Category Archives: History

Kars’ Secret


The ancient Silk Road bridge standing on either side of the Turkish Armenian border is the symbolic gateway to Ani and this region - aiding foreigners in their travel to and between Anatolia.

The ancient Silk Road bridge standing on either side of the Turkish Armenian border is the symbolic gateway to Ani and this region – aiding foreigners in their travel to and between Anatolia.

Kars has a secret. Walk to the Police Station near the west end of town, past the security, up the stairs, take a right, walk three offices down and through the entrance marked “Yabanci Subesi.”  The desks and file cabinets shift every few months, but once you sit down in the latest seating arrangements and chat for 20 minutes or so, the secret I am talking about will poke it’s head through the door and say, “salam.”

Kars is filled with foreigners. (more…)

God Pities the Foreigner


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I am a foreigner.

I was born and raised in the US, I immigrated to Turkey when I was 21 and I have since fallen in love with the country and stayed. I worked hard to learn the language. When I arrived, though I couldn’t count to 10, I was placed in a classroom of people who had been studying for 3 years, because beginner Turkish was cancelled. There was not enough interest. Classes were from 9-1, I had private tutoring from 2-4, and I watched Turkish movies and rehearsed Turkish songs from 6-9 pm. It was nearly 12 hours of Turkish for over 6 months. I went through three schools, and on the weekends I sat and did homework with my boyfriend’s family, who kept a cautious eye and a bottomless bowl of fruit next to me at all times. Read the rest of this entry

Explorer’s Journal: High Prices and Honey Festivals Hint At Future For Macahel Biosphere


Phrase from Field: The 14′th Annual Macahel Honey Festival lacks its regular enthusiasm as bureaucracy, speeches, and road-blocking clouds close in on the rings of dancers, the lip smacking children, and the stacks of honey priced high, declaring a new kind of future for the ancient biosphere.

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Explorer’s Journal: Dropping 2,700 Meters, Nine Hours, Downhill, Through ‘Nam. And You Better Leave the Forest By Six.


 

Phrase from Field: Eager hands direct us to thick scratchy rhododendron bushes, promising a fast route down the 2,700 meter drop through the Macaheli cloud forest maze, mentioning little of waterfalls, river crossings, or the labyrinth of towering trees and their karakovan hives, beacons of history reminding us of the final words of mountain villagers, “Make sure you leave the forest by six.”

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We’re in Tblisi Searching for the World’s Oldest Honey (Oh, and P.S., We need help)


Gamarjoba! We’re in Georgia, a country that feels tipsily young, energetic, inventive, and rebellious – an incredible feat considering that it’s one of the world’s oldest cultures and peoples (if you’ve met a Georgian before you know that Georgia boasts the world’s oldest wine as well as the oldest human remains outside of Africa). Read the rest of this entry

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