Older blog entries for quad (starting at number 320)

Chris was in bed fighting an unknown sickness. I was on-board a...

Chris was in bed fighting an unknown sickness. I was on-board a ferry going to the Princes’ Islands.

Beside me was a group of very pretty girls. All of who were enrolled in a summer post-graduate program and enjoying a day-off before ensconcing themselves in front of laptops to finish their final papers.

Beside me was a group of very smart girls.

I mentioned my indecision about where I’d be going next. The disarmingly cute redhead remarked that, as I like the outdoors, I should consider Georgia. She even recommended a way to hookup with outdoorsy people there.

Not to be outdone, the other girls started talking up their own homes. Each one-upping the others with increasingly fantastic anecdotes. And all very unsubtly prodded on by yours truly in a blatant exercise of comparison shopping.

Finally, the curly brunette with glasses asked if I had heard of Montenegro? “Of course! James Bond!” I replied, like an idiot. She must have been caught up in the moment, and followed up asking if I knew for what Montenegro was famed?

“Beautiful women.”

“And we have a stereotype about black people there.” I steeled myself. “That they are very intelligent and attractive. And, if you visit, then I guarantee your social calendar will be full.”

The trump card had been pulled. Dismay set in for the others for not having drawn it in their own earlier arguments.

Later, the girl from Montenegro and I were alone, treading the warm water of the Sea of Marmara. Over the sound of the waves, I asked if the invitation to her fabled land flowing with milk and honey was legitimate. Her face filled with surprise as she considered the reality of a strange visitor from foreign lands.

“You’ll have to come after next Friday, since that’s when I fly home.”

That was how I met Mira. And, as we watched the sun set from the forecastle of the ferry home, my schedule danced in my mind. I had less than a week left in Istanbul.

Syndicated 2009-11-15 05:26:00 from David Ryland Scott Robinson

Doy-Doy Restaurant

Recommended by a host of people “in the know.” And confirmed by yours truly.

It’s hidden in the warren of streets behind the Blue Mosque. Traverse the perimeter going clockwise, and keep going straight when you hit the one-way street. It’s on the right.

The food is excellent. The price is unbeatable. And, their terrace has a terrific view over all of Sultanahmet.

A group of us went one evening and found an affordable feast.

Syndicated 2009-11-13 00:57:54 from David Ryland Scott Robinson

The Bosphorus is a strait connecting the Black Sea with the Sea...

The Bosphorus is a strait connecting the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. Never heard of the Sea of Marmara? It connects to the Aegean Sea. Which connects to Mediterranean. Which connects to the hip bone.

If these relatively tiny pools of water hadn’t been a centerpiece of trade and civilization for thousands years, would they have so many confusing names?

We were on a boat. It’s a key tourist activity in Istanbul; and, our newest friends sure as hell weren’t going to let us pass it up. We sure as hell rapped about it.

Joining a Bosphorus tour is as simple as walking down to the piers near the Galata Bridge. Follow the bright signs, pay a few lira, and step on to the least rickety looking vessel.

We opted for the lowest cost. And, therefore, embarked on the time-tested act of sharing embarrassing inaccurate communal knowledge as facts.

I have no idea what the battlements are in this photo.

But, I’m sure one of us “did.”

Syndicated 2009-11-12 00:57:57 from David Ryland Scott Robinson

Istanbul Hostel

Istanbul Hostel:

One of— if not the— cheapest hostels in Sultanahmet. It’s hard to argue the frugality of a 18-bed dorm. (We later learned you could pay half as much, for an evening on the rooftop of any bar.)

With summer holidays coming to their end, it was full of backpacking students— many commiserating their concerns of the upcoming academic year over alcohol.

Faulkner encamped, resting off the kilometres and the tropical diseases. I rarely slept.

Syndicated 2009-11-11 00:57:17 from David Ryland Scott Robinson

This makes as much sense as New Zealand’s “bro bro...

This makes as much sense as New Zealand’s “bro bro bro bro” snack advertisements. And, those were in English.


Syndicated 2009-09-24 01:08:10 from David Ryland Scott Robinson

There are a lot of historical sites in Istanbul. On our first...

There are a lot of historical sites in Istanbul. On our first night, we visited the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and other nearby monuments. But what we’ve been excited for is all underground!

The Basilica Cistern was the first in what we hope will be a catacomb filled adventure.

Syndicated 2009-09-23 00:26:46 from David Ryland Scott Robinson

Cordial House Hotel

Cordial House Hotel:

It’s weird being back in first world hostels. Big clean rooms, hot showers, and beautiful women of all ethnicities. Free wireless to boot!

The Cordial House Hotel was the least expensive place we could find in a very expensive world.

I guess we’re not having a full dinner for $1 USD anymore…

Syndicated 2009-09-22 00:25:09 from David Ryland Scott Robinson

Wouldn't it be cool if English went the way of Arabic with its "standard" plus many mutually-intelli

You know the urban legend about how German was almost the official language of the United States? Well, I took that as a launching point to understand how the modern “melting pot” was born from the ethnographic salad of the colonies. The hope is to better predict how Europe’s cultural landscape will fare, post-Schengen Agreement, against modern transportation and communications technologies.

But, here’s a couple neat quotes for you:

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all... The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic... There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1915

Any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready.

Woodrow Wilson, 1919

Syndicated 2009-09-21 14:36:22 from David Ryland Scott Robinson

The Cairo Airport

Boring. No wifi. At least, no wifi that you don’t have to hack.

And, all the APs were for things like the IP telephone system or the HVAC systems.

Yeah guys. You probably don’t want to protect that with WEP.

Syndicated 2009-09-20 23:22:51 from David Ryland Scott Robinson

The guitar made it all the way to Cairo. It was born in America...

The guitar made it all the way to Cairo. It was born in America and visited Asia, Oceania, and Africa.

Then, its head snapped.

R.I.P. You made a lot of people happy.

Syndicated 2009-09-19 23:12:42 from David Ryland Scott Robinson

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