At first we were a little concerned about going to Turkey because the country shares borders with Syria, Iran and Iraq. The situation is not exactly friendly in Syria at the moment. Though Turkey is a huge westernized country and we’d be nowhere near the terrible fighting we had heard that groups of Syrian refugees were trying to board the ferries along the south coast and we didn’t want to inadvertently find ourselves in a dangerous situation, especially as our young daughter was with us. That’s a little more ‘school of life’ than we were up for. But, after discussing the matter thoroughly over a glass or two of cloudy, refreshing ouzo with Dimitri the bar-tending philosopher (aren’t they all) we felt more confident. “No problem. Nothing will happen,” and the biggie “trust me.” So completely reassuring. While absentmindedly polishing glasses behind the bar Dimitri continued with his history lesson, “Turkey says we took over their islands.” He grinned with such force that it sent shock waves all the way up and over his scarred bald head. “Well, when you are there, just dig down…under those Roman ruins what do you find? Greek ruins! So I ask you, who took over who?” Valid point Dimitri. “Another ouzo please!” Continue Reading →
The African country of Mauritius deals up a wonderful recipe of cultures and landscapes. Like a complicated dish, it’s hard to put your finger exactly on the specific ingredient that makes it so special. Call it alchemy. The result is delicious. Because of several changes in (let’s call it) ’ownership’ and some fairly huge cultural shifts, like the abolition of slavery for example, this gorgeous island has a bad case of multiple personality disorder. In a very good way. You can see and feel the colourful mingling of French, Dutch (who brought sugar and killed the Dodo), African, Creole and Indian influences in the people along with their Hinduism, Christianity and Muslim faiths. The remarkable thing is that everyone seems to get along peacefully like it’s no big deal. Take note world! This ethnic margarita makes for some very interesting food, history and people. The varied terrain makes for some outstanding outdoor exploration. After the storm we were itching to get out and have a look around this ruggedly beautiful tropical island.
*note: Speaking of itching, mosquitos chase us inside each evening at dusk in a cloud of bug spray but the itchiness never lasts longer than an hour or so. For this reason, I like Mauritian mosquitos way better than Canadian ones. Continue Reading →