Friday, 25 September 2015

Day Off

I'm taking a day off today
As in not venturing out in to the city 
And retiring to the hotels roof top terrace 
To read and catch up on sleep
And generally do very little
The past few days have been so busy
I just need a day to catch up on myself
So I will be refreshed for the rest of the holiday 

I told my family they I was taking a day off
They expressed concern
That I would overtake my meds
And possibly OD
My sister actually used the word overdose
They said it was not like being at home
They it would be a huge deal if I got ill here
Or something happened with my meds 
There have been days when I took no meds this week
In an effort to stay awake 
And keep up with my family
So today I have more meds left than I need
This morning I decided to take one days methadone as normal
And two days tablets 
Not too much
But just enough to make me slightly sleepy
I know what you are thinking
I am in one of the most exciting cities in the world 
I shouldn't want to miss a thing
But I think it's fair enough to give myself one day off 
Isn't it?

Another thing about Turkey
Everybody smokes 
And I mean everybody 
All religions 
All nationalities 
Even children 
I swear I saw a group of eight or nine year old kids all with cigarettes in their hands
Puffing away 
So I'm guessing that cigarettes are very cheap here
And also it just seems to be part of the culture
It's just what people do
It's the done thing 
But honestly
I haven't had a smoke craving yet
Like the ones I've had here 
I've literally been gasping for a cigarette
Even dreaming about the damn things
It just looks so relaxing
Having a smoke with a tea or coffee
Having one after a meal 
With a drink at night 
It just looks so tempting
But so far
I have resisted 
It seems that my second year smoke free is proving more difficult than the first
I guess during the first year
I was full of motivation and gusto
And now 
Well it's just becoming like hard work
The cravings go as quickly as they come 
I just need to ride it out

As I said in previous posts
The poverty of this country is very in your face
I went out for five minutes this morning
And was accosted no less than four times in those few minutes
Twice by children
And twice by girls
My sister and I were sitting having a quick coffee 
They come straight up to you with their hands out 
Literally begging
It's really difficult
Because part of you wants to give them something to help
But another part of you knows that If you do give them something 
They will see begging as a source of income 
And continue to do it
As wel as using their children
Which is blatant exploitation
I know when I was living in Dublin
There were a lot of homeless people on the streets
I knew if I gave money 
The majority would use it on drugs no or drugs 
So I used to give them food
At least then you know what you are giving 
Both parties win

I love being in a city
I love the hustle and bustle
The constant noise
And this city doesn't seem to sleep at all 
I live in the country
So this is a complete change of pace for me
But I love the extremes 
The silence to the noise 
It reminds me that there is a whole world beyond my four walls
A whole host of countries and cities who are as different as they are similar 
It also reminds me that I am but a mere speck on the canvas they is this earth
This life
I am not that important 
I'm just another person
Another body 
Trying to figure out this thing we call life 
And it reminds me that I am very lucky
To live in a county where men and women are treated equally
Most of the time 
A country where I can get a good education for next to nothing 
Where I can be free to be me 
Whoever that is
I have the freedom to do and say what I like 
When I like 
Where I have the comfort of being part of the middle class
Most of my problems are first world ones
And ones that can be solved 
I know I am blessed
In so many ways

Turkey Update

It's Friday today
And our holiday is in full swing
As a dyed in the wool shopaholic
I quickly located the main shopping street 
And zoned in on the New Balance trainer shop 
Where I promptly bought a pair of navy and pink ones
It was hard to know what size to buy
As my feet have swollen in the heat 
But I think I bought the right size
I'm happy with my purchase 
And that my friends 
Is about all that my budget will stretch to
I need to keep my budget for essentials like food and water

Today we got up early 
Had breakfast on the terrace
And my Mother and sister and I decided to take the ferry to Princes Island 
To hit the beach for some sun
As today was promised to be a scorcher 
The ferry trip was about an hour long
However the minute my Mum felt the roll of the boat in the water
She decided against going
So she headed back to the hotel 
My sister and I had a lovely boat ride
We sat on the side
With our legs dangling above the water 
And drank freshly squeezed orange juice
We arrived on the island at about 11am
Where we quickly located the nearest beach 
Two sun loungers 
And an umbrella 
I parked myself there with my book and my drink of lemonade
Happy as a pig in.....
My sister went in swimming 
I just paddled as I feel the cold too much in water 
It was a lovely day 
And as it started to get really crowded and hot
We decided to head back 

We arrived back at our port at about 4pm
And started making our way back to the hotel
We were walking up one of the many hills
When a man walked by with a shoe shine kit
As he passed me 
One if his brushes fell out and on to the ground 
I did what anyone would have done
And picked it up
As the man didn't seem to notice it had fallen 
I called his attention
He turned around 
And when he saw I had the brush
He put his hand to his heart and bowed in gratitude
Then he shook mine and my sisters hand
And asked is where we were from
We told him
Then he wanted to know if we were lost
We said we weren't
That we were heading back to our hotel
It was at this point that we looked at each other
And started to feel a little uneasy
He persisted asking us 
And then looked at my sisters trainers mans said he would clean them 
He told us to follow him
And he walked on ahead of us 
We followed but crossed the road when we could 
Again he followed us 
And would not listen when we refused his offers 
We practically had to shout at him to get him to listen
Eventually we got away from him
And thinking about it
He probably dropped the brush on purpose 
In order to engage us
But it's just that they can be so persistent 
That it's really uncomfortable
There is an awful lot of poverty here
And I gues people do what they have to do to make a buck
I suppose they think that because we are tourists 
That we have a lot of money to spare 
And maybe some people do
But I sure don't 

The poverty is very much in your face here 
Walking around the city last night
There were whole families who had set up camp at the side of the street
I mean little children and babies
It's really heart breaking 
My mother was especially upset by this
And was giving the families money
But then it's hard to know if that is the right thing to do
And then there is the question if these people are exploiting their children to pull on our heart strings 
It seems to be a city divided in to the very rich
And the very poor 
Everywhere you turn 
There are people trying to sell you anything from bottles of water to packets of tissues
I guess they have to make money some how 

In other news 
I am managing my meds a lot better
And taking my methadone during the day 
And tablets at night
That seems to be working 
So we'll go with that
Just heading out for dinner now 
Happy Friday to you all
And see you on the next post....

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Eat, drink and be merry...

Our holiday thus far
Has been interesting to say the least 
Today we went to the spice market
An amazing warren of different streets and alleys
Selling everything you can think 
It was really an onslaught of the sense 
The smell of the spices
The colours
The noise of people and music
The sheer hustle and bustle was enormous 
To get to the spice market
We walked over  the Galatar bridge 
There were fisher men all standing in a row with their rods
I was attracted to one 
Who had live fish in a bucket of water
Of course neither of us spoke one another's language
But from his body language
I'm guessing he wanted me to try fishing
I shook my head no
But asked if I could throw the live fish back in to the river 
He laughed
And told his friend 
His friend called me over 
He pointed at his bucket 
Which had a few small fish
And one big one 
Before I knew what was happening 
He picked up the big fish and handed it to me
I didn't know what to do
So I just grabbed it 
And threw it over the bridge
And it landed in the water with a plop
The fisherman and my family thought this was hilarious

Next we soaked up the atmosphere outside the market
And headed for one of the many mosques 
The photos below with the scarves 
Are us going inside
They ask you to cover your shoulders, head and legs
It was really beautiful there

After that 
I wanted to but my Dad a wallet 
And my sister and Mum also wanted to buy one
We approached one man selling them
He showed us a huge variety of wallets 
And told us he would give us a discount for three
We tried to haggle
But he was having none of it
Oh well 
At least we tried 

We then went for a drink of lemonade at a little cafe
Mum wanted a piece of fruit
And asked for a banana 
The man didn't know what she as saying 
And called another man over 
Next thing there were about five men all around her
Trying to figure out what she meant
Eventually Mum got through to them 
Then we saw one of the men going to the market to buy a bunch of bananas
He came back 
And presented Mum with her banana very proudly
We were all in stitches by this point

It's great here 
The people are friendly
The food is good 
It is nicely warm 
Not too much so
Now we are heading out for dinner
So I will see you on the next post..


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Sunset in Istanbul

What more could you want?
Cup of tea
Good book
Sunset over a beautiful city


It's our first proper day in Turkey 
We woke at about 8am
And headed down to the basement kitchen for breakfast
It's kind of self service here 
You just take what you want
And head up to the roof terrace
Which has some spectacular views
I was following the rest upstairs
Trying to balance my tray of beautiful food
I made my way in to the elevator 
And promptly spilled a glass of orange juice everywhere
On the floor 
On my feet 
In the elevator
A woman came and helped me clean up
And I headed up to the roof terrace
What a beautiful place to eat your breakfast 
I just had a slice of toast and an egg
As I want to keep my energy up
But I don't want to feel too full
Last night we went out for dinner
I was sure that I wouldn't like the food here 
But it was really delicious
We ordered lots of little sharing plates
Like stuffed peppers 
And various dips
Then we had two lamb dishes which were so yummy
It's nice to eat like that 
As you can just nibble away at whatever you fancy
After that 
We went back to the hotel for an early night
As we were all pretty wrecked

I've been wondering how to manage my meds while I'm here
So I've kind of been experimenting with where and when to take them 
This morning I took them as prescribed
But half way through breakfast
I was on the nod
And falling asleep
So while the others finished their food
I headed back to the room for a little nap
I slept for about 20mins
Met up with the others 
And we headed out to explore 

Our first port of call
Was the Galtara Tower
Which we climbed to see panoramic views of the city
To be honest though 
I couldn't enjoy it or appreciate it
As I was just too groggy
After about an hour 
I made the decision to go back to the hotel 
To recharge my batteries 
And have a sleep
She that's where I am now
I feel like such a light weight
And lesson learned with my meds
I will now either take them at night
Or not take the tablets at all 
All I can do now is rest
And be fighting fit for tomorrow

It's amazing 
I'm sitting here at the balcony of our room
It's 1pm
And I can hear the call to prayer in the distance 
It happens a few times a day
And there is something enchanting about hearing it

I haven't taken many photos yet 
Below is a small selection
Hopefully I will be back to myself tomorrow
And will take Istanbul by storm....


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Quick Update

Just a short and sweet post to let you know that we arrived safe and sound in Turkey
It was nothing short of a marathon of a journey
Which started at 4am this morning 
When we had to get up to catch the bus to Dublin airport at 5 20am
I had been pre warned by my sister not to go mad with my meds the day we were travelling
So I was very good 
And just took my methadone as prescribed
I decided not to take any tablets for today
The bus journey was stressful 
As we got caught in traffic 
And made it to the airport half an hour late 
So we had to rush to check in

Going through security
I had the usual rig-ma-role of explaining about my meds 
Showing my doctors letter and so on
There's never a problem with it
They just check it because methadone is in liquid form 

We met up with my brother and his partner then
And headed to the gate 
We boarded the plane at 11am
It was a four hour flight
During which I watched two movies
Had something to eat
And also had a little drinky-poo
Don't tell anyone

We had a taxi prebooked
So when we landed 
We just had to find it
And off we went to the hotel
Where we arrived just before 8pm
I swear the driver drove up the steepest hill I have ever seen 
Scary stuff!

So we are here 
It's our first night
We are wrecked tired but excited to be here 
We are going to get something to eat 
And crash for the night
Here are some photos from today....

Monday, 21 September 2015

Prior preparation prevents poor performance

So it's Monday again
Start of another week
It's hard to believe that it's almost October 
Next thing will be Halloween 
And then 
Well you know what's next after that
I won't say the word 
As I know a lot of people hate that time of year
I love holidays 
Especially Halloween
And the C word
So it's a great time of year for me in that respect
And speaking of holidays 
Tomorrow we are off to Turkey!
We depart at precisely 5 20am tomorrow morning 
I love getting up at an unGodly hour
Getting the bus
Going to the airport
I love it all 
Airports are such interesting places
Especially for people watching 

Packing started earlier this week
I threw everything in to my case
But when I saw how neatly my Mum and sister packed 
I took everything out again
And started fresh
I also did a cull of my clothes
As I had everything but the kitchen sink in there 
I'm a terrible packer
I always bring far too many clothes
I bring clothes I haven't worn in years 
You know 
Just in case 
Better to be safe than sorry I guess

I was in the doctors waiting room this morning 
And there was a girl in there with a really cool hair cut 
Her hair was shaved like mine 
Except on both sides
So the hair in the middle was like a small Mohawk
I am seriously considering getting it done when I come back 
I just have such an urge to do something drastic with my look
Something totally different for me
I guess I am playing around with my lol for a few months now 
I just want to experiment 
And change my look
For so long 
I concentrated on my weight
It was my be all and end all
But now I want to be defined by something other than my weight 
In a moment sadism 
I went to weigh myself the other day
But to my delight 
My scale wasn't working
Do I have no earthly clue what my weight is 
And you know what?
I have absolutely no shit to give
Not one iota 
And it feels great 

I was trying on clothes for my holiday
Dresses and skirts and tops 
I am slowly but surely finding out how to dress my shape in the best way
And developing my own style
It's great the way you can play around with clothes 
And find out what suits 
For Turkey
I am bringing lots of skirts and light trousers 
As well as a couple of dresses
While trying on clothes 
I was able to see what looks good on me
What is not so good 
And was able to do all this without having a major meltdown about how I look
That my friends 
Is progress

I had to get a letter from my doctor this morning
To say that I will be carrying 448mls of methadone
It's a controlled drug
And it's also in liquid forms so they always check it
But I have been all around the world with my meds
And have never had a problem
I was home
And putting my letter in my hand bag
When I found a letter from last when I went to the UK
I was surprised to see that I was on ten mls less of methadone back then
That is a distinct lack of progress 
And is in fact going backwards
It makes me wonder will I ever come off this drug
And the thing is
I would be perfectly happy to stay on it for the rest of my life
Once an addict
Always an addict 

I'm assuming I can blog from Turkey 
I will keep you all updated 
And of course supply you with many many photos