Robn & Dave bring you up to date

Robn and I have been out of touch for so long, that Mark Twain comes to mind. He once said, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

We were just so busy that we did not communicate well with you guys. It has not all been drudgery. We are getting back into going for walks and stair climbing as both fun and exercise. We have been to concerts in Antalya, and various social activities here in the Marina.

The Marina cat that lives on our pier, variously called Chatterbox and “Chat a Lot”, was limping when we returned from Germany. It turned out that one of the vicious cats from outside the Marina bit him on his left elbow, and it got very infected.

I have broken up several fights during my stay here. At night, very aggressive cats move in from outside the Marina and cause trouble. This often gets unfairly blamed on the resident cats.

“Chat a Lot” and I have an arrangement, that if he will start howling as soon as he sees the cat, I will pop up on deck at any time and squirt the aggressors with a hose. They have learned that hearing my hatch open means time to leave.

The veterinarian gave him a shot for the infection and we thought all was well. But the germ was resistant to that antibiotic, and the infection grew. The veterinarian got him on a different antibiotic that worked, but there was a lot of dead skin over the abscess, and he had to have surgery and stitches. The stitches meant that he had to wear a cone around his neck, which especially at first, made it very hard for him to even walk, much less jump on and off of boats. So, he has been staying at the veterinarian’s and we visit him twice a day.

We think he will get out of cat jail on Wednesday the 28th.

Also prominent in the excitement since we’ve been back was a storm that lasted several days with heavy rains and high winds. Some friends took a video of pieces of it:

Michel and Martine of La Foret Deau provided a short video of the weather on 13 January. Note that the bus tips over at the exciting climax of the first video!

and

But the weather was such that we just stayed inside and didn’t stick our heads out. There was some damage in the Marina because water coming over the breakwater was deep enough and fast enough to destroy one portable building, and moved several others around, which destroyed big portions of one of the fences.

I think someone said that a catamaran sank in a nearby area, but I did not see anything like that inside our Marina. There are also videos on the web of waves shooting up in the air a few miles west of here. The highway runs right along the water and I would guess that some of the biggest plumes of spray were well over 100 feet high. Perhaps 200 feet. That’s spray not green water, but it made driving along that road more exciting than most people liked.

As I think I have mentioned, on my way to the airport to meet Robn, my luggage, with computer, camera, 2 GPS’, external 2TB hard disk, a bag of memory sticks, clothes, etc., original value over $3000, was stolen. The main danger was that, using information from my computer, they might have been able to get into my bank accounts and leave me literally penniless. They did try calling one of my accounts on the telephone but there’s not much you can do on the phone to steal my money.

I changed all of the important passwords, and most of the lesser ones within a few days. And I think I’ve gotten them all by now. But I have many accounts, and it is a complicated business.

That took about two weeks full time. And, happily, it appears that I have successfully locked them out. There has been no other suspicious activity.

My two existing computers are old, and Robn had offered to bring me a new one from the states. Robn and the new computer arrived 2 November. The new Dell computer died, stone cold dead on November 16. Dell got it working again December 30th. My previously better computer had been stolen, and my old, somewhat crippled computer was all that was left running. I think I have mentioned that I feel that Dell seriously misrepresented their repair warranty. They promised me onsite, “Next Business Day Service,” even in Turkey and Germany. But, they lied.

During this nightmare they replaced the motherboard three times, the input output board twice, and another major component once. Each time they theoretically repaired it, it still had major problems like no sound.

Robn and I flew to Hamburg, Germany, 12 December, for a visit with her wonderful in-laws, and returned 2 January. Her husband passed away a few years ago when they were sailing through South Africa. He and his brother escaped a long time ago from East Germany, after growing up in Wismar, where the family still has ties. They were wonderful hosts, and I really enjoyed my visit there. Robn was in heaven. The weather was terrible most of the time, but when the rain stopped, we went for long walks. There was a very nice organic grocery store (Bio is the term they use) about two or 3 km away. It was a popular destination for our walks. Many stores carry organic products.

Korn bread

The “Whole Korn Breads” were fantastic. In that context it has nothing to do with what Americans call corn or maize. It means that it has whole seeds (kernels) incorporated in the bread, sunflower seeds, wheat seeds, barley, etc.. The many other hearty breads were also wonderful, as were the cheeses from Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, etc.!

Robn’s nephew wanted to spend New Year’s at his apartment in Wismar and we were invited to go along.  I’m very glad we did. The fireworks were absolutely incredible! In America, it seems universal that only professionals do the major fireworks holidays, like Fourth of July and New Year’s. In Wismar, and I think all of Germany, the amateurs do it. And wow, was it ever impressive. Far better than anything I’ve ever seen before, anywhere!

Everywhere you looked there were people shooting off fireworks in parking lots and vacant lots or even just along the street. As you might fear, some of these were not the smartest people in the gene pool, but I did not see any disasters.

For example, some did not seem to realize that aiming the fiery balls of a Roman candle, in the direction of another large crowd that was shooting fireworks, is not a good idea. There were headlines the next day about people being injured, but I saw none of that.

The thing that amazed me was that many of the aerial bombs were quite large, and they came from literally everywhere. There was a lot of activity even an hour before midnight, and it increased to world war magnitude at midnight. And continued at approximately that level for at least 40 minutes! It gradually tapered off and became sporadic after perhaps an hour and a half. I went to bed so I don’t know.

Apt

But we were in her nephew’s apartment which was on the (American) second floor, called the first floor in the rest of the world. In other words there was another floor below us, and that floor was actually about 4 feet above ground level. So, we could look out across many of the buildings in the area, and we saw fireworks literally everywhere we looked! Major fireworks.

I think all of us have seen a red highway flare, and the maritime equivalent is pretty much the same. I would say it’s about as bright as a good taillight, perhaps as bright as a brake light. But several times I saw people with red flares that were more the magnitude of a car headlight or maybe even as powerful as the aircraft landing light that I used to have. Like a very powerful spotlight, but in this case it was shining in all directions. I wonder where they got them? If I were trying to signal someone that I was in trouble at sea, that would be a very impressive piece of gear to have.

A huge portion of our time was spent wrestling with the German branch of Dell. Robn speaks a very useful amount of German, having lived in Germany at various times. But, getting through Dell telephone robots to reach the right department was challenging. Even our German friends had great difficulty at times understanding what the German robot was wanting us to do.

And Dell Germany, has some sort of major bug in their phone system. It frequently hung up on us before we had been successfully transferred to the correct technician, and sometimes while we were talking to the correct technician. This happened perhaps 30 times. Kind of annoying. Each time it takes about 5 to 10 minutes to get back to that point. Also most of the time that we called in they gave us to the wrong technician, who then had to transfer us, with a lengthy delay.

Happily, many Germans spoke enough English to help us with various things.

The fourth time the computer was opened up, and the third motherboard and input output board, were installed, it seem to fix it. However, it seems to randomly lose contact with the USB ports. So I am going to craft a letter to Dell Turkey and ask if they will send me a completely new computer in exchange for this one. Since most of the parts that they installed in this one to repair it, were defective.

I also took this opportunity to replace my winter coat, my other good pair of blue jeans, and other important items that were stolen. I’m tall enough that just walking into any old store, does not mean that I can find anything that will fit. I never did find socks in my size. Depending on the brand, my shoe size is 14EEEE, which would be 49 in Europe. Bigger than most. I remember one time I had a pair of shoes that I had to buy in size 15 in order to get a proper fit.

Robn has also been spending a lot of time helping me organize things on the boat, correcting the massive inventory list, and getting rid of things that I no longer need. But that is a major job. She flies back in mid-February, and I’m sure that we will not be done with organization before she leaves. Even though we HAVE made great progress.

We’re trying to decide the best way to spend our time after mid-February. One thing that’s being strongly considered is for me to fly to Trinidad with her and help her work on her boat, for routine maintenance before launching. Then sail the Caribbean a little bit and find the best place to put her boat on the market.

We have obviously spent a lot of time getting to know each other better and we are both extremely happy with what we have discovered. It’s just that this lifestyle is a little complicated, and we need to simplify things in the best possible way.

I’m pretty sure that I will be flying through North America sometime between now and Summer. But, we have no idea just when. I will let you know when I know.

We appreciate all of our friends that have been patiently waiting for news. I can’t promise when the next bulletin will come out, other than it will be as soon as we can manage.

Some videos of Finike and our marina

Have a look at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WyiTTa3FYU

If you have a good connection, look at the bottom of the video window and click the little gear. Select 720 for the best resolution.

And have a look at this map
https://www.google.com/maps/place/07350+Kumluca%2FAntalya,+Turkey/@36.348024,30.2763051,11z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x14c225a3f6457a2d:0x342331e90662e19f

This helicopter video is following the roughly east/west beach from the bay at the right of the map, and ending after it passes Finike, the marina and then goes to the small bay west of Finike. You will see the D-400 highway appear about halfway through the flight.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fX1pNNfnbY

And please email me others if you know of them.

Bad Fire

I realize that is a poor choice of words. There are not many good fires. Unless they’re in a fireplace.

When I was doing my exercise is this morning, there was a huge amount of smoke in the valley, and as the sun came up, I thought it was worth a photo.

Unfortunately, each summer, due to many months of no rain whatsoever, fires are far too common.

Going bananas

Turkey has so very much to be proud of. This is just one tiny example. As you watch this video have someone standing nearby reminding you that this woman/girl is Turkish. Her English is perfect. You’ll think that she’s an American unless someone keeps reminding you.

Also, she’s making a valuable contribution to the world, and she so young, now 16, but she started this project at 14. She has only just gotten started. Keep an eye on her for future wonderful surprises.

And keep an eye on Turkey too. It is an amazing place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMR-oMpCbjo&feature=player_embedded#t=51

Is this a Great Planet or What?

This morning I found this moth here in the Marina. (It was already dead.)

IMG_7024

The wing span is 3.25 inches, 83mm. If you click on the photo it will get bigger. But, don’t scare yourself.

Many great photos of related moths at
https://www.google.com/search?safe=off&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1318&bih=615&q=Daphnis+nerii+moth&oq=Daphnis+nerii+moth&gs_l=img.3…2585.7756.0.8660.6.1.0.5.5.0.327.327.3-1.1.0….0…1ac.1.51.img..4.2.331.C_dznU-l8ww 

When we were in Mexico in the 1980s, right at dusk, many very large moths, probably a little bigger than this, would come out and zoom around the anchorage. Presumably catching bugs. This was way before the Internet, and we had no idea what they were really called. We call them B52s after the now ancient bomber.

I just looked on the Internet, and could find no mention of moths that catch bugs in the adult stage. So, I don’t know what they were doing. Mating? They were certainly energetic. But, I never got to see one, other than a blur. I’m quite sure that it was not a bat or bird. Perhaps an undiscovered species. If anyone knows the answer please tell me. 

The Cradle of Civilization

I think that I have mentioned this before, but I just found this nice History Channel video. Clearly showing that Turkey is indeed, the Cradle of Civilization.

http://www.wimp.com/unexplainedstructure/

12,000 year old, very advanced ruins found in Turkey.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/gobekli-tepe-the-worlds-first-temple-83613665/
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/06/gobekli-tepe/mann-text

In the first link, they speculate that these carvings are proof of Noah’s Ark, and the great flood.

Say what?

I have no idea where that came from! Perhaps in boiling down the story to fit in the time allowed, they left out a huge section of the evidence. It seems a bit like finding a quill pen, and deciding that it was used to sign the American Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, and to write the first five books of the Bible.

Also, the National Geographic site suggested this was the first temple. I have no idea why they say that. I tend to concentrate on what is visible, and not so much on speculation.

But, I think it is indisputable that this is a site that is more than twice as old as anything else that we have found, that was constructed by humans. And was made at a dramatically higher level of artistic sophistication than Stonehenge. And, about 2000 years after was built, it was very carefully hidden. The site provides far more questions than answers. But, it is indisputable proof that there is ever so much that we do not know about human history.

Enjoy,

Dave

50th PRESIDENTIAL CYCLING TOUR OF TURKEY

Finike Bike Race 009I have many friends with bicycles and some are into watching the races. I even know some with $15,000 carbon fiber/titanium toys.

The 50th PRESIDENTIAL CYCLING TOUR OF TURKEY 27 April-4 May 2014 just left from near the marina at 1100 this morning.

http://www.tourofturkey.org/

Unfortunately, they had the Mother of All Crashes near here last year.
http://manavgatandsidepost.com/blog/2013/04/23/crash-mars-tour-of-turkey-cycle-race/

That might be why MANY cars went by with a gaggle of bikes on the roof of each one. Prang your $40,000 bike? Here’s another. Get going!

One of my favorite videos is
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FVUa4lTLoM

But, I wish they had thrown Butt Head’s bike down on top of him.

More at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF3kAoLusAg

Dave

“Do you feel safe in Turkey?” Yes!

Have a look at these links:
http://www.nationmaster.com/
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Turkey/United-States/Cost-of-living
http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Turkey/United-States/Crime <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<CRIME

http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Economy/GDP/Per-capita/PPP

David

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
―but EXACTLY where did Dr. Seuss say that? I love it, but what is the real origin?

“Camel Wrestling” and more

I had two pieces of very enjoyable, special excitement, this week.

In Antalya, a much larger city about 2 1/2 hours north of here by bus, they have concerts on some Friday evenings. A Dutch sailor who has been based here for many years, often arranges for a chartered bus to take sometimes as many as 45 people from the Marina to Antalya for about two hours of shopping malls, a meal in a nice restaurant, and the concert for that week.

Because of the way things are arranged, often there is not very much notice. That is to say that, in the past, we only learned about it, a very few days before it happened. Awkward, if you had already made arrangements for the timeslot. Janet went to quite a few of them when we were here before, and always enjoyed them very much. But, I am often not big on classical music, and I had not yet gone.

When I missed one this Fall, that, as I recall, had one of England’s top violinists, playing a Stradivarius, insured for 2,000,000 pounds, and doing some fantastic pieces, I decided I needed to go to the next one.

Unfortunately, the man who usually does it is out of town right now, but, Edward, another very generous Dutch cruiser, that Janet and I first met in Portugal, in 2005, filled in the gap. He did all of the arranging, and finding out exactly what the program would be. Surprisingly, that often changes at the last minute.

He hired the bus, counted heads and made sure that we all got on, and all got off, at not one, but two shopping venues in Antalya. And then he made sure that we all got back on the bus and got to the restaurant, and counted us as we all got back on the bus and went to the auditorium, We all enjoyed the concert very much! And he even made sure that we all get safely back to the Marina, at about midnight.

No small task. Something like herding cats. Edward also finds the time to teach a two-hour computer class every week. Other experts in the Marina, teach other classes on appropriate subjects. It is a very nice Winter season here.

I think it was also Edward that brought it to our attention that the national camel wrestling championships, which are held all around the southern part of Turkey at this time of year, were coming to Kumluca, which is not far away. If you do a Google search on
video “camel wrestling”

It appears that you will come up with a lot of footage. You will quickly see that none of the footage, as far as I know, shows Dave, or any other human. wrestling a camel. This is only camels wrestling other camels. As is often the case my Internet connection is not good enough that I want to watch any video downloads right now.

It should be no surprise that I am opposed to any animal cruelty. IMHO, I saw none. But, the following article mentions starving them for weeks to make them grumpy. That does not seem good to me.

I think that at this time of year, when the females are in heat, if any male camel, becomes aware of a female in heat, he wants to further the species. If there is any other male, anywhere near by, he does too. The settle this by wrestling. In the wild, there would always be a LOT of this going on.

So, just the wrestling part, does not seem like animal cruelty to me at all. Of course, humans are not the only animals that like to ‘stack the deck.’ So, I would prefer to not have anything that IMHO is cruel. But, I am a guest in another culture. I think that women should get equal treatment. Education, work opportunities, and so on. But, some parts of the World do not. There are many things that I want to see, that are not how today’s World works. Get used to it. (But, I may nudge a little, here and there.)

Here is a recent article. One of hundreds of good ones.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/do-the-participants-of-turkeys-annual-camel-wrestling-festival-enjoy-it-as-much-as-the-audience-9065497.html

It is my understanding that this sport is taken very seriously in this part of Turkey. This is a government site.

http://www.kultur.gov.tr/EN,36564/camel-wrestling.html

There are teams and sponsors and a stadium full of spectators. The people sitting in front of me were looking at the schedule for the tournament next weekend in Selçuk, which is quite a distance away. They had a big spreadsheet of which camels would be competing at that event.

Since I had no idea what would be involved, I got there a little earlier than was necessary. It was the nominal time for starting, but there was not much going on. However, after a while, more and more gaily decorated camels came in. To the accompaniment of very exotic music from live performers. To Americans it was a sort of music that you would expect a snake charmer to use. No Barry Manilow here. Stakes were driven in the ground with chains to attach to a hobble connecting both front legs and another stake to hold a rope or chain that went to the camels bridle.

It seems that camels are a just like human males. When a pretty female, that is also in heat, goes by, they start salivating mightily, and want to fight for the chance to, well, associate with her. Makes perfect sense to me. Kind of like a Singles Bar. Fortunately for everyone concerned, a female camel does not have that effect on me. In fact all the camels looked pretty much the same to me.

They weren’t kidding about the saliva. I think you could get a similar effect if you had the camel chew on a 5 kg box of laundry detergent. There was saliva everywhere.

Think, thick white foam, like white latex paint, that when it fell on the ground, the puddles were a quarter inch thick or more.

They were all slobbering like crazy. You did not need to have posters explaining that it would be wise to stand well back from the camels. Although I did see three or four young boys, standing in the middle of the entrance area, almost run down by one of the camels leaving the arena. The camels all have a camel bell, actually several, that clang as they walk. It is on the seat, up on their back, not hanging from their neck like a cowbell. The little boys must’ve had their brains totally disengaged, as only little boys can. However, the handler, casually shoveled them out of the way with a push, just in the nick of time.

I have no idea of camel etiquette, but to the uninitiated it appear that there was a lot of marking of territory, and rolling on the ground, which I think has more to do with transferring scent, than scratching one’s back.

And, like most public functions the world over, there was a gigantic amount of talking by an announcer, that seem to go on and on and on. Seeming much longer since I could not understand any of it. There was a prayer, and the national anthem. And then a lot more talking, and then finally two camels, squared off in the middle of this big stadium, and kind of halfheartedly tried to dominate one another.

Not overly exciting for the uninitiated spectator. If you have a heart condition, no need to keep your bottle of Nitro pills in your hand. At least not at this stage of the entertainment.

Then there was another long yak, yak session by the announcer, and two more camels came out and tried a little bit harder to dominate one another. In these first two sessions, the taller of the two camels tried to get his neck over the top of the neck of the other camel, while they were standing side-by-side, at a slight angle to one another. The upper camel would usually put his entire weight on the neck of the lower camel. His front legs were completely off the ground for long periods of time. He was trying to just push the lower camel down to the ground.

Not surprisingly, this did not work very well. The upper camel, may have put a few points on his scorecard, but the lower camel was not even close to going down. I’d been told it was more like judo or something, in that they would try to trip their opponent. But these camels had not read that book.

I was beginning to think that maybe I needed to go ahead and do my shopping and let the camels work it out for themselves, when things got a little more exciting.

Before long, two camels were about to be introduced to one another, and the camel nearest me, knew exactly what to do. None of this, walking up alongside and putting his neck over the neck of his opponent for him. He was a ‘now kind of guy.’

As soon as he got close to his opponent, they had not yet even been introduced, he just put his feet into fast-forward, and was all over that poor fool. He had him down on the ground in no time. One slight design problem was that, apparently the one on the bottom, did not know how to say ‘uncle’ in Turkish. And the one on the top was not about to quit until he heard it.

Of course when you have a full-grown camel, planted on top of you, inhaling in order to be able to speak, may be a little difficult even for another full-grown camel.

But the human attendants were not born yesterday. These are trained professionals! There were a whole lot of people standing around in florescent green vests, and many of them had long ropes. They quickly attached ropes to various parts of the harnesses, and encouraged the camels to separate. I don’t know if you remember seeing pictures of the zeppelins, with their ground crews.

It was the same idea. You see this giant object, with a mind of its own, and you see several ropes, with large strings of ants pulling on them, trying to encourage the giant, to do something else.

It seemed to usually work.

And you could always tell when there was good news because the crowd would go crazy with applause and whistling and cheers. Although I think that sometimes the whistling was when there was a problem.

For example. When one of the early pairs of combatants, came together, one camel knew exactly what he wanted to do. He ran around behind his opponent and gave him a couple of nips.

Now, before entering the arena, there was a special man at the gate, who would make sure that there was a strong rope wrapped around the camels muzzle, so that he could not bite very effectively. I by no means said could not bite at all. Just not the full Monty.

Well, the recently mentioned nip-ee could testify that even a small bite from a camel is very memorable. He instantly took off yelping like a dog with his tail on fire. The referee blew his whistle right away. We are not sure if that signified an inappropriate move from the aggressor, or acknowledgement that the victim was clearly saying the Turkish word for uncle. But it was just a very high pitched voice.

There was only one fight like that. As I said, then there were several, quick and presumably more orthodox fights, where, at least one of the camels know exactly what to do and got to doing it.

Including one where, I wish I had a video, because, as I was taking photos, I suddenly realized, that there were clumps of humans, in small groups all around the fighting camels, that were giving boxing and wrestling demonstrations. Even some women came out and gave lessons in leverage, how the energy of a moving object increases with the square of the velocity, and other applied physics demonstrations on the nearby males.

But, after a short time, the men with a florescent green vests, escorted the volunteer instructors from the area. Not long after, an ambulance arrived with their siren going. But I did not see who they picked up. A camel would not have fit.

I would be pretty sure that the best camels were saved until last, but I had some shopping that I wanted to do, and so I went on with my day after a few hours of this. I think festival went on until dark. If I had it to do again, I would, aim to arrive about the time that I left, and watch the best part instead of the warm-up band.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I may be going to a cyber café this next week. I’m using Windows 8 on one of my computers, and some time ago they upgraded to 8.1. But I was told that it was several gigabytes worth of download, and that would be, (A) impolite to hog that much bandwidth on our barely working Wi-Fi system, and (B) take forever. And it probably not work anyway because it would disconnect several times, because it was taking so long.

So, if I do watch a particularly appropriate camel video, I will come back to this posting and annotate the appropriate part. And, as I say I will put in some of my photos as soon as I get a chance. Give me a week or two.

Just to be clear, I was told, and as far as I can tell correctly, that the camels are not harmed by the shenanigans. They sometimes cost $200,000 each!

It is not like a bullfight in Spain. As I say, any male camels tend to frequently do this anyway and these are muzzled, at least partially, and the humans do their best to not permit serious injury. The crowds of Lilliputians with their ropes run in at the first sign of problems.

Except for the camel who thought his tender bits were in danger, it was mostly more like judo then ninja assassins.

Although, there were a lot of booths, selling hundreds or thousands of large sausages, allegedly made from ground up camel. So, it may be in your best interest not to lose too many fights.

If you would like another amazing ethnic experience, do a Google search for:
turkey oil wrestling

That is wrestling, in the country of Turkey, while literally bathed in olive oil. It is not oil squeezed from turkeys. Actually here they call our turkey the ‘Hindi’. I think many of the Mediterranean countries do that. I’ll let you figure out why.

They wear only a pair of leather trousers. (As far as I know.)

When you find a collection of photos, notice that in many photos, one very oily man has one of his very oily hands, WAY DOWN inside the other very oily man’s very oily trousers. Just exactly what is he reaching for? This does NOT look good on so many levels! My mind races!

David

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
―EXACTLY where did Dr. Seuss say that? I love it, but what is the real origin? Can you find it? I have not yet.