Monday, November 23, 2009

Soyle iki tane bezi poposunun arasina kacmis yagli pehlivan diyecegim, resmi gorup bunu okumaya baslayanlarin birden istahi kacicak. Ama iki dakka sabredin, sonra hep birlikte muradimiza erecegiz.

Gelelim yagli pehlivanlarimiza... Iki tanesi yavrum Allah girismisler. Bez donu yakalamakmis, calim atmakmis, bunlar hikaye. Eller ensede. Kim kelleyi koltuk altina alirsa, oburune hukmedecek. Bir insanin bedenini kontrol etmenin en kolay yolu kafasini yakalamak.

Filmlerde adam sol eliyle kurbanin saclarindan tutar, sonra obur eliylede burnunu dagitir... Cunku kafasini kontrol ettimi zavallicik bir yerlere kacamaz. Belki de harbi erkek kisa sacli olur kulturu, eski medeniyetlerde savasci rolundeki erkegin saldiriya daha kapali olabilmek icin saclarini kesmesinden gelmektedir?

Amcam Sigmund Freud'un bana verdigi yetkiye dayanarak diyorum ki, erkeklerin kadinlarda uzun sac sevmesinin altinda bu vucuda hukmetme, kadina sahip olma ic gudusu yatar. Hatta uzun sac torpulenmis bir fetistir. Gizliden gizliye obsesif ve saldirgan bi yani da vardir.

Oh be, soyledim... Incilerimi sactim yine. Burasi benim blogum degil mi, atis serbest!

"Atesli" posterlerde adam kadinin sacini arkadan parmaklarina dolar ve ceker. Kadin savunmasizdir, adam ona sahip olmustur. Bence uzun sac gunluk hayatta bile derinlerde bir yerlerde erkeklerde bu cagrisimi yaptigindan kadinlarda uzun sac severler.

Son olarak DuyguLabs'deki kucuk sample grubumdaki once 10 kere calkalayarak, sonra 10 kere particle acceleratorimda dondurerek yapi taslarina ayirdigim erkeklere bakinca bir de sunu fark ettim, ne kadar playboy, o kadar uzun sac duskunu. Yani ne kadar ava cikiyorsa, o kadar cok kadinda uzun sac ariyor. Elinde mizrak, onunde bir yaprakla geyik pesinde kosan atalari uzaklardan onlara "kolay yem" mi diyor belki? Bilemedim.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Driving along the shore of California

Friends from NY used to say that I was certainly NY material, whereas my incredible punctuality with deadlines had convinced other friends from CA that I belonged laid-back sun State. Some not-so-innocent dance moves might have added to that too. (Oh, Brown..)

I am not a beach bum, I hardly ever tan. I am with Marilyn Monroe on preferring pale white skin to bronze. I would stand out in California. I am not serious or cynical enough to pass for a New Yorker either. Consequently, the debate was never settled for me, until recently.

Between the time I attended Columbia and my visits to my boyfriend, I lived in NY for about 5 months. I liked it there, but something never felt quite right. It lacked something that was so essential to me. I can't put it in words, but my spirit felt contained in NY. I still can't put my finger on what it was exactly. Manhattan has everything I wish for in a city: a great park, a well-developed public transportation network, flat roads for cycling, several Michelin recommended restaurants, crazy parties, three international airports (Newark caters to NY, too), the biggest show cases in the world and a green-minded mayor and his great administration which provides the city with endless cultural activities. It is the perfect recipe for a great city, yet, it never captured me.

I had been to LA for business two times already and both times I ran back to New York after passing three days there.

Yet, our roadtrip on Highway 1 blew my mind... Now I think that California is something else.

Day 1

We started in LA.

My bf had to stop there for a meeting. Meanwhile, I chilled in Venice Beach.

He picked me up and we drew to San Luis Obispo.

Just out of Santa Barbara, we passed a small University whose entire student body was in the ocean waiting for a big wave. The school looked empty. 4 years of surfing, bonfire parties, whale watching...

We stayed in a beautiful hotel called Sanitarium in SLO. It is a 4 bedroom house owned by a local painter. Each room has a bathtub in front of the bed and is unique in decoration. The breakfast is served at 9. You sit around a big table with all the guests. In the middle of you all, they put a big pan of organic asparagus omelette or whatever they find that day on the farmer's market. On the right of your plate there is small glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and a cup of steaming coffee. On the left if a small bowl of organic granola. You dip your garlic butter toasts in your omelette and chase it down with a big gulp of coffee.

Day 2

San Luis Obispo is the up coming Napa Valley. The land prices went up drastically over the past 10 years as more vineyard kept popping up. We stopped at a random one for wine tasting. Turned out it was owned by a Japanese agri-holding. The owner bought it for fun. The hostess proudly said, " We don't sell our wine on the market and we don't do mass production. The limited wine we do is available only through wine clubs or here at the vineyard." They were very confident in their wine. They want you to try their wine because they are sure you will buy some once you taste it. That's why you only have to pay 5 bucks for tasting 5 wines although a bottle is pretentiously sold at 35- 70 dollars.

To be honest, when she mention the Japanese owner, I got skeptical. What do Japanese know about wine making? Once I put my nose in the glass, my doubts shattered. I could almost smell a rain forest in that wine. Hints of soaked earth, freshly crushed coffee beans, and vanilla bursted out of the glass. My nose warned my taste buds this will be something extraordinary.

The wine was indeed out-of-the-ordinary. Both the red and the white tasted like Sake! Sake Bordeaux, Sake Shiraz, Sake Cabarnet... We spit the 5 wines we tried in the bucket. It made our wine tasting experience quite brief and dissappointing, but in retrospection, maybe be it was a good thing as we still had 4 hours of driving to get to Carmel.

In an hour, we got to a beach taken over by a huge colony of sea lions. There lied maybe 5000 of them along the shore. They were only 3 steps away from us. If you slipped, you would find yourself cuddling with them.

Kaya wanted to rent a convertible for the trip so that my polka dot scarf could blow in the wind like Marilyn's as we drove on the cliffs by the ocean. I wasn't a fan of this idea because: 1) i didn't want to get a tan (especially a trucker's tan), 2) driving in the wind for hours isn't fun,
3) it is disturbing when you are on the highway, 4) it gets cold in the car when you drive fast. But Kaya was not in a mood for cooperating that day. He dictated that we were getting a convertible. His absolutism made me super angry but for the sake of not ruining the holiday I decided to contain it inside. Poor me ended up holding my scarf above my head like a tent for about 6 hours everyday. That certainly added to my discontentment and brought me to explosion. As we approached to the the most recommended part of our trip, we started arguing.

Usually a redwood forest on a high cliff by the sea shore would have dazzled me. At times the waves were so big and powerful, they would reach the road. I secretly wished we would get caught in one and would get soaked to the bone. Then, he maybe would regret not listening to my argument but the universe was on his side.

There we were in Big Sur, which is claimed to be the prettiest place in Cali and we were fighting while other couples were happily seizing this romantic view by making out. They were taking 'happy couple' pictures, splitting a sandwich and sipping beer out of the same can and we were sitting on two distant rocks.

We sat there for 20 minutes until the ocean mellowed us out. There is something therapeutic about that view. We hugged and kissed then, we finally took a happy couple picture.

Big Sur was amazingly pretty. Hippies settle there because it moves you so much that you realize you don't need much to be happy. It makes you feel like you can be forever happy by looking at that view. You see the essence of life. Consequently, everyone you meet there is a very peaceful, pleasant person. They so are warm and cheerful that even if you are not from there, you feel home.

Pfeiffer Beach is an mandatory stop in Big Sur. It was probably the highlight of our entire trip. The above photo is taken there.

Nepenthe is a popular eatery in Big Sur. The guides go on and on about their steaks and pump you up for a fine meal but they only have diner food. Fortunately, the visual feast makes up for the so- so food. With that said, I should probably mention that it is said to be the best restaurant in the area.

Just about 100 meters down from Nepenthe is the Big Sur Bakery. We only had desert and coffee there but from our conversation with its loyal costumers, we figured that the food is better there.
I would still prefer a plain turkey breast sandwich at Nepenthe because its terrace is really the deciding factor. Good food you can find any where, but the view is unique.

You should still stop at the bakery to see the open air studio of a hippy artist. Through out the summer he hold percussion sessions in this studio/theather/garden/carpenter shop or whatever you want to call it. He says major artists go there to play with him. They share smokes, drums and woman. He has a big collection peyotes, a type of hallucinogenic cactus. He said he didn't try them yet, but I bet some people will land on the moon next summer. Why would you need so many other wise?

An hour away is the prettiest town I have seen in the States. Carmel-By-The-Sea. Small little boutiques, tons of small art galleries, few cars, small but expensive American houses, trimmed lawns, newspaper boys on bicycles, big trees on the sides of the roads, old couples hand in hand make you feel like it is a film set. It is by far the most charming place.

There are several good places to stay at in Carmel. The problem is there is nothing under 200 bucks.

Tickle Pink Inn is known to be the nicest but it is out side of the town, which means that you would have to drive back and forth. I like to be able to walk every where from my hotel. Especially in such a beautiful town, walking is the only way of seizing it.

Cypress Inn is in a beautiful colonial looking house. Another popular pick.

Carriage House Inn is cozy and romantic. Excellent views of the water.

We stayed at La Playa Hotel. It is conveniently located, 5 mins away from the busy downtown and as well from the ocean. It doesn't look as nice as it does on the website. It is older than what you would expect, but the Turkish receptionist is quite nice. He sent us a free bottle of champagne ;)

Day 3

There is nothing really worth telling about day 3 as I had to go to Fresno for a meeting. It is a sketchy old town which has nothing to offer. After the meeting we drove to SFO. The Carmel-Fresno-SFO route took us 8 hours. Once we got to the hotel, we immadeately passed out.

Day 4

We woke up and went to the famous Pork Store dinner on Ashburry Street. It was around 10 on a Sat morning, so we didn't have to wait for a table but those who arrived 10 mins after us had to wait about 30 mins in line. It is a famous dinner because it was the cradle of the hippy movement. Turns out, the clientele didn't change much over the decades.

Ashburry Street is still the home of the hippies and drugs. We enjoyed walking along the street, peeping at all the new inventions at the smoke shops and sex boutiques. You can see all sorts of people there. Tourists, homeless, transexuals...

From there we walked into the Golden Gate Park. Many people were outside running. We paid 7 dollars each to enter the Japanese Tea Garden. We tried to getaway with paying 5 but didn't work. They built a perfect Japanese garden. Bonsai domes in the river, two life size temples, red fish ponds, fully costumed geishas serving green tea. It was another moment of absolute Zen.

Renzo Piano's green masterpiece California Academy of Sciences is a wonderful example of modern architecture.

"Renzo Piano’s goal was to create a sense of transparency and connectedness between the building and the park through both a careful selection of materials such as glass slender support columns and a thoughtful arrangement of space.

“Museums are not usually transparent,” says Piano. “They are opaque, they are closed. They are like a kingdom of darkness, and you are trapped inside. With the new Academy, we are creating a museum that is visually and functionally linked to its natural surroundings, metaphorically lifting up a piece of the park and putting a building underneath”.

And that is exactly what the eye meets on arrival: an undulating green roof expanding over 2.5 acre, landscaped with 1.7 million individual native plant species, unifying the different functions of the museum, creating a new link in the ecological corridor for wildlife. The living roof reduces storm water runoff by up to 3.6 million gallons of water per year and includes an observation deck, allowing visitors to admire the rooftop wildlife haven and learn about the benefits of this sustainable feature. The “green blanket” is bordered by a glass canopy containing nearly 60,000 photo voltaic cells, which will produce up to 10 percent of the Academy’s annual energy needs. These photo voltaic cells are clearly visible in the glass canopy, providing both shade and visual interest for the visitors below." (World Architecture News)

Then we met up with a friend on the pier. The bridge over us, the sail boats on the sea and the near by island made us feel like we were in Ortakoy in Istanbul. I can easily say that the highlight of SFO is a restaurant called The Slanted Door in the Ferry Building on the pier. The food is so good, people don't stop to talk during the dinner. Super fine samples of Asian Fusion Cuisine.

Finally we went to China Town. It is supposed to be the biggest one in the world. To my surprise, it was much neater and less dense than NY's. Moreover, you could communicate in English! That, and the Oreos next to the counters suggested that Californian Chinese are more willing to integrate.

Before we headed to the airport, we stopped a the Golden Gate Bridge.

Our visit to SFO was very brief. I wish I had more to say on USA's most preferred place to live but that was all I could squeeze into 24 hours. If you have have recommendations, please drop here a few lines!