Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lazy Summer, West Nile (?), Fasting and a few Photos...

Man! I can't believe we've been back for over a month. I haven't done ANYTHING. Lazy lazy. I think I was burned out from all that travelling... and now I'm fasting (It's Ramadan) so most days I'm too tired to get anything really done after about 1pm.

Plus I am not 100% sure but I think I actually might have had a bout with West Nile at the beginning of Ramadan. I got this weird, unbelievably horrible headache (the worst I've ever had), had a fever, chills & shivering, and then this headache lasted for 12 days. My eyes became incredibly photosensitive. I know it wasn't a blood sugar or fasting thing because I still had the headache & fatigue on days that I could not fast on account of being sick (we are excused from fasting when sick).
Given how long the "headache" lasted, the photosensitivity, plus the fact that during the 2 previous weeks I had practically done nothing/gone nowhere that I could have picked up a virus, AND was bitten by a mosquito about 10 days before.... I arrived at the conclusion that it was probably West Nile. Which sounds horrible, but I read up on it - most people who contract the virus actually show no symptoms at all, and then about 20% or so actually get West Nile Fever and the symptoms include fever & headache. Only in the rarest of cases does West Nile actually progress to encephalitis or more complicated infections to nerves that it could cause death. But ya, I can't prove it but I'm fairly convinced that it was West Nile. Oh, and nobody else in my family came down with similar symptoms, in spite of all the germ-sharing we do around here. So my theory is West Nile and I'm sticking to it.

And poor mom has a pinched nerve, which is really causing her a lot of pain. She can't do much of anything except stick around the apartment, ice her back all day & take lots of drugs. Not much fun. Yesterday she kept me company though, went all the way to the city with me for an ultrasound even though she didn't have to, and today we went to see Dr. Mark again in Newmarket. I don't think the driving is much fun since she probably doesn't get the comfort she needs to relax the muscles around the nerve. Lots of chiropractic & massage & 2 weeks later she's still in lots of pain. Hope it passes soon because I know she's really frustrated.

So, in my laziness for the past month, I haven't posted any pics from Turkey. My bad. So, better late than never, here are a few choice ones, with a little history to boot....

From our boat tour of the Bosphorus (the Strait that separates the European side of Istanbul from the Asian side), below is a pic of the bridge as it reaches European side, and the "Rumali Hisari" or "Roman Fort" - where the Ottomans built a fort on the Roman/European side, which already had a counterpart (the Anatolian Fort) on the opposite shore. They used chains stretched from one fort to the other to restrict boat traffic, thereby gaining control of the Straight, and ensuring victory when they captured the city of Constantinople in 1453.... This fort was commissioned in 1451 by Fatih Sultan Mehmed Han (Mehmed Han the Conqueror King) - for whom our little Mehmed Han takes his name.... hmmm I wonder then if that could be why our little man is such a bully?

Orhan also went out on his own one day in Istanbul when Mehmed and I were both sick. Poor little guy was throwing up and had diarrhea all day - it was probably hard for his little body to get used to the change in air and food - all kinds of foreign germs that he's never been exposed to before, so I would say it took a few weeks before his body got accustomed to the changes... Anyways, while we were busy sleeping it off, Orhan toured the Topkapi Palace, the palace of the Sultans from 1465 to 1853.

Here is one of the buildings overlooking the Bosphorus:

Here is a beautiful view from it's marble terrace (seen in the distance in the above picture, and part of it's view below)....
Here are some more of the buildings and courtyards:

This is one of the interior rooms - I believe it is in the living quarters section, this is like a large Ottoman Style lounge. Notice the stained glass windows...

Some birds enjoying a bath in one of the (many) marble fountains :)
And of course, what palace is complete without a marble toilet?

Like I said before, they have so much marble in Turkey they just don't know what to do with it all...

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