Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Rest in peace, Manuel Noriega or The story of Dr. Faustus is still relevant today

Manuel Noriega today died at the age of 83.

No, Manuel Noriega probably wasn't a nice man.

But then you shouldn't speak ill of the dead. 

Hear that Justin Trudeau?  In my eyes, your legacy evaporated in a puff of flatulence the very moment you swallowed your own tiny balls when you did not attend your father's friend's Fidel Castro's funeral.
there is only ONE MAN in this picture 

And your spine dissolved with the last bit of your credibility the moment you decided to ask an Argentinian living in Rome (who happens to be the Pope) for an apology for atrocities that CANADIANS committed on residents of CANADA in residential schools that were located in CANADA and were sanctioned by the CANADIAN government.  
Here is a picture of the staff of a Canadian residential school in Brandon, Manitoba circa 1940.  I don't see the pope in there, just a bunch of your tragically but typically self-righteous and proud Canadians.  

And this little Trudeau weasel has the audacity of asking the pope for an apology?   You got to be kidding me !  Happy 150th, you whiners !

But this post is about Noriega.  

Does anyone actually still believe the propaganda about him drinking children's blood spread by the US to justify the invasion of Panama?  

Oh right. This is the real world, so a lot of people probably still do, LOL.

But the point I'm trying to make here (more or less unsuccessfully, I freely admit) is that Noriega was a tragic figure.  He spent about 1/3rd of his life in prison. WHY you ask?

Well, he was a puppet of the CIA and was very WELL LIKED in the US for a VERY long time. 

It was only when he refused to do his puppet-master's bidding that he was portrayed as the devil incarnate in the media.

And he paid a horrible price.  He died in his home country of Panama but was despised by his own country-men and -women.

Speaking of the devil:  Carefully consider to whom Noriega sold HIS soul.  
And then think about who YOUR soul belongs to !  

Monday, 29 May 2017

Whooooh! I'm not missing. But if I should be, here are some bread crumbs ....

Leaving Istanbul becomes harder and harder for me

Cheap E-bike rental ?  This must be Mom-Town
No wonder I'm getting FAT !

A bunch of crazies !

Twin Peaks or Psycho?
There is TRUTH in there !
NOT Homeless !
The Tempest

Ein schraeger Geselle !

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sleeping in, Watching Whirling Wonders, and meeting Nilbar on a rainy Istanbul day


Now that is what the absence of work (actually, I do have to finish a translation today, LOL), inclement weather (it's raining over the Golden Horn), and a comfy bed and duvet (with a view onto a mosque) can accomplish.  
I only get out of bed by 9. 
OK, so the booze store doesn't open until 10 on Sunday ;-)

At 10:00 I do NOT head for the supermarket though (I know when to show some RESTRAINT, LOL). 

 I go back to the Vodafone store to BITCH about my SEmI-Working SIM chip.   Turk Telekom is open.  Vodafone is closed.  Lesson learned!  STAY AWAY from Vodafone. (Did you notice that the alliterations in the first sentence [L-L] was immediately followed by a rhyme [ay-ay]?  And it came naturally. No thinking required.  Am I a poet? LOL.

 It's drizzling and there is a hill involved, so I take the Tu"nel (the second oldest subway in  the world, btw) to the Mevlevi Dance Hall and then walk down to Galata Tower, where Migros is located, my supermarket/booze dispensary. 
Brilliant: This way one doesn't get wet when climbing down the manhole.
Just don't tell the flooded neighbours !

Anyone ever notice that McVittie's Digestive cookies coated in chocolate go REALLY WELL with a glass of dry white wine? Any connoisseurs among the readership? (OK so I've had a few. Of both, lol)

The bed with a terrace with a view
Huuhuuu. I liked that last one.  No wonder all the great writers were always under the influence, LOL.


WHAT time is it? I ask myself when I wake up. Did all the great writers also snooze the day away or were they more temperate guzzlers than I am?  LOL, Let's hope this is only catch-up sleep.


When the rain stops in Vancouver, it'll be dark and soggy for a while, and then the rain starts again.

I am relieved to see that those smoke trails do NOT originate at the engines

Here in Istanbul, the rain stops rather quickly and five minutes later one is broiling on the balcony. NICE.


OMG, time flies !  I have to run down to the Metro Station to head up-hill to the Mevlevi Hall for the Sema Ceremony.  

As soon as the Dervish passes by the black-gown guy, he starts whirling, slowly unfolding his arms as the rotation forces his skirt up.
Blogger's video capabilities SUCK (as you can see above), so here is a LINK to YOUTUBE. Make sure you set the resolution to HIGH, otherwise it looks like crap ;-)


So I walk down the street and a group of 3 young men walks towards me. 
The hottest one (yes, I couldn't help but notice) stops when we're at the same level and speaks to me in Turkish.  DAMNED. I wish I spoke Turkish. He might be inviting me to the local Happy Hour, LOL.  When I say "Sorry I don't speak Turkish" one of the other ones puts his hand on his heart, says "How are you?" in a way that suggests that these are the only 3 English words he knows, and the 3 are on their way again.

Fifty meters further down the same road, the same happens AGAIN. ( ONLY this time the man addressing me in Turkish isn't quite as cute ;-). This time I profess my lack of knowledge of the Turkish language both in English AND in German in the secret hope to figure out WHAT is going on here.

I'm barely back in the hotel, when I get an e-mail.  Seamus being Seamus had informed his friends in Istanbul of my arrival.  And Nilbar happens to be in my approximate neighbourhood right now and she is checking whether I want to meet.  

No time for procrastination !  I'm sitting at the Halic Metro station 15 minutes later, headed to Taksim square.

Sleeping cat with milk tray in the Taksim Metro station !
I'm circling the Ataturk monument on Taksim Square aimlessly (I have NO IDEA what the woman I was talking to actually looks like), when I hear a voice behind me "Hey German!"   I had told her that I'd be 'the one wearing shorts' because I had already noticed that NO-ONE in this city is wearing shorts (Nilbar informs me later that it is just plain WEIRD to do so in this city).

This evening's talk will be intense and interesting, so as is usual in such circumstances, I will completely forget to use my camera.  So I had to grab a picture of Nilbar from the internet (Yes, another person whose picture pops up if you type the name into Google, LOL). 

And I kid you not if I say that she looks even more amazing than in this promo shot.
We walk to the local LGBT quarter.  Now that the rain has stopped, the city's cats are visible again in the streets.  And they will be VERY present in Nilbar's chosen venue, LOL.
At first I'm going to order another glass of white wine, but then I realize how foolish that would be.  I can drink white wine ANYWHERE !  Let's order some Raki.  After asking Nilbar how to prepare the concoction I am ready to have my first sip.

It's an adventure !!! LOL

My first Raki
In the coming few hours i learn a lot about supposedly straight Turkish men, the predominant reason for divorce in Turkey (NO, NOT what you think after that intro, but strangely related), and various aspects of the Art world and places in the world to live and NOT to live (Sorry Vienna).

We leave after 11 pm because the cafe staff has started turning the chairs upside down and putting them on the neighbouring tables.  

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Translator in Transit (or Playing with my Istanbulkart)

Is it hunger or anticipation that wakes me up after barely 5 hours of sleep? 
The fact that the first thing I do is to rip open the blinds to check the progress of the sunrise or the weather might be a good indicator.

I've JUST come back from my 5 minute walk down to Metro Bridge (navigating the spiral staircase back up to my perch on the 5th floor took half that time ;-) with a bag of 5 warm croissant-like Turkish breakfast buns.  No, I didn't go to a small store with a lease in the ground floor of a brand-new Condo high-rise, but I found the Bun-Man with his cart again.

The vending grounds of the Bun Man at the bottom of the bridge
Another sign of our CRAZY times.   Justin Trudeau is going to ask the POPE for an apology for the Canadian Residential School system, which brought much harm and injustice to Canadian First Nations people.  But Hang ON!  The Pope wasn't running those schools !  It was CANADIANs with sanction of the CANADIAN government.   Justin?   If you had HALF your father's balls, you might make a half-decent premier. Unfortunately Pierre Elliot had so much balls, there weren't any left for his son.

The king leaves his castle (NOT my idea; Actually the B&B owner coined me King (without knowing what my German last name translates into) because, as he put it: You need nothing. You are truly happy. You are the king.) All just because I refused to be catered to, unlike most hotel guests.

The drawbridge
I'm back from walking the early morning streets, filled with Turkish men exclusively dressed in dark-coloured LONG PANTS (I stick out like a sore thumb!) drinking tea and talking to each other and to the stray cats, to the local Migros supermarket.  
Why YES, we DO sell LADDERS !

A Metro station right in the middle of a bridge. WHO would think of such an ingenious solution

SishaneMetro exit (the wrong one)

Beyoglu: The Nicest Tourist district I have ever seen
The booty includes a bottle of yummy Turkish white wine (the same one the gorgeous steward recommended on yesterday's flight), bread, Turkish Salami, instant coffee, and Turkish Sour Cherry juice ;-)

Tanya Lucente would like this

OMG what happened.  I passed out for 3 hours


There is a knock on the door !   I know who that is.  And he's wearing his dressed-to-kill clothes.  Me being me,  I of course assume that this is just a figment of my imagination,until he says that on Monday he will bring me a VERY special bottle of wine.     LOL! Can't wait ;-)


Stress time again (LOL!). There is an agenda and it has to be followed.  I have to go and buy some tickets for some dancing-men performance 


The internet in this place is driving me MAD. 
I might have to go east myself FAT in a restaurant just so that I have internet !

But let's look at the bright side: I walked to down to Halic Metro Station, topped-up my IstanbulKart (Think Compass, Orca, or Octopus Card), took the Metro up the hill one stop and visited the local Galata Mevlevi Dervish Hall. 

There is a little Museum (entry TL 10, i.e. US$ 2.50) and it has a glorious marble Whirling Venue.  AND (excitement in my fingers ;-), I managed to score a ticket for tomorrow evening's ceremony.  In contrast to all the other Whirling Dervish events in the city, you can NOT buy these tickets online, you have to go to the actual venue.  We'll see tomorrow whether that changes the nature of the audience ;-)

My mood takes a tumble (think semi-depression at the state of the world) when I see this message at booking.com.   I can't book a room in Turkey from Turkey???   WHAT could be going on????


It's sunny. It will be raining tomorrow, so I can't just have a nap !
Let's do a triple-whammy-transit ride !
Horse Heads with Cock

A shoe store.  How could I resist? 
With the atrocious (varying over time thoug) Wifi still in my mind, I stop in a Vodafone store in the underground pedestrian passage.   TRY 130 gets me a SIM chip with 5GB of Data, 1000 included text messages, and 1 hour of international calls.   Grandma should be happy !

Ferybot to Asia and back, LOL

How about this for a SKYLINE?  


I'm cranky and weak and tired. What should I do?  I remember that this unsatisfied and undecided state often is caused by a lack of food.  So I bite the bullet and start marching to the restaurant under Galata Bridge that I last visited 2 months ago.

The head-waiter sees me entering the premises, grins, and tentatively extends his hand.  Of course I remember him too.  He surprises me by saying "A glass of white wine?" though, LOL.  It gets even WEIRDER:  He remember TWO of the THREE dishes I ate here 60 days ago.  Unfortunately, I want the other one, Lamb chops.

Even a cute waiter whom I don't even recognize (WHAT is WRONG with me, LOL?) says "I remember you" when he brings the buns (Hmm. That sounds wrong ;-)

As soon as a bite of the AMAZING olive mush in olive oil on bread enters my mouth, I am in Heaven. My mood has improved significantly.

The lamb arrives.

The restaurant switched on the mood lighting, LOL
Due to the food, I can think again and check Expedia.ca.
AHA !  THIS is the Poodle's Core (It's a line in Faust by Goethe  LOL, but it can't really be translated )

Expedia.ca would allow me to book rooms in Istanbul while I'm in Istanbul.  NOT so with Booking.com.  HOWEVER, Booking.com is a DUTCH company.  Remember that Rotterdam unilaterally cancelled its city-partnership with Istanbul and that the Turks retalliated by sending Dutch cows home?   WHAT BULLSHIT.  How DARE Rotterdam Do that?  City-Partnerships were created after the first or second World War to prevent a third from happening.  They were meant to make people learn about people in other countries.  And now Rotterdam is using it as a WHIP?  SHAME on you Rotterdam; I thought you were more grown up !   (And guess in which city I'm spending my tourist $s, LOL and which Dutch company isn't getting them, LOL).

So a court in Istanbul continued the little game and decided that Booking.com needs a license to sell hotel rooms in Turkey. Turkey blocked Booking.com !   Not afraid to cut their own flesh, I must say ;-)

As if he heard me, the cute waiter proves me right when he delivers two pieces of FRESH Baclava with the words "this is my offer for you".