Thursday, 30 May 2013

Desert ponderings...

Each day different, though the heat outside smoothes over everything and seems to suck out energy... so that, thinking back over these days in Dubai, all seems a golden warmth, and what I recall most clearly are the voices of people here (the boys, friends, acquaintances...)
Inside the house, though, with the airco on, life is most pleasant. Yet all the time I find myself thinking: this is a land for camels and snakes curving through the sand, home for the ubiquitous ants (large as black raisins).
The constant water-sprinklers, showering the grass and flowers in the hot hot sun, are more than an absurdity. My great neice and nephew are climbing (mount) Snowdon in Wales, part of a fund-raising effort to assist in providing clean water in parts of the world where this is a high priority need. And here, the utter waste of resources, together with the crazy empty skyscrapers (beautiful uninhabited architecture) reminds me again and again of lines by Shakespeare commenting on people's topsy-turvy sense of values.
That said, there is something most impressive about how this desert has been made to blossom as the rose... roses abound! And I love the care that is given to education, the learning centres, the schools which my grandsons attend, the activities for very young children (swimming lessons for two-year-olds, in outdoor pools which have huge canvas "wings" suspended on high to keep the sun off the swimmers).
Half of the year the climate here is a joy. So good for children to be able to play freely outside, run and swim. But in the summer months it really does get too hot. I fear for my grandson Nathan with his red hair and pale skin. The brilliant burning sun should never reach a skin like his (but it does!).
When we were in Cappadocia (Turkey) I kept myself as covered-up as possible and happily survived (though there the temps weren't up into the 40s yet as it was still early May).
See pic above.
Like many others, however, I feel lured by the desert, would like to creep out of the house in the night and sleep outside under the stars (well wrapped-up, for the nights grow almost as cold as the days are hot!). The desert holds a deep silence. You can scarcely hear the rustling of a snake curving across the sand.
And it makes you still and fills you with wonder and respect.
Here more than any other place I've visited, I feel the vastness of the universe, and my own littleness. And wonder at people's absurdity
Looking as it were, from outside, or above, I wonder what these tall tall structures of glass and steel are all about?
Why sprinkle water on grass in the desert, as if it were an English lawn? Why eat hot roast beef and roast potatoes when outside it is more than 40 degrees?
Desert musings, while outside it is too hot to think...
Tomorrow night I fly back to Istanbul and thence rejoin David on the boat Stroemhella, in Antalya.

This was taken near Kapi Creek, on the Lycian coast west of Antalya. Distant snowy mountian, still waters of the morning (wind gets up in the afternoon).

Quiet desert, quiet sea!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Once more the desert wasteland...

Hello friends everywhere, greetings from the real hot desert. You open the front door and a wall of heat hits you... not unpleasant, just takes some time getting accustomed... Rules for hot-land living: Always carry a large bottle of water with you, keep sunglasses and hat near at hand, and never forget to insmear suncream of at least factor 30 before venturing out.
I am having a wonderful time here being granny, which entails endless reading of stories, such as The Gruffalo, Superworm, Little Nemo, Lola who doesn't like to eat tomatoes, and many others. Interspersed with the children's Bible: Isaak and I are systematically studying the Old Testament, and having reached Nehemiah are now busy constructing walls wherever possible. See pic.

This construction is a house consisting of large sofa cushions. We also played the Walls Came Tumbling Down a la Joshua, so it was highly educational!
Meanwhile Nathan dressed up as a pirate for a special day at his nuserery school. He loved the costume so much he didn't want to change out of it.

Here the pirate king has finished his lunch and is having tickle-time.
Nathan tells us happily: I'm the pirate king!

Nice to be three and a half and pretty well carefree...

Judy and Christiaan are now in New York (Judy sings tomorrow in the Lincoln Center, with specially formed choir, performing Durufle's Requiem) and here in Dubai, Rose and I hold the fort. All goes pretty smoothly.
The parents return on Thursday evening and I fly back to join David on the boat on the first of June.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

off to more deserts...

Leaving Turkey tomorrow and flying to visit family in Dubai.
Hopefully then will have time to consider the wonders we have recently seen in Turkey... Cappadocia, the Lycian coast, the crumbles of mighty empires...

And the sun shines down every day, oh joy.
And gentle breezs blow.

Though, like G.M. Hopkins's nun, I shall be glad to be "where no winds blow / and out of the swing of the sea"...

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Cappadocia and back

Have to wite a mini-novel about Cappadocia... Simply stunning. So here's a pix of me in sun-repelling garb.
We stayed in Urgup and David rented a car from Avis, and drove us skilfully along the winding roads, up steep hill and down, past the fairy chimneys, to the labyrinthine cave dwelings, along verdant valleys and to XIth-century churches hidden in rocky caves.

I took hndreds of pix and plan to make a book titled -- what else? -- Cappadocia.
Back on the boat now and it is pretty windy. I am not looking forward to tomorrow's sail. But yesterday went to the hamam in Fethiye so feeling wonderfully smooth-skinned.

But all this bouncing...
Ciao for a while.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Overland to Capadoccia

We set off tomorrow in the coach via Antalya and should reach Capadoccia (Urgup) in the evening of Sunday. Great adventures foreseen... More to follow.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

May Day in Turkey

Remembering those fragile misty mornings when we rose just before dawn to wash our faces in the morning dew...
And the choristers singing from Magdalen tower...
It does seem to be a holiday here in Turkey.
But the sun beats down here and the sea is glassy calm.
Waiting for the afternoon ruffles...
Picture time I guess...
 Here is a visible Turkish cow and a black one lurking behind...
A bend in the Dalyan river.