Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Images from Bangkok

Some of the Best and the Worst of Phuket, Thailand

Beautiful island, lots of beaches, and lots tourism. Wasn't a huge fan, but we stayed in Phuket Town which is a much chiller location than most of the beaches. To explain, we didn't stay on a beach, but we could travel to them easily. We only visited the beaches once and then moved on towards Bangkok.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Last Few Random Shots of Turkey...Just bc I Can

Last Night in Istanbul

For our last night in Istanbul we ate Meze (in the plural form). Anyways, mezes are pretty much the Turkish version of Tapas. I'm not in love with Turkish food, but the mezes in Cicek Passage were pretty great.

My friends (fellow RPCVs) Rachel and Charlie left this morning for Greece. I will fly out of Istanbul tonight for Thailand. I have a horrible layover awaiting me in Abu Dhabi. But hey, Abu Dhabi.

Friday, December 3, 2010

more from goreme, turkey

so many stories, but so little time. Don't be fooled, the girl in the first picture is my friend Rachel and not me. People get us mixed up in photos quite often. Goreme is a little city in a general area of Turkey called Cappadocia. It is very arid and has a very laid back attitude. Of course, we still hear the call to prayer five times a day, which differs from Azerbaijan's three.
Before coming to Goreme Rachel, Charlie, and I traveled to a really quaint port city in Turkey called Trabzon. I don't have great pictures from Trabzon, but it was charming, trust me. My funniest (or most interesting?) story thus far takes place on our horribly long bus ride from Trabzon to Goreme. It was 16 hours! It was horrible because we thought originally it was 12...then 14. But, really it was 16. But this is because we choose a strange day to travel in Turkey (Dec. 1). Dec. 1st is one of 4 days that new recruits into Turkey's military must report to duty. Military service is compulsory for Turkish men between the ages of 20-41. Then length of service entirely depends on age/qualifications, but the least qualified must be active for 15 months. As a consequence every single city we stopped in took longer than usual because whole Turkish families were outside waiting to say goodbye to their sons. Mothers were crying, brothers were crying, grandmothers were waiting in the middle of the was an amazing site. So every stop (there were 10-15) was emotional. I even cried once (hey, I was tired). AND, before each male gets on the bus, the other Turkish male family members throw them up and down chanting, "our soldiers are the best, our son is the best" and then carry them onto the bus. All the other new recruits get up from their bus seats to pull the new recruit on. It was a special experience, but that bus ride was very long and tiring.

Goreme, Turkey

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stop one: Tbilisi, Georgia

I've already posted plenty of pictures on this blog before, so I will restrain myself. Basically, I took the night train here from Baku a few days ago and now I'm just relaxing. I'm not trying to get anything accomplished. Nothing at all. And this is a great feeling. The end of PC Service is an overwhelming array of tasks, goodbyes, and experiences. As a consequence, I'm tired of feeling sentimental and I'm just enjoying doing whatever it is I want to do. Luckily, I'm joined by a couple of friends as well. We are also staying at Tbilisi Hostel which is a fantastically fun place to stay...with super fast internet. Tomorrow, however, Rachel, Charlie, and I are headed out to Trabzon, Turkey via Batumi.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

see you soon :)

the END is the beginning is the END

Tonight I am leaving the nation of Azerbaijan as a RPCV. I will leave on a midnight train (ok, it actually is supposed to leave at 10pm, but whatever) to Georgia (the nation, not the state obviously).

The end is a strange end and it truly feels more like a beginning. It feels like the long awaited authorization to move ahead to new areas of my life. I've been thinking about my goodbyes and my accomplishments and my failures for months now. Finally, I get to start anew and move on with my lessons in tow. I'm sure these next few months will be reflective and I hope this three month span of traveling will give me the space I need to honestly think about my service. In every Peace Corps service there is good and bad, easy and hard, and, as I said, success and failure. I want to draw out as much self reflection from it as I can.

Here are my upcoming plans as I know them:
Baku-Tbilisi November 21st night train
I will meet up with an AZ 7 volunteer named Jessica and I'm very excited to see her...makes me happy just thinking about it. A few days later two other new RPCVs will finish their service and join us (Rachel and Charlie). We will leave Tbilisi for Turkey on the 28th. Jessica will head back to AZ a few days before Rachel, Charlie, and I head for Trabzon, Turkey.

Some time around the 29th/30th we three will be in Trabzon for a couple of nights. This city is on the coast on the eastern portion of Turkey. Around Dec. 1st we will travel inwards towards the center of Turkey in an area called Cappadocia:
To be honest I let my friend Rachel plan Turkey, so I'm a little hazy on details. I do know we arrive in Istanbul on Dec 7th.
Dec 10: I fly out to Phuket, Thailand. I thought my layover would be in Dubai, but is in Abu Dhabi. My layover is between 2:30am-9am. YUCK. Then I connect to Phuket via Bangkok. Chris arrives in Thailand the night before.

After that, real decisions have been made. We probably won't spend that much time in Thailand and will be in Cambodia by Christmas/New Years. We will continue to travel in that area of Southeast Asia until the first week of Feb. After, I am headed to Wisconsin to meet Chris's family. Then, back HOME TO SEE MY FAMILY! Then Chris and I will probably settle in DC to find actual jobs.

Ohhhh please hire me someone.

I will keep this blog active until I'm actually home in DC. So mom, dad, and kind others who read this...I'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some of the amazing people I'll miss

Some Last Precious Mingechevir Shots

Sadly I cannot see these pictures as I type...but if I recall, one picture is of all our luggage right before leaving Ming for good. Another is of what we called "the chip store". It was the best store in town. Oh, random memories! And then the other two pictures are of our restaurant/bar Wild West. Love the pink cowboy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saying Goodbye to the Host Family

Pictures of the ELRC

This doesn't look like much, but looks can be deceiving. What you don't see here is the laptop computer, projector, and other tech things that are locked away in the cabinet (that the grant also bought).