Syria, Nine Grueling Years

Sitting in silence on a red sofa, gaze transfixed to a muted tv. January 2011. I had hardly left that sofa just watching history unfold via al Jazeera, this time I was squeezed between Syrian friends with tears in their eyes. We were in Syria and the revolution was in Egypt and of all the…

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The Rubbish Collectors of Istanbul

Faceless men and women, struggling up rain soaked cobbled hills clogged with traffic. Faces windswept and facing the floor. Ignored and cursed in equal measure. These wretched images as iconic in Istanbul as the minarets and monuments, stealthy tourists will often try and snap them as they haul a burlap load past shops with shelves…

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Black Sea

Black Sea At that (Homeric) time, the sea was not navigable and was called Axenos (inhospitable) because of its wintery storms and the tribes that lived around it, and in particularly the Sythians in that they sacrificed strangers… But later it was called Euxeinos (friendly to strangers) when the Ionians founded cities on the seaboard.…

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Tarlabaşı; An Ode.

Saying goodbye to Tarlabasi Tarlabasi is a hive of informal commerce, the streets alive, trade and toil and the struggle to survive in a city overwhelmed, carts with squeaky wheels pushed up and down the hills, hawkers crying and calling, the rag and bone man and the Sahlep seller, in the afternoons the itinerant musicians…

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The Cowboys Of Cappadocia

Strabo must have scrambled his way to the peak of Erciyes, one of the Volcanoes that surround the tectonic crossroads of Cappadocia in the heart of Anatolian Turkey, scribbling in his ancient notebook he could see both the Black sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south, he was less than three hundred…

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That Time in Cairo When I Met Mahfouz

Cairo, a steaming mess of a city that has the capacity to at first seduce and serenade you then almost immediately slap and violate you, and yet, despite it all you keep coming back for more. And here I was, back again. On the balcony of my scruffy room in the Hotel Hussein, the hotel…

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Mindfulness & The Art of Slow Photography

Mindfulness and the art of Slow Photography A Turkish friend had been going into lucid detail of the true meaning of mindfulness, a term of modern trend that can often be treated with flippant discard or so I thought. One version of the meaning according to Psychology Today is; “Mindfulness is the self-regulation of attention with…

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The Girl On The Ferry

The commuter crowd was pushing forward towards the gang plank to catch the six o’clock ferry to Kadikoy, shuffling a few steps at a time in the chill January air, it hadn’t started to rain yet but within the hour it would. In the crowd just to my right and a few steps in front…

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Down By The Creek

Down by The Creek. I have just returned from ten days working in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai. I have been a few times before to Dubai but only fleeting visits and always confirming my feeling that it’s a soulless monstrosity cluttering an otherwise pristine desert. This time because of the…

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