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USA! USA! (or, How KG Got Falconed)

July 20th, 2006 | Comments | Posted in Music, Personal

Sorry for the long delay, folks. I needed to spend a couple days getting my affairs in order before I had time to blog. Lemme first sum up the end of the trip and then I’ll get to more recent developments.

width="240" height="180" alt="The Alexander Sarcophagus" />Our last couple days in Istanbul were great. We the second day there exploring the National Archeological Musem and the Grand Bazaar, shopping for gifts and rugs. Other than the fact that Sasha loves to spend a half an hour haggling over two turkish lira (around $1.30) it was a blast. And the museum in Istanbul makes the one in Athens look like a joke… one interesting thing about Turkey is that it actually puts Greece to shame for Greek and Roman ruins. That was a shocker, since one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Greece was for the history.

Regardless, all learning and no drinking makes Jakey sad, so that night Sash and I went to Taxim, which is the crazy party area of Istanbul. It’s pretty wild… packed with hundreds of people all hustling and bustling around. The problem was that ever single person we talked to before we went warned us about getting robbed, hustled, scammed or killed, so by the time we got there we were so nervous we just sat in a little corner cafe, drinking beer, puffing on a nargile (hookah) filled with apple tobacco, and warily watching the passersby. It was still fun, but it’s a shame you can’t really let loose in such a vibrant city for fear of getting ripped off or worse.

The last day we went for a cruise on the bosphorous over to the Asian side of the city. It’s totally different!! All the people there are… asian! No, just kidding. It’s exactly the same. Still pretty though, and we had a nice stop at the spice bazaar near the ferry docks.

On the way home, we had a five hour layover in Vienna, so we took the little train they have into the city and walked around a park downtown. Pretty city… reminded me a lot of Gothenberg, which at the time seemed like ages and ages ago. After that, we landed in New York, where I got to meet Sasha’s girlfriend slash future wife Jen (he’s soooo DONESKY), as well as check out his apartment. Cozy, and the location is sick; enjoy the weather there, bro. We did a little bit of shopping, and I got a plane back to SF. Done and done. All in all, an amazing trip.

Falcon Strikes the DAfter a few days of time adjusting and unpacking I feel like my good old American self again. I’m back at work and now I have Chicago and Vegas to look forward too. ROCK!

Oh, and one more thing. Tuesday I tagged along with Marie and her sister Carolyn to see “Trainwreck”, which is KG of Tenacious D’s side project with Lee (as in “Lee Lee Lee Leeeeee”, duh). Marie ended up chatting with him after the show, and as she is a beautiful and voluptuous woman with sharply honed feminine wiles, she ended up dragging him with us to Lucky 13 by the skin of his libido. I’m pretty sure he didn’t like me at all because I was pestering him with drunken questions about rock and roll while he was trying to get into her pants, but hey, the man is practically a golden god… he’s entitled (um… to hate me, not to her pants). It made for comedy and some good photos, though. Enjoy.

I’ve Got A Date in Constantinople…

July 7th, 2006 | Comments Off | Posted in Personal

The Blue Mosque…but with my luck, she’ll be waiting in Istanbul.

Hello again, dear readers! We’ve arrived at the last stop on our trip; the destination of the Orient Express, the jewel of the Bosphorus, the eye of the world, the refuge of the universe, the gate of happiness… Istanbul! It’s a pretty impressive city. Stick your head out our hotel window and look right and you see the Sultanahmet Mosque (aka, the “blue mosque”); look left and you’ll see the ocean. But we’ll get to that in a sec.

Yesterday, we finished up in Cappadocia with a tour of the Red and Rose Valleys, so named for the color of the rocks therein. We also checked out one of the 40 underground cities dug out in the area for the local folks to hide from invaders. The one we were in had 11 stories, went down 86 meters, and could safely hold 4000 people for 3 months. Pretty incredible.

Last night we took a late night flight to Istanbul, checked into our hotel and crashed. Today we took a full day tour of the city, including the Blue Mosque (beautiful), Hagia Sophia (fascinating) and Topkapi Palace (worth robbing), plus the Hippodrome, the Suleymanie Mosque, and a quick trip to the Grand Bazaar. We’re pooped.

We may or may not go out tonight… we’re tired, but it is Friday, and how often are you in Istanbul? Meanwhile, enjoy the pics and this video I shot just outside the Grand Bazaar while the muezzin in the mosque next door was calling everyone to prayer. Very pretty around noon… not so hot when it’s blaring through your window at 6am. Thanks alot, God.

The Computer Ate My Homework

July 5th, 2006 | Comments | Posted in Personal

Tomb at HierapolisOk, this piece of shit computer I’m using at the Internet cafe in Capadoccia just crashed and lost my hour’s worth of blogging, as well as removing firefox, messenger, and the flickr uploadr. This sucks, I guess I have to start over.

So last time I blogged, Sasha and I had just landed in Kuşadası, which is a port town on the Agean coast of Turkey just across from the greek island of Samos. After leaving the cafe, we strolled to the Kuşadası bazaar and browsed the “genuine fake watches” and knockoff Prada shoes. Haggling is fun. We headed back to the hotel and crashed for the night.

Calcium Pools at PamukkaleThe next day we took a day excursion to Hierapolis (a ruined Roman city) and Pamukkale, known for it’s mineral springs and calcium buildup formations. Hierapolis was somewhat interesting, especially the graveyard, know as the “necropolis” (or “dead city” in Greek), which is full of sarcophagi and house sized tombs. Pamukkale was a bit of a let down. The calcium formations are pretty but not really worth the three hour bus trip each way on the most cramped bus ever. We did, however, have an awesome tour guide, Farouk: “Welcome to Kuşadası… my home town, home town of my fahder, my fahder’s fahder, my fahder’s fahder’s fahder… one lifetime is not enough to see all of Kuşadası”. Which is hilarious cause Kuşadası is like five square blocks. Anyways.

Library at EphesusAfter Pamukkale, we ate dinner at the hotel, where we met a little russian girl who worked there in “guest relations”. We talked her into taking us and a couple guys from Istanbul to a club nearby, and she brought along a few friends. American girls, pay attention: you all need to learn to say things like “OK, wee can go dahncing, but it iz alright if I breeng my four hot friends??” Rest assured, I danced my ass off.

Yesterday, we woke up and head out to the ruined city of Ephesus for a full day tour. This was the highlight of the trip for me so far. Ephesus was the capital of Asia Minor during the Roman age, and as it was totally buried before being discovered and excavated, it’s in amazing condition. The library facade, in particular, has been painfully and elaborately reconstructed and is simply breathtaking. The pictures simply don’t do it justice. The amazing thing is that they’ve only excavated 15% of the city… there is so much more lying there waiting to be discovered.

Fairy Chimneys (and a Camel)We went straight from Ephesus to the bus station, where we boarded a bus for the fifteen (yes, 15) hour bus ride to Capadoccia (Kap-a-doh-ki-ya), where I now sit. After arriving at about 7 am this morning, we checked into the hotel, showered, and dove right in to a full day tour of the rock formations, which is what this region is famous for. We also toured the old churches and monestaries here that are build directly into the “tuff” or soft volcanic rock. Many of them are painted with frescoes. Pretty, but a little jesus-y. Evidently he’s somebody important.

And here I sit. I’m finally done retyping that whole damn thing, and I’m sure it’s not as good as the first draft. Like Trevor’s dad says… tough, suck it up, life isn’t fair. Oh, and the images I uploaded were downsized because I didn’t have time to upload the originals on this slow connection.

See you in Istanbul!!

Let’s Talk Turkey

July 2nd, 2006 | Comments | Posted in Personal

So we just arrıved in Kuşadası (koo-sha-dah-si), Turkey. It’s a port city on the Agean sea just across from the Greek island of Samos, which is where we stayed last night. We’re doing a little exploring here, but it’s really hot… 41 degrees celsius, which is about 106 degrees fahrenheit. Turkey seems to be a decent amount cheaper than Greece, which is nice; I’m guessing it’s because they aren’t in the EU and don’t have the euro yet.

Anyways, today we’re just doing a bit of shopping and walking around, and we’re gonna get to bed early in preparation for the trip to Pamukkale (an area known for rock formations)and Hierapolis (ruins of an ancient city). Then the next day, we head to Ephesus, which is another ruined Roman city, one of the best preserved in the world. Afterwards, we head inland to Cappadocia, which is supposed to be beautiful.

See you next time I get to a computer!