Monday, December 26, 2011

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page

Inspiring words by St. Augustine, I hope everyone is having a great time on their Christmas/holiday break. Here are the rest of the pictures from my trip to Turkey few months back.

Topkapı Palace
the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A living civilization creates; a dying one builds museums.

Don't know if I would agree with Martin H. Fischer on this. After all the human race has the tendency to glorify its past and record it for all to see or at lease read about it. Its a sanitized version of the horror of war and destruction that has build many of what we admire whenever we step into most museums around the globe, or tour the remnant of powerful empires. Anyway, continuing on to part II of our summer/fall vacation, here are some of the amazing historical and archeological foot prints we captured on camera:
The Archeology Museum

Friday, November 11, 2011

Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.

Beautifully stated by Yousuf Karsh, fellow Canadian and Turkish Born Photographer and Journalist. Three months ago I spend some time in Istanbul and surrounding Islands with my best friend and it was an amazing journey into the past intersecting with modern Turkey. The historical footprints left by 3 different civilizations (from the Byzantine to the Ottoman empire), the diverse culture, restless nights and the warmth and friendship we encountered have enriched our tour of this beautiful country. Here are the first installment of 4 part series of our visit and the historical and beautiful glimpses I managed to capture on camera:

Hagia Sophia
a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, converted to a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul,Turkey.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese

This quote is attributed to poet G. K. Chesterton. I'm neither a poet nor a famous novelist, but my love of all things Cheesy can be considered something of an obsession. Whether its goat, cow and even camel based cheese (yes I said Camel), original or flavored, I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When we were in Amsterdam 2 months ago, I decided to look for a cheese factory and ended up at  Amsterdams Kaashuis and what an awesome discovery it was. I think we managed to spend close to one hour inside the store, going around and snacking on everything on display. Wish we bought something for home, then again Canadian Custom doesn't appreciate anyone bringing in food from overseas regardless of the country. Here are some of the pictures I took around the store, just looking at it makes me wanna buy some more cheese.

 the owner and employees in this little cheese factory were warm and welcoming to everyone

Thursday, October 6, 2011

As a child I understood how to give, I have forgotten this grace since I have become "civilized"

As stated by Chief Luther Standing Bear, from South Dakota. Don't know when my fascination with Native culture and history began, but I vividly remember being curious about a nation/tribes within a nation and their painful history being told to us in grade 4. Fast forward few years later in high school and all I read in Canadian history and geography books was always so narrowed and gloomy. Like the history of black America/Canadians and many other minorities, we are often told the misery and pain of a proud people, but rarely do we learn a more holistic picture about their strength, achievements and rich contribution to their present countries. Its often been said, history belongs to the victorious, but I beg to disagree. History belongs to all of us, we own it and must seek to educate ourselves and preserve the many diverse and rich culture for present and future generation. And not just the sanitized PC tale of a massacre (in the case of millions disappeared Native tribes) and the struggle many to this day are apart of for their own economic and political freedom.

Last year, I was lucky enough to vacation in Manitoulin Island with few friends. The purpose of our trip was really to finally visit the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, only one of its kind in North America. In particular, the Wikwemikong Pow Wow 50th Anniversary celebration, where many Indian tribes were represented from Oklahoma to Quebec. It was beautiful to see an actual reserve that was not just functioning successfully, but having their own autonomous economic and political structure, raising their families in these beautiful Islands. The reserve belongs to the Ojibwa, Odawa and Potawatomi peoples, under the Council of Three Fires. Here are some of the pictures my friend and I took during the celebration:

 "One does not sell the land upon which people walk." -Tashanka Witko

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Man's heart away from nature becomes hard.

I read this quote somewhere a while back and found it significant in my life. The more distant we are from nature, the harder it is to see its complex beauty and appreciate it. As an urban girl, I'm more likely to hear the noisy sound of cars than to enjoy the wake up call of a bird singing. Hence, whenever I'm traveling, I make a special time to be near nature, whether its hiking on the wilderness of Africa, or walking barefoot on a beach at home and abroad. It rejuvenates my spirit and humbles me by reminding us all how insignificant we are in the scope of the universe. In the words of Kahlil Gibran: Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

Here are some of my favorite spots from my travels 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.

Those beautiful words were spoken by Mohandas Gandhi. If you ever want to learn what is at the heart of any nation, just visit their local market and it will give you a glimpse into who they are and what they value. Whether it was the 'Suuq' of Somaliland, or the 'Bazaar' of Turkey, I was amazed with how rich in texture and color, what food and spices on display, not to mention how crowded and overwhelming it was. Here are few of the pictures I took while there.

Hargeisa, Somaliland

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Nation Under Construction.....Part II

While touring The University of Hargeisa and meeting with its sitting President, I came across this sign and thought how profound.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The other side of Somalia....AKA....Somaliland: Part I

I remember the first time someone asked me where I'm from, which is sadly more often than not and my answer has always been: Canada. In part because this is where I grew up and my whole identity has been centered on, despite the many travels I've experienced since childhood. Lately thou, I've been curious about my parents home country and its past before the misery of civil war and pirating became the global face of Somalia. Without boring you with the history and politics of Africa, Somaliland is the independent region that separated from Somalia in 1990, after it achieved victory over Siyad Barre regime. Its comparable to South Sudan with its history of oppression and political isolation and its quest to be recognized as its own independent country. This small country has been left alone to develop its own political system, election and social structure without foreign intervention, unknown to most people with the exception of UN and Western government officials. Its been truly an eye opener visiting Somaliland, the cities of Hargeisa and Barbera in particular.