"My soul is elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there." -- Rumi

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Travels near and far...

So pleased to announce that I am going to Trabzon, Turkey this coming Saturday with Julie!

I am really, really excited, because this means I will get that passport stamp I wanted before September after all.  Trabzon is only about three hours away by car, and is also on the Black Sea.  The police training program will finish up tomorrow -- I have a mammoth final to give out to these poor guys -- and then I will have Thursday and Friday to get ready for Turkey!  Mustafa helped us book a hotel right off of the main square, and I plan to pick his brain for some helpful Turkish words and phrases I haven't been able to find on the internet.

So... even though Trabzon is only three hours away... it's going to take us a LOT longer to actually get there.  Here's what we have to do.  (Frankly I am really hoping to find some sort of tour bus in Batumi, because this is ridiculous.)

Take a marshrutka to Batumi.  Take a second Marshrutka to Sarpi, which is right on the Turkish border.  Walk through the border, getting our passports stamped and our visas ($20 USD, I have NO idea why we need to pay this in dollars).  THEN, once on the Turkish side of the border, negotiate a cab fare to nearby Hopa, and then get a bus to Trabzon from Hopa.

I am not making this shit up.  REDIC, right???  I have a friend here who went to Trabzon recently, and that is exactly how he got there, so apparently it can be done.  But seriously.  I will so pay a couple extra lari or Turkish lira or whatever to shave some steps off that route.  Negotiate a cab fare?  In Turkish?  Two American women who obviously have no choice but to accept whatever is offered at the end of the day, because we sure can't hang out at the border all day.  YIKES.  I am not looking forward to that part of the trip.

But once we finally arrive, it should be a spectacular time.  There are mosques and museums and parks, and one very cool monastery that is apparently a must-see for anyone visiting Trabzon.  We're going to smoke a hookah, drink quite a lot of Turkish coffee, drink wine and watch the world go by.  Turkey is definitely one place I never thought I'd be going.

And then... I skyped with my amazing sister Eve earlier this week, and we agreed to try and make my traveling to Okinawa for Christmas and New Year's a reality.  SO.  Excited.  Japanese Christmas!  I have not seen my sister in a year and a half, and my brother-in-law Brad for even longer than that.  We're going to try and make a stopover in Tokyo too... because when else will I ever get to Japan??  I really hope that I can work with my Program and make this happen.  How 100% awesome would it be to spend Christmas AND New Year's with THESE GUYS.

Partners in crime!
And then of course there are the trips to Borjomi and Svaneti that I have to make with Julie and Mark before they return Stateside in December. :)  Hopefully before it gets to terribly cold too, although we might be getting too late for that already.  Summer apparently ends with a great big finale come September.  Cool weather, strong breezes, and lots of rain rewarded by the occasional crystal blue day.  Loving Georgia a lot these days.

Realized during my walk home last night (after an entirely pleasant evening of good food and beers with friends), that I am living exactly the kind of life I wanted.  How many people can say that?  Sure, there have been some ups and serious downs, but at the end of the day -- I got out of my suit and my car and away from the poisonous woman who was sucking my self-respect dry.  In a few days I will visit a city I had never heard of before a few months ago.  When I come home, there will be mountians and winemaking and adorable enthusiastic little students.  And a trip to Japan to plan.

Damn, life is good.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh what an amazing post. Living just the life you want! Enjoy every second! Turkey will be incredible, I want to hear all about it when you get back. And yes, lets make your trip over here happen somehow!!