New year in a new city… Hello Penang!

After making the tough decision to leave Sydney on the night it shines most – New Years Eve – I was up for being a fish out of water in a new world. And Penang definitely delivered.

George Town is a fabulous, mixed up, melting pot of cultures. Influenced by Chinese, Indian and any number of other backgrounds, all sweltering under the one flaming sun above us, it’s a city that’s comfortable in its variety.

Day 1 – a walking tour of my temporary hood.
















Things that rock in Turkey #4

I also wanted to call this post Iconography with iPhonography… but I’ve already got a theme going here, so I’ll stick with it.

My mama’s and I all have a bit of a tacky, but we love it (but secretly we genuinely really love it) devotion to religious icons. Not really sure where the odd fascination comes from, but you don’t get to choose the alphabet soup of your gene pool.

It’s a mish mash, hodge podge of a rocking in Turkey post, but the frescos, the mosaics, the icons – they’re all gush-worthy. Total geek-out iconography….


















On the ground and in the sky…

E and I (E in particular) take great pride in utilising every mode of transport available to us, wherever we go. Turkey has been a veritable cornucopia of options, but no where more so than Cappadocia.

To our greatest pleasure we got to explore the area from the ground


and in the sky…



Taking the ATV out was a spur of the moment, fly by the seat of our pants kind of thing. And also the gentle heavy handed persuasion of a roadside tout, Mustafa, who turned out to be hilarious fun ( and not a bit adverse to bringing out the mischievous hoon in me…)

So with me on the back of his bike (self described by him as the “crazy bike”) and E on the “safer” option we took off across the dusty hills….



The bonuses were that we covered a lot more ground than if we had hiked (our original plan), Mustafa took us to places he grew up (like a monastery we tried to rock climb – unsuccessfully) and we got lessons in driving the ATV’s. Fun! Also, being on the crazy bike, I got to (Mum – stop reading now!!!) do lots of ridiculously scary fun jumps and skids and generally just hang on for dear life.

Not something I ever expected to enjoy, but apparently there’s a bit of bogan somewhere in me after all…






Hot air ballooning is something I’ve literally wanted to do for years. YEARS!!!! So it was never a doubt that we’d take a joy ride in the air over one of the most famous hot air ballooning places in the world. And it was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. SO AMAZING IT GETS CAPITAL LETTERS AND LOTS OF EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!

It started off a slightly frustrating experience because, as has been our ongoing hurdle, we don’t speak the language.

We were picked up at 5am and then dropped like cattle into a barn-like restaurant, all hundred odd passengers going up with our flight company of choice. There must have been many more herding pens around the city like it, because around 80 balloons go up every dawn and they average about 10 passengers each. Lots of very tired, very confused but very excited people waiting around in the cold and dark!

And then nothing happened. For about an hour. Anti climatic. And frustrating. E and I ran through the apple tea and our stash of Le Snacks pretty quickly and spent the rest of the time terrorizing the Turkish tour guides by smiling at them (I don’t know why this works, but it does…)

Eventually the call goes up, the wind is right and like hurricane chasers, we’re all leaping into trucks and vans and skidding our way to the air lift site.

I think this was the most special thing I’ve ever fine, let alone favourite thing I’ve done in Turkey. Mind blowingly awe inspiring. Cappadocia from yet another magnificent angle!










Side note – I’ve written these posts from oddest of places over the last 2 weeks. Basically wherever I can find 5 minutes. I wrote this one while experiencing yet another Turkey transport system – the public bus. And may I quickly say that the driver knows exactly where the brake is. And he’s not afraid to use it quickly and often. Apologies in closing for any spelling or editing mistakes, it’s difficult to blog on a phone while being bruised by a bus!

Be still my heart, Cappadocia you so fine!

Everyone said it would be magical. Cappadocia – the prettiest (natural) place on earth. But you’re talking to someone who’s looking down the barrel of having done 7 cities in 9 days, and feeling a littlefatigued by “pretty”.

By the time our bus rolled into Goreme I just wanted some hard liquor, a pillow to put under my head (or over it, if it meant I got some peace for a few hours) and clean clothes. Which I no longer have any of. So we were already starting out with one strike.

But the magnificence of the Cappadocian (perhaps not a real word?) fairy chimneys can melt even the stoniest of hearts, and I’m not a statue just yet!

After a few missteps (unfortunately a few missteps count for a lot when a 300m, 25% incline is involved) we found our hotel – and it’s a cave! And it’s amazing! And it requires many exclamation marks for how happy it made us!!!


And even though we were the weariest people in the known hemisphere (poetic licence allowed due to tiredness) the stunning scenery perked us right up. Also, the glass of wine helped.

If you’ve seen the fake-first / worst Star Wars, you’ve seen a taste of Cappadocia. There’s contradicting stories about whether the Tatooine bits were filmed here or Tunisia. Since none of us can cope with rewatching brat-Anakin (nor would I inflict that on you) you’ll just have to take my word for it that it looks pretty similar.


The 10th century Christians were some crazy people and got all “Imma gonna carve up some rocks and make a rock city” on the town’s ass. And make it they did. And now Goreme – the area we’re staying in – is just floor to wall stunning alien-like architecture. Pictures do the beauty of the chimneys and surrounding hills no justice. But that didn’t stop me from taking a ridiculous number of photos…. 20140428-084717.jpg20140428-084732.jpg20140428-084746.jpg20140428-084804.jpg20140428-084821.jpg20140428-084840.jpg20140428-084854.jpg









Things that rock in Turkey #3

Cats. The god damn fur balls are everywhere. Particularly if food is in the near vicinity.

They belong to no one and everyone. They just exist in abundance – happy, full and meowing.

We’ve heard both sides of the arguments from the locals – spanning “if I had a gun” to “they’re part of the family”.

Why is this number 3 in the rocking Turkey countdown? Cause E is a cat LOVER and for her I started a Cats of Turkey photo album. And somewhere along the way I got obsessed with the little mischief makers as well.

So here it is! In its very niche-y entirety… Cats of Turkey, dedicated to E.










Magic number nine…

Nine hours is a long time to be surrounded by beautiful scenery and not much else to do but look at it.

Nine hours is a long time to have questions about what’s going on, but no one who speaks English (and our Turkish remaining negligible).

Nine hours on a bus is just a long time, full stop. But that was the only way we could get from Anatlya to Cappadocia, so nine hours on a bus, we did.

There’s only so long you can look out a window and admire the prettiness flashing by before you start to get, ummm, bored out of your freaking mind.. Even gawking at the people around you loses it’s fascination, and I’m a world champion gawker usually.

So we (sometimes just me) found ourselves tacking some of the big questions in life. The true, end of the world brain benders, if you will. With no conclusion to any of them. It’s tough being this insightful and curious…


What is it with the frigging cats? Who owns them, why are there so many of them and surely someone must be planning on doing something about this! Turkey is overrun by cats (to prove it, my next post is just photos of cats I’ve collected along the way…) And also, since there are so many cats, why can’t E find a goddamn postcard of one to send to Jude?!?!



Was it coincidence or consideration that all our stops coincided with prayer time (1pm, 5pm and 7pmish)? No one seemed to be doing any praying, just lots of eating from dubious Bain Marie’s found in the roadhouses we stopped at. And what is it in every one of those Bain Marie’s that looks brown and stodgy, but the locals on our bus continue to eat with great gusto?


The second bus-break was literally a Turkish delight market. About 200 meters of shops filled with sweet drinks and Turkish delight (and halva). Do dentists make a fortune in this country? How is it Turkish people’s teeth aren’t falling out?


Why is the evil eye called that? If it’s warding off evil, shouldn’t it be called the good eye? I thought giving the evil eye was a bad thing… (and reminder to self – must buy some for new home).


Is Mickey Mouse really the right look for a kids playground in the middle of a beautiful nature park?


Does that kid three seats back seriously have to stop the entire bus to pee again?! (okay, in my defense of criticizing little people, we were stopping about every 45 mins in addition to the scheduled stops, so this 3 year old could extract the insane amounts of juice that he w consuming. Having said that, the male conductors on the bus were all pretty adorable and would cover him by have at least one, often more, standing arond him as a modesty curtain).


And when will this bus ride end? I’m bored of being surrounded by stunning panaromic views…. (insert spoilt child tantrum here).