My most intimate experience with a bear was not in Alaska, it was in Albania. A man in our neighborhood had a pet bear that was also his source of income. He and the bear walked around Tirana, he gathered … Continue reading Smart Bears
Ramadan is a movable fast/feast. Back in 2008 it was in August and September. Here is a letter that I wrote to my extended family back then, before I started blogging. I did not think it was appropriate to blog … Continue reading Ramadan Mubarak.
The posts below are all from a working trip to Istanbul in May 2016. The first picture is or the old Roman aquaduct. Then there are the city walls. You can see where they are being rebuilt and where they … Continue reading Istanbul 2016
Suzi and I are running a workshop in a Hilton Hotel in Istanbul. We’re working with Syrian broadcasters. We could be in any Hilton Hotel in the world. This one is far from the interesting parts of the city, surrounded … Continue reading Istanbul Oddities.
Thursday night was our last night before I took off for Tbilisi. At sundown we were on the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn. It was a beautiful night with the call to prayer melding with tram bells and music … Continue reading Golden Horn at Dusk
One evening, at sunset, we went to the park between Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. We watched the night architectural lights come on at both buildings as the sun set and the evening call to prayer came from three … Continue reading Evening Call to Prayer
Instnbul has a hop on- hop off boat that cruises between Europe and Asia in a two hour round trip. Continue reading Istanbul’s Hop on – Hop off Boat
We took the new light rail to the Spice Market. This week Istanbul is full of the world’s humanitarian aid leaders, at the Humanitarian Summit, but because of terrorism threats tourism overall is way down. One man said “come into … Continue reading Istanbul Spice Market
On Monday we met our friend Andrea Lemieux, a former IREX, colleague for lunch and a visit to one of her favorite places in Istanbul. The Kariye Museum (Chora Church). Constantine built it outside the walls of Constantinople, although this … Continue reading The Kariye Museum (Chora Church)
The last time we were in Istanbul the Suleymaniye Mosque was closed for renovation. This trip I finally got in to see a mosque that has intrigued me since I took a history of architecture class at St. Olaf. I … Continue reading Suleymaniye Mosque
Istanbul (not Constantinople) loves cats. According to Andrea some neighborhoods have free cat clinics where vets care for strays. Some folks take their pet cats to the clinic for free care. People leave bowls of water and people keep kitty kibble … Continue reading Kitties of Constantinople
These are two letters from Serbia I wrote about Thanksgiving from 2010 and 2011. 2010 (Suzi is in Egypt, I am in Belgrade, Serbia) Thanksgiving morning was the first cold, clear day of the season. Some of the lights in … Continue reading Thanksgiving in Serbia, 2010 and 2011
1995, Tirana, Albania The Rogner Hotel in Tirana had a big Thanksgiving feed this year. We took our neighbors Vera, Syri and Eda with us. They often express curiosity about this hotel, so we saw our chance. No one understands … Continue reading Thanksgiving in Albania,1995. With Bob Dylan
It’s Throwback Thursday. This is a letter from November, 1993. I edited out the middle of the letter, where I talk about our time in Vlora, for reasons of length. But I remember we went swimming in the Adriatic Sea … Continue reading A 1993 Albanian Bus Adventure, Tirana to Vlora and back
This is a letter from 1993. I pulled it out of my digital files because an Albanian friend posted pictures from this area on Facebook. I got into a Facebook conversation with several Albanian friends about the pictures and this … Continue reading A Trip to Northern Albania, 1993
This coming Tuesday is primary election day in Alaska. I’m beginning my “Throwback Thursday” posts with my family letter about being a municipal election monitor in Albania. Albania was a new democracy and people took their newly won privileges … Continue reading Albanian Municipal Election Day, 1996
I enjoy the World Cup, watching games at various venues in Sitka. (Football is better watched in community. Besides, I don’t own a Television. The picture at the top is at the Pizza Express, a Mexican Restaurant in Sitka, the … Continue reading Remembering World Cups Past.
This is continuation, from the same letter I posted from yesterday. It is early for Easter but I thought the two posts should go together. Easter, 2001 In front of St. Marko’s church are stalls selling Easter candies and beautifully … Continue reading Belgrade, Easter 2001 (continued from post before)
April 15, 2001(Easter Sunday) Belgrade, Yugoslavia Dear Friends, Religion in Serbia is struggling to find itself after 45 years of official atheism followed by 10 years in which being a Serb, Croat or Bosniak was defined by religion since appearance … Continue reading Lent and Easter in Belgrade
Carnival is over. In some places it continues into Lent with the funeral of Vaal (Carnival) which starts penitently enough but becomes a second bacchanal. We experienced something different in Belgrade. As an excerpt from this letter from May 2009 … Continue reading Carnival Lisbon, Apres Carnival, Belgrade
This is Fat Tuesday: Carnival. I went back through my files for stories about Carnival and came on this letter from Dubrovnik written in March 2000. Dear Friends, Polka, not samba, not calypso, not second line, not even “Carnival in … Continue reading Carnival in Dubrovnik
This is a second look at Old New Year. If you want more background please look at yesterday’s post. 2001, In Belgrade right after the fall of Milosevic: We’ve been dropped back into the holiday season after it has ended … Continue reading Old New Year, Serbia
This is Old New Year’s Eve, January 13. Today and tomorrow I’m posting about this strange holiday from letters I wrote between 1996 and 2011, today 1996 – 2000. 1996: “Old New Year” sounds like an oxymoron, but in Macedonia … Continue reading Old New Year, Macedonia and Montenegro
New Year’s Eve is not my holiday. I’ve attended New Year celebrations in lots of places, but mostly as an observer, not a celebrant. The forced gaiety makes me uncomfortable. This year I observed New Year’s celebrations in Anchorage. Each … Continue reading New Year’s Eve, Albania — Anchorage