Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Happy New Year from Fred and Charles.

In Holland, it is traditional to make and eat oliebollen (oil balls) on New Year' Eve. They are made by making balls of dough, filled with sultanas and cooking them in very hot cooking oil. They are then served with icing sugar.

In our recent travels through Syria, we came across this chap making something a little bit silmilar, but made out of maize dough and later served in liquid sugar and covered in dessicated coconut..

Not sure now what this is called, but this series shows how they were made.

We will be celebrating New Year's Eve at home with some friends, one of whom will bring ready-made oliebollen and another raw herring and the rest some champagne!

We hope you all have a wonderfully Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas children in Aleppo

Christmas children in Aleppo, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

We ended up being in Aleppo on Christmas Day, possibly not the best decision as (almost) everything was shut and there was no Christmas carnival like in Damascus (where we were told that there would be a parade of 500 children dressed up as Santa Claus). Anyway, the theme of the day ended up being taking photos of children playing and posing on the backstreets of the city. Here is a selection of them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

At the Castro's under Qalaat al Shmammis

We are (finally) back in Amsterdam, after a second 24 hour delay (thick fog at Damascus airport both Sundays). Yes, it was mostly warm (18-20 degrees by day , 8-10 degrees by night) and sunny. Just a misty afternoonon the 24th and a misty/cloudy day on the 26th (here).

I am not surprised about the links on google. I have posted quite a few photos of Qalaat al-Shmammis which is about my favourite place in the whole world!!!

We know our friend Castro from earlier visits (seen in 2005 and invited into his tent in 2008) and it was a wonderful experience to see him again this time. More about him later.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fred getting a bit mixed up

Christmas Greetings from Turkey

A lot of people will be eating these this Christmas. These were found at the pigeon and poutry market we found just outsıde the Theodosian Walls at Edirnekapı at the weekend.

Merry Christmas from Syria

Merry Christmas from Syria, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Christmas Greetings from Fred and Charles to all our flickr and blogspot friends around the world.. We are now in Aleppo, enjoying the (short) trip to Syria, finding it a little bit difficult to find the time to connect to internet and upload photos.

There is a great Christmas atmosphere here in this land of religious tolerance and brotherhood. This photo was taken at the Greek Orthodox Church in Damascus, with a minaret in the background.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Greetings from Turkey

Christmas Greetings from Turkey
Charles Roffey My goodness. It is almost the same wonderful grey view over the city and to the other side of the Marmara Sea, ony it is blowing a gale and the seagulls can barely stand. Flying looks fun though!

Charles Roffey And the slither of sun on the sea is silver, not golden.
10 hours ago · Charles Roffey The sun is out now and it is warm, probably 10 degrees warmer than yesterday. Just found a flea market which reminded me so much of Odessa. This one is NOT in the guidebooks.

Joy Roffey Are you off to Damascus today. We have a small amount of snow settled during the night, but there is now blue skies
8 hours ago

Charles Roffey Yes, we fly to Damascus late tonight.

Been a glorious day here today, so warm and the wind died down.

We went up to Edirnekapi to see a Sinan Mosque which was still closed and ended up at a pigeon faciers' market! Always a surprise in store in this great city.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What's in the papers today?

CharlesFred says:

It might have only been 6 degrees (43) but this was not goıng to stop our friend here from enjoying his Saturday newspapers ın the outdoors.

Elián says:
And from his expression, he is not enjoying the news of the day.

A great portrait!

CharlesFred says:
Yes., I can imagine that he was as disappointed as the rest of us about the weakness of the Copenhagen Accords...

A beautiful wooden mosque...

... which we came across thıs morning during our walk around Cihangir.

A mıd-December day ın Istanbul

OK, maybe not the nicest photo of Fred, but a nıce front to a wooden house ın our neıghbourhood of Cihangir. We are having a two day stop-over ın İstanbul on the way over to Damascus.

The day started grey but dry and ended up ın perfect, almost warm sunshıne! We are so lucky!

Another trip to İstanbul and the same shoeshıne man

His name turns out to be Murat and his frıend ıs Furat. Very re-assuring to come back to a cıty and to see the same people in the same places... a pity I had not made prints of the photos I made last tıme... like I did in Trabzon in the summer... but taht led to an awful lot of running around...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Shoeshine man in Uskudar

Shoeshine man in Uskudar, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

It is always nice to walk around in shiny polished shoes but somehow one so often doesn't find the time at home. And, just ike it is such a pleasure to have one's hair cut at a barber shop in Turkey, so it is to have one's shoes thoroughly polished on the street by a man with such an array of pots and brushes and cloths and creams as this chap here.

Just like taxi drivers, there are rats and there are angels. These chaps sitting outside the mosque on a Saturday lunchtime, would alwys have to be on the honest side of the spectrum, but there are also the street rats, who scurry around with their smaller boxes who are brushing your shoes before you know what is going on. Always name your price beforehand and it will save a lot of trouble later on.

We had bad experiences in Kenya in 1990 and Mexico in 1997 (or was it 1998?), which stick in the mond long after they should. Anyway, a week later and after a couple of walks in the rain, the shoes are still glistening!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A daily double

A daily double, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

A pair/a couple(?) of twins, as seen and photographed in Uskudar on Saturday. Funnily enough, about 20 minutes after posting this, I saw a pair/couple of young(ish) male twins at the station on the way to work... funny how things often work out that way.

And the odd thing is, is that at the bus stop on the way home last night, there was another set of twins, also about the same age as these two, also handsome, also dark...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Vine leaves and shadows

Vine leaves and shadows, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

There are so many things to like about Turkey and one of them is the presence of grapevines everywhere, including in the older parts of the city, where they climb walls are cross wires above a road to create shadows. Thw leaves on our grapevine are almost all gone, but these were still out in Uskudar, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus at the weekend.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A gypsy neighbourhood in Sultanahmet

This is a scene from the neighbourhood behind the hotel I was staying at in Istanbul for the big meeting... a surprisngly quaint area, just below the Blue Mosque and Haghia Sofia.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Non-exhibits at Istanbul Modern

These were the urinals in the Men's toilets, not exhibits.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

On the prowl in Uskudar

On the prowl in Uskudar, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

This week's beast - a hunter, on the prowl outside on eof te many mosques in Uskudar in Istanbul!

Friday, December 04, 2009

The agonies of being back in Istanbul - having one's ears waxed by Zafer

Ten weeks on and it was (high) time to go back to Zafer to have my hair cut and ears waxed again! Here he is with his odd friend Murat. A bit far to go every time for a hair cut.. but at less than 4 euros, it is a big contribution to the cost of the flight to Istanbul!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's The Charles and Charlotte Show

This is me with my dear colleague Charlotte from Norway. We have worked together very well for the past two years and i that time have become friends. Our management team has been enlarged recently so we will probably not be working quite so closely in teh future.

Here we are on the roof terrace of the hotel in Istanbul, where we had our Associates Meeting, wonderfully hosted by our Turkish colleagues. The Blue Mosque is in the background.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Hue - Charles with buffalo

Hue - Charles with buffalo, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

And, with reference to the piglet blog post, this was me the next day on another motorbike day around the city of Hue, having travelled over the hill in the morning. This time it would rain very heavily shortly after this picture was taken.

Orthodox churches of Odessa

Orthodox churches of Odessa, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Some thoughts from a Russian adn a Ukrainian about the origin of the Orthodox Cross, here outside the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Odessa.

dinborough Pro User says:

Nobody knows the exact meaning of that diagonal part of the cross, but that's what the Russian Orthodox cross looks like. Some people say it symbolizes a path from hell to heaven or something like that.
the inscription says the church is called Holy Trinity cathedral

steblina Pro User says:

Lower crosspiece is support for Jesus' feet. Symbolizes the Measure of righteousness. Also it is said, that the brigand from the right went up to Heaven (because he repented); the other one went down to Hell (he did not repent). That's why the crosspiece is pointing into two directions.

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