Hell and the Hookah Bar

 

Image from Cindy
Sailing toward Turkey

Hell is the nickname for Helena and she met up with our group on the Greece trip and tagged along. She’s from Bristol and a geologist, but I think of her as a gypsy, for her lifestyle is devoted to traveling and she’s been all over the world. At 32, she has a free-spirited attitude and a zest for interacting with everyone she meets. I remember feeling invincible at her age. I don’t feel much like that twenty years later. When we stopped at the port of Kusadasi, Turkey, I was a little nervous getting off the boat. The bazaar wasn’t my idea of fun because I dislike being accosted by the salespeople who try and steer you into the stores to buy jewelry or expensive trinkets. She suggested leaving the bazaar and exploring the streets of the city. I thought it might be dangerous. I imagined dark alleys and hearing only a strange language I had no idea how to interpret. What if something went wrong? Jim and Hell thought it would be fun to walk around the main streets. I went along with them out of peer pressure, but I wasn’t happy about it. The rest of the group was fine and busy, so I had some free time. Do I stay safely behind or venture out and explore? What a silly question!

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A Kusadasi pedestrian street

We didn’t go far. Just a few blocks down the main avenue which was still touristy, but it was quiet and bright at noon. I was fearful a bomb would explode or we’d be attacked by rioters. I believe the media’s constant spewing of atrocities is creating a culture of fear; it had its hooks in me. It was hot and Hell wanted to sit at a cafe and watch the people go by.

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Jim selected a cafe in cool shadows, and before I knew it, Hell had ordered peach flavored tobacco for the Hookah. The owner and servers were generous and friendly. With broken English, they waited on us as we sipped beer and smoked. It was something I never thought I’d be doing, smoking the hookah. This two-hour respite from herding the group was a highlight of the trip. I wouldn’t have done it if Hell hadn’t been there. I studied her as we three talked about our lives, politics (2 minutes only), and traveling exploits.

The digression from my comfort zone was a reminder how important it is not to hide behind imagined fears. My personal saying is, “Nine out of ten things you worry about don’t come true.” I let my worries get the better of me, almost. Looking at Hell as she animatedly talked reminded me of someone I once knew. I saw a younger version of myself. Where did that fearless woman go? Who is this older woman today who recoils from spontaneity?

So we smoked. We laughed. We created a memory. My morals weren’t compromised. The day remained sunny and calm. Strangers were friendly and courteous. Thanks, Hell!

Five Shots: The Coast of Rhodes

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Rhodes, northern beach on the windy, west side.

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Colossus, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

Over 2,000 years ago an earthquake shook and destroyed the ancient wonder of Colossus. I saw this article written in 2015 which claims architects are planning to reconstruct it, 3x larger than the original. You can read The Telegraph article HERE

Rhodes Harbor
Rhodes Harbor

Now a stag and doe stand where once straddled the Greek titan-god of the sun Helios, by Chares of Lindos in 280 BC.

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No alterations or photoshop. I swear it’s this layered, this blue.
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Pick a seat. Pay 5 euros
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A pebbled beach on the calm side (east) of Rhodes where it was easy to float like a bobber.
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It’s a wild ride on the west side of the island.

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Walking on the west side, select a spot on uncrowded beaches.

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The east side has the resorts and the touristy areas. This picture is on the west side, and its villages and beaches are uncommercialized. I think it’s because it’s too windy to swim calmly, yet, this is the side I’d easily spend a summer hanging out with the locals.

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Instead of a bus, we rented a car for 25 euros and struck out on our own. We only had time to visit the northeast and west side of the island. They say it takes 6 hours to drive around.

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On the east side slightly north of Anthony Quinn Bay, we ascended up a mountain top which featured a church and a restaurant.
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Since we live in Northern AZ, eating fish on the trip was a priority. Mussels and prawns for lunch.

I could spend weeks on Rhodes. We only caught a glimpse of her beauty. Which picture do you like best? 

Educational Traveling: Greece

Mykonos. A Getty image, not mine. Not yet!

I’ve moved and traveled all my life. Once you get a taste for traveling, staying put in one place is difficult. As a child, we moved and experienced different states like Illinois and Wisconsin and California. I worked full-time at sixteen and paid for my first trip to London and the countryside when a teacher offered the trip. At eighteen, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy and trained in Orlando and San Diego before stationed at the northern tip of Scotland for four years. From there, as a dependent wife (Is there a more deplorable phrase invented by a man?) we were assigned to a communication station on the coast of Maine.

I became a teacher at 38 and continued on with graduate school. I moved from Illinois to Virginia to teach, and now I live in Arizona fully vested in my career. What’s the best thing about teaching? The opportunity to woo my students and inspire them all, every day, about history? Close.

Acropolis and the Parthenon
Acropolis and the Parthenon, Getty image

I vowed when I became a teacher that I would offer trips to students such as my old teacher had. It really changed my life. In 1979, the global village wasn’t a term yet, but I learned then that experiencing other cultures fosters open-mindedness, and that’s sure better than the alternative. Because I am a teacher, I travel internationally for free. How? Educational traveling. Maybe you went on a trip in high school? I recruit students and their families and their friends to join me on trips during the summer break for 10 days. Over the years, single adults, entire families, college students, and high school students sign up for these trips. Departure cities vary; we connect at the destination. They are glitch-free and inclusive, except for lunches. We stay in 3 and 4-star hotels at the center of the city. We are transferred from here to there safely. Free time is mandatory for personal exploring and culture-soaking. If I want one, a courier who speaks the native language escorts us around and makes sure we are happy. Otherwise, I’m the courier. Passports.com is the traveling company, and I’ve been working with them since 2000.

Strangers become friends because differing perspectives enhance the experience. Learning new things, respecting your space, admission to the popular venues, free time, and no worries–that’s a vacation. Next June we travel to Spain, and in 2018, southern Italy. Have you ever wanted to visit there? Join me! Email me and let’s talk. cbruchman@yahoo.com. Okay, that’s the end of the pitch. Thanks for reading.

Santorini, Wikipedia image
Santorini, Wikipedia image

This Friday, July 8, sixteen of us are going to Athens, Greece and island hop the Aegean Sea. Stay tuned for future Five Shots posts and a report about the EU situation. The Lucky 13 Film Club will happen when I’m on the cruise ship. That should be interesting. Literally, Michael will respond to you from California and I will discuss from Greece. When Michael and I look up at the stars, they will be in different spots in the sky. What a world!

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