How I ended up in this city is pure serendipity. But here I am and I LOVE it.
Everyday I learn more and more. 17M people live here, but it feels like any other city in the world, only more historical and beautiful. Let me tell you why I love it.You walk amongst historical sites like it’s part of everyday life. Take a look at this view. The Blue Mosque is in the foreground and the Hagia Sophia in the background. If you make an arrow straight from the left of this photo over the Bosphorus Strait, that’s where I live. It’s a 15 minute tram ride to the Blue Mosque.
The Old City Walls are intact and can be seen in various forms all around the city. Imagine driving on ultra modern bridges and highways, with a view of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople that saved the city many a time during its wars against the Avars, the Tartars, the Russians, and the Bulgarians.
Photo Bob Phillips thank you! Fine Art America
The food is fun, delicious, nutritious, and colorful! And I LOVE the chocolates!!
The mix of old and new is felt in both the architecture, the culture, and the Islam religion. The unique ability for a 96.4% Muslim country to live side by side with all religions and cultures is felt in the welcoming nature of the people. As a secular woman I dress in my comfortable secular attire, and walk side by side with fully robed and casually attired Muslim women. There is no criticism, nor evil eyes, only nods of recognition that we are all one.
I LOVE the Call to Prayer, the Muslim tradition of the Quran prayer that reminds the devout five times a day, to stop what he/she is doing and say a prayer. Most of us have a belief in a Higher Power. It’s expressed by a variety of religions and ideologies, but the tenets are the same: We are all one and God is Love.
I was given a second chance at life in 2008 and I am determined to make the most of it! LOVE the Beat Goes On
Thank you for following my blog and I hope I gave you a small taste of life in Istanbul, Turkey.
I arrived in Tel Aviv on Sunday, March 5th, from Jerusalem. Those of you who are following me know I recently left Mexico, my home of several years, to travel through the USA, into Europe, India, Turkey and now Israel. You also know I’m a writer. What you might not know, if you haven’t read LOVE The Beat Goes On—my memoir–I’m also a great believer in visualization–but usually, it’s the good kind!
I always wanted to make an amazing trip like this, but I never took my thoughts seriously until this past year. Part of it was the desire to visit countries I’ve read and written about; and the other part was to follow a journey my heart has wanted to take for a long time. A journey into self.
Everyone kept saying: Why do you want to go to the Middle East? It’s dangerous. Watch out for terrorists!
My response to that might be, why take a trip anywhere in the world, or even the USA, today? I’m not even referring to 9/11 which was horrific in every way, but how about the Las Vegas mass shooting? It seems there isn’t any place safe in the United States. So why make a blanket statement about the Middle East?
I did acknowledge that the Middle East has issues. But I was totally unprepared for New Delhi. I like to think I’m well educated and aware of events happening around the globe. After all, I do write a thriller, action, suspense series, Code Raven. I’ve covered terrorism, trafficking, cartels, abductions, the refugee crisis, and many other current affairs and issues we face today. But to land at the Delhi Airport and witness the police barriers casually located everywhere throughout this amazing city, brings a whole new meaning to the word terrorism.
Unfortunately you quickly become immune to it. If you’re a world traveler, you are familiar with airport security. But that similar level of security is visible at every hotel in New Delhi and most tourist attractions. Cars are checked underneath, and trunks are opened. Handbags, backpacks, and luggage go through detectors. I had to pass through a screening process to enter my hotel, any time of the day or night. An Indian friend of mine explained it this way: “Terrorism is a fact of life in India. Pakistan, our neighbour, is the home of terrorism.”
Which brings me back to the purpose of this blog. I’m a strong believer in visualization. Last summer while visiting my son in Paris, I jokingly said I could live out of a suitcase. And now I am! When my friends and acquaintances told me to be careful on my journey, I jokingly responded: “Hah! With my luck, they’ll probably be dropping bombs in Israel when I get there!”
As usual, there is conflict in Jerusalem, especially at the Western Wall, where I was staying in the Old City. But I didn’t know that. It’s not widely reported in the news. And whatever was reported in the Times of Israel, I glanced over never thinking it would affect me. However incidents were happening while I was there and the military actually closed the Damascus Gate, my entrance to the 800-year-old house I was renting, on the morning I left to come to Tel Aviv!
But nothing prepared me for the reaction I felt to the air raid sirens going off last night in Tel Aviv.
It was surreal. In some strange way, it felt like I was in the middle of a movie set. My apartment is on the 6th floor in the artsy district of Tel Aviv, and I could look out and see many other buildings, plus the street and the emergency vehicles racing down the thoroughfares. I stood transfixed by the sound and witnessed many others on their balconies looking towards the skyline. I watched several jumbo jets ascending going to faraway places, leaving Israel behind. And then I heard the explosion! I stood transfixed. No smoke rose up. No one moved from their patios. Television screens continued whatever shows were being streamed. Life stood still, and at the same time, life went on…
For many Israelis who were in Tel Aviv in 2014, air raid sirens are not a new thing. But I don’t generally enter war zone territories as a daily event in my life. Unfortunately, my powerful mind did visualize this event. Or maybe the mental/emotional part of my mind, could feel it coming. Either way, like one Twitter friend, said, in response to my tweet, “I bet she felt safe in Tel Aviv.” And she was right. Although my body was stressed, my mind was calm. I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be, and I would be safe.
It’s the morning after. I sent a lot of messages last night to friends I’ve made in Turkey, Dubai, India, Canada, and Mexico. No one knew what I was talking about. TWO ROCKETS LAUNCHED INTO TEL AVIV, ISRAEL WAS NOT REPORTED IN THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS.
When did acts of war become so mundane that they were not worthy of coverage? I guess if you don’t have bodies strewn on airstrips, or shopping mall floors, or rock concert stadiums, no one cares.
Within days of arriving in India, I found the words to express the mantra for my journey: We are all one
You can find me onInstagram #Weareallone Please drop by for more extensive photos of this epic voyage
The following are places I visited with my amazing Sikh guide. He was chatting with me when he suddenly looked me in the eyes and said, “You need to visit the Sikh Temple.”
After this first stop from the Old City in Delhi, we headed towards the Sikh place of Worship. I must say it was/is the highlight of my tour which now numbers day 32 on the road.
The temple feeds somewhere between 10,000 and 35,000 people daily. All cultures, races, religions are welcome to partake from early morning until late evening. There is something powerful and intense about this place
Thanks for following my journey, more to come. I’m in Israel currently, and I’m going to attempt entry into a sacred site. Dressing modestly won’t be a problem, but I must cover the pink hair! Namaste.
When my younger son was a teenager, he said something to me that has stayed in my mind: We’re here for a good time, not a long time. I think none of us know how many years or days we have to wander this planet, so we should live each day as if it’s our last.
I recently liquidated my life in order to travel. I’ve lived in Mexico for many years and since I started writing professionally, I’ve met people from all over the world. It opened my mind to opportunities to see a world that I’ve only ever read about or observed in film. Nothing prepares you for the real culture of another country, nor the kindness of a countries’ people. You must experience this.
I have a mantra that’s been running through my mind for the last couple of years: We are all one. If the Universe is to survive, it’s not about climate change but about a definite shift in how we see each other and the tolerance we have for each nation and culture around the world.
The birth of the www. gave us an opportunity that no prior generation ever had. It opened the door to the possibility of friendships from all over the world. These friendships forge the way for us to understand that regardless of the color of our skin, the languages we speak, we have a common thread running through our lives: love. We all wake up in the morning, study, grow, form family, have children—or not—worry about our families, careers, putting food on the table, our health and our love. We are all one.
At the end of my life, I know that all that will matter is how much I loved.