Merhaba World!

Okay, here goes. I’m now an official blogger. Merhaba is “hello” in Turkish. I created this blog to invite my friends, family and any hungry wanderlusters out there to join me on my travels and, hopefully few, travails. I’m off on my virgin encounter with Turkey, with a stop to and fro in Amsterdam, another city I can’t wait to dip my toes into.

The photo at the top (and below) is of Aya Sophia, now a mosque and once a Byzantine church. I love the rich you-can-almost-bite-them colours. It’s as if a chunk of the blueberry sky fell to earth as a big hooped skirt with the silver minaret as its oh so proper hat. The arches of the saffron dipped windows serve as the perfect escort. Istanbul. The seat of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, the former Constantinople. Marvelous mosques, museums, the Grand Bazaar, ancient ruins,  and delights for every sense. Yes, a Turkish bath is definitely in my future.

As for the name of my blog, suhurat is a word of the east that means to flow with the events we encounter. I’m not sure of its origin or the language from which it derives (if someone knows, please share), but I learned of it through the Sufi Tour I will be a part of upon my arrival. We will visit the holy Sufi sites of Western Turkey, from Istanbul to Ankara to Konya to Goeme and so many other places in between.

In fact suhurat guided me gently to the tour after I failed numerous times to find a room in Konya for the Mevlana festival celebrating the death of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, the iconic Sufi philosopher, poet and founder of the whirling Dervishes. After running into more than a bit of frustration over failed faxes and unanswered emails I decided to set the whole piece down.

A couple days later Andrew Harvey and Banafsheh Sayyad arrived at Hollyhock where I work. Banafsheh and I had been exchanging emails for weeks about my upcoming trip to Turkey. She was heading there for 40 days of dancing (ahh – wouldn’t that have been amazing to experience). Both she and Andrew know Turkey very well and are keen followers of Rumi. Banafsheh told me of the Sufi tour and I immediately contacted Tumata to find out more. Within a day I was signed up. Even though I had made my travel plans months ahead, I was amazed at the synchronicity, the suharat, around the fact that the tour started a day after my arrival in Istanbul.

The tour lasts 12 days and I’m toying with leaving it near the end and striking out on my own for a few days before heading back to Istanbul for another week. We’ll see. A dear friend has expressed concern over my safety, being a western woman travelling alone in this very male country. He shared with me the experience of a female friend of his who years ago, at the insistance of her father, travelled to Turkey with a helmet rigged with bike wing mirrors attached on either side so she could keep her eyes peeled for any males that may dare to sneak up behind her. She didn’t have any problems. I think it had more to do with the male Turks perception of a crazy woman wearing a helmet than any forbearance on her part. But I could be wrong.

Well, here I go. The start of an adventure. I’ll post when I can and keep all of you updated on my encounters, be they the stuff of suharat or a great cup of Turkish coffee.  I’ve got my passport, my backpack and my virtual helmet with wing mirrors and a head scarf which I’m told is all the rage in Turkey.

Bay bay! Bye for now.

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~ by Tess (Piyadassi) on November 27, 2009.

One Response to “Merhaba World!”

  1. aw, i love this. can’t wait to read more. the anticipation is too much!

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