Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sipping cappuccino in Istanbul, on my way home!

Yes, it's true. Here I am in the Turkish Airlines lounge at the Istanbul airport, waiting for my flight to Newark.

You might have noticed that I haven't updated you on my travels lately. Well, in Ashgabat, all of our blogs were blocked, and Facebook got blocked intermittently.

What an interesting country Turkmenistan is! All white marble and gold or blue domes. Snapdragons and roses blooming in kaleidescopic proportions. Fountains everywhere, often changing colors Las Vegas style at night. Although I think I will not eat a shish kebab of awhile, we enjoyed the hospitality of the US Ambassador in his beautiful home (filled with the carpets Turkmenistan is famous for) and a party at the home of the Deputy Chief (WINE! Finally!)  We met poets, students, librarians, teachers, and had special sessions with people with disabilities. All fascinating encounters.

Perhaps my favorite excursion was to the city of Mary where, in Merv, there is an archeological dig that began just two weeks ago. Watching the painstaking work of sifting through dirt for shards of colorful pottery, I remembered my parents' story of watching Pompeii getting excavated when they lived in Naples in the early 1950s. They would take picnic lunches there, and watch as columns and murals got revealed.

We also got to visit The mausoleum of Seljuk ruler Ahmad Sanjar (1118 - 57), considered a jewel of Islam architecture for good reason. It was absolutely beautiful--and you can see pictures of it and other sites in Turkmenistan on my FB page.

I have a long trek home, but am happily upgraded so that the eleven+ hour flight will be less painful. Lots of time to dream of pasta and bacon and eggs and Gogo's meatballs. And the smiling faces waiting for me at the other end...