Friday, March 27, 2015

Day 3

Day 2 - see Donna's blog.

Easy day

It was supposed to rain this morning but I awoke to sunshine. Donna didn't sleep well so I started a load of laundry then headed out to find Tesla - the big grocery store. After a 20 minute walk, I learned that this says "Tesla Purchasing Office"!!!  So I bussed back to Uskandar, bought groceries, and headed home.

We then bussed back to Uskandar, went under the Bosporous to Sirkeci and then wandered up a couple of team stops on foot to the #1 Trip Advisor restaurant in Istanbul. It's really not a restaurant as we would think of it. It is a hookah (waterpipe) cafe with lounging sofas, oriental rugs, narrow, winding entrance off of a narrow winding single lane cobblestone road... ih, and a delightful food menu but "the cook in the hospital" the owner said. So we exited and instead ate at the Mozaik Cafe - of course very expensive for us (lunch was $50) - which was the best meal I have had in quite awhile. We started by sharing an appetizer of grilled squid - pieces the size of an American hamburger!  Then I had East Anatolyan baked lamb, served in the baking dish swimming in veggies.  Donna had minced beef and lamb served with charcoal grilled eggplant

We rolled back to Eminous (sp) ferry dock and took the 25 minute (55 cents) ferry tide back to Kuzguncuk dock and walked home.

Jet lag hit Donna today (me 2 days ago) so we had an easy day.  As Tiana might say: "What the heck... it's vacation!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 1, morning 1, Istanbul 2015

Sunlight at our apartment happens at 5a, so I got up, took a photo out our back deck [photo], then left FS and Donna snoozing away and walked down to a hole in the wall spot that was open and had a cup of Turkish coffee (a bit chewy!) $1.10 - then a sandwich of cheese, tomato, and bell pepper $1.45; then walked to the park 150 meters from our apartment and took a couple of photos [photos].  Then bought a tokem $1.45 for the 25 minute ferry ride across the Bosporous to Galata Bridge and Eminou, then a 75 cent tram ride to Sirkeki, then figured out how to get change and added $8 to each of our Istanbulkarts, then took the Marmaray train back under the Bosporous ($1) to Uskandar, then a bus to Kuzguncuk and a 150m walk back home.  Ferry to home was 1 hour.  FS and DLL were still fast asleep.  Went out shopping while they hot ready.  5 baclava for $2.50, a gallon of drinking water for $.75, a pound of ground beef for $7 (expensive) and a medium chicken for $4 (half of US price).  Now out to our local Wednesday only vegatable and spice and egg market.  More later.

Donna and I then went out to the local Wednesday fresh market and bought olives, lettuce, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, chesse, bananas, apples, potatoes, mushrooms, eggs all for about what we pay at Ingles, but much fresher.  

 We then took the 15 bus to Uskudar for lunch.  FS came along.  [Photo]  On the way back we bought coffee, olive oil, sunflower oil, honey.

Nap.  Then back to Uskudar, under the Bosporous, and out to the Spice Market where we bought vanilla, oregano, cashews, walnuts, pepper, two types of tea, curry.... Then we went to the grocery store for shampoo, paper towels, butter, bar soap, honey, jelly.  Then wine (Turkish only) and fresh bread.  Home for dinner.  Trying to stay awake to overcome jet lag....

Sunday, March 22, 2015


What is our purpose?  Why is it that - at 55 1/2 years old I finally - FINALLY! - found my life partner?  Why the 20 years of darkness prior to that? Why - of the billions of people on earth - were Donna and I given the interest, the ability, the understanding, and the resources to go to these far-off lands and speak with whomever comes into our path, about life, and love, and the Author of love?

I was reminded of why at Sunday School today.  Donna and I are "Done"s - by that we mean we are believers in Jesus, followers of Jesus, but Done with the organizational structure known as the church which was annexed on to our faith over a third of a millenium after Jesus' resurrection by edict of the Roman Empire - the same Roman Empire which had killed Him in the first place.

But I attend Sunday School most Sundays when I am in town.  Today, while preaching from the Book of John (which is more about God's love than any of the 65 other books), the preacher began a rant against homosexuality (while wearing a blended cotton/wool suit: Leviticus 19:19 - "Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.").  He ranted on about we have to "preach the truth" to the immoral people of the world. That is what the church teaches.  What does the Bible - particularly this very same Book of John - say?

John 1:1-4 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men."  In other, simpler, words: everything was made by Jesus.  From within that tripartite relationship, the world was created through Jesus.  Everything came out of Heaven through Jesus.  Then what? 

John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."  All.  Not "all Christians". Jesus was Jewish. He wasn't Christian. For 200+ years after His resurrection, followers of "The Way" (now called Christians) considered themselves Jews. All.  All gays, Muslims, Hindi, athiests.  "All" does mean "all". So when John writes that no one comes in except through Jesus - he is repeating 12:32.

So what is "sin"?  For the church, it is whatever the preacher does not like.  For me, it is whatever interferes with my relationship with God. And nothing else.  So I can't judge your sin, nor you mine, but the church pretends to be able to do so.

And what is the Bible?  The biblidolators say it is the inerrant word of God, even though it says otherwise. 1 Corinthians 7:12 "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away."

What does It say It is?  After the stories of the life of Jesus, It says it is a series of letters of advice (sometimes from God, sometimes not - and sometimes it does not say whether or not it is from God; I believe in such instances it is not, because a message from God deserves such reference) and a final prophesy (even though the Gospel of John was written by John from Ephesus AFTER he wrote Revelation).

So, our purpose? To testify how our walk with Jesus has been incredibly blessed, to apologize to those who are put down by the church, and to always remember - as the tattoo on my right arm says: I am "Rescued from Darkness, Dancing in the Light."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Table for two, in Istanbul

Well, I'm packed - all but my razor.  One small carry-on bag for 11 weeks - and the bag includes an extra pair of shoes for me (size 14) and Donna (size 11) plus her computer and my queen-sized hammock with ropes.  Yes, there are clothes in there too - and all the various electric plugs, charging cords, jump drives, etc - two pair of dress nylon convertible pants (the legs zip off to make shorts/bathing suits), two nylon short-sleeve shirts, 6 pair underwear, 4 pair socks, plus I'm wearing jeans, collared short sleve shirt, nylon hoodie and nylon rain jacket. Extra glasses, batteries, 2 flashlights, and meds plus first aid and a candle for a romantic dinner.  I think this is the best organized I have been for a trip.  Donna's bag will be about the same size as mine - no checked luggage means customs is quicker, moving from city to city is easier - and on the no-frills budget airlines in Europe - much cheaper.