th of July, Texas had a ban on fireworks due to fire hazards and being a sucker for some bang bang sparkle ooooohhh!!! I decided that New Orleans was it because you know, they are on a river, what fire danger could some bang bang sparkle pose?

This took practically a day of travelling non-stop to get my butt into the city for the morning of the 4th. Thankfully no one on the greyhound decided to use me as their body pillow on this stretch and there were no delays or sleeping on tiled floors in the greyhound stations.

I got into New Orleans greyhound/train station about 6am. The sun was just starting to shimmer over the horizon. I stepped out of the air-conditioned station and then turned my heels right around and went back in to get a drink of water before braving the humidity that reminded me of Darwin all over again. And when I say reminded me of Darwin I mean that as soon as you walk out into it you feel every drop of moisture leave your body and float away merrily while sticking its tongue out at you as you suffer..

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