03 June 2008

Bicentennial Man

If you would like to view Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper", I believe there are a few reservation slots available in August and September. Otherwise, like me, you are S.O.L. Who would have thought (and I wish I'd thought of it sooner) you'd need to book in advance to look at one painting? Thanks, Dan Brown.

Friends, this is my 200th post! I think it unlikely that I'll make it to 300, though. I am finding less and less time these days to post. When I stay with people, as I've been doing consecutively since I left India, I try not to spend so much time on their computers. Also, travel fatigue is slowly transmuting into travel exhaustion. I recommend new readers to go back and read my blog from the beginning. Long-term readers (both of you), hang in there. We've traveled this together far on a long and winding road.

I have, for the past few days, been at the lovely seaside home of a woman with the unlikely name of Umit Ferguson--well, she married an American! Umit has just been couchsurfing herself in Greece, and I always love to catch hosts when they're recently back from being hosted, because they are that much more tolerant of guests. Those of you who know me well can vouch for how much toleration is required. Umit's house is on a hillside overlooking the Aegean Sea. My room (the best room) is on the top floor of the house; it's all windows, and I have the best view. Why? She is also the author of a Turkish cookbook and keeps insisting that I eat her food, which I keep failing to refuse. The town they live in is about 30 km from Bodrum and is a bit of a resort but is relaxed enough (Bodrum itself is god-awful touristy) and has that Greek-style "Electric Light" Seamus Heaney wrote about. From here, I can even see the Greek island of Kos, to which I am headed later this morning. I should warn you that, in the spirit of accordance with the "King's English", I fully intend, from hereonin, to refer to the people of Hellas, a la W. Bush, as "Grecians." We should be so lucky he didn't call the people of *this* country "Turkeys!"

Yesterday, I went into Bodrum proper to get a lay of the land. Bodrum was known in ancient times as Halicarnassus, site of the famous Seven Wonders of the World member the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. The word Mausoleum comes from the name of the king, Mausolus, who built it for himself. Hence, my final resting place shall be called the Syrekeum. Vegetarian burnt offerings only, please. Umit's husband, Jim, told me not to bother visiting the Mausoleum because there's nothing left of it except a giant pit in the ground. As if that would deter me! When I went, I was a little bit disappointed to see that there's nothing left of the Mausoleum except a giant pit in the ground that costs $4 to look at. At least the not quite overwhelming Museum of Underwater Archaeology housed in the former castle of the Knights of St. John let me in for free--finally Turkey recognizes my "student" status! Afterward, with nothing else to do, I went to the cinema, where a film I could only identify as "kung-fu movie starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan" was about to start; well, it certainly sounded like the kind of thing I would like...

I couldn't get a direct ferry to Rhodes from Bodrum or the town I am staying in, Turgutreis, so I must instead go to Kos, birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and then transfer. And that is what I'll be doing today. I am excited just thinking about the next and last two months of my trip: since Obama has clinched the nomination, I won't be bothered anymore by people asking me who I support. Wish me godspeed, my friends, as I enter that wicked and unfriendly place Americans most fear to tread: the Eurozone.

Farewell, Turkey, I hardly knew ye!

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