Wednesday, December 31, 2008


The Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that the Virgin Mary be proclaimed Theotokos, literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations used by most Christians, especially Catholics, are Mother of God and Queen of Heaven (names often associated with ancient goddesses).

Is it just a coincidence that she was given these titles in the very city famed for the Temple of Artemis one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? The temple was destroyed in 401 CE by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, and an important Early Church Father. All that is left now is one huge pillar with a giant nest on top of it... some of the other temple pillars are said to have been taken to Constantinople and used in the reconstruction of the Hagia Sophia.

It also is a very strange coincidence that Ephesus is still a major religious pilgrimage site, but now for the so called House of the Virgin Mary.

I loved Ephesus... it was warm and welcoming after the freezing temperatures of northern Turkey. It was also full of life, from the orange trees along the avenues to abundant animal life... ducks played in the swampy water around the old site of the temple to the Lady Of The Beasts, a white horse roamed near by, and huge flocks of black birds screeched at night and swarmed from tree to tree as you walked down the streets...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I can't believe we made it to Troy! You feel the history all around you despite the fake Trojan Horse that you can climb up... fun though... It was also a fun boat ride to get here... but it is mighty cold!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at the Aya Sophia...

We spent the whole day at the Aya Sofia, better known in the West as the Hagia Sophia. If you have to be away from family on Christmas... I could think of no better way to spend the day... it is beyond words ( so I took 546 photos, haha!)...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

skiing in the desert???

When I first heard of this I thought 'what a waste'... but for a once in a lifetime opportunity, why not? It was actually pretty fun, although I totally wiped out early on and thus spent most of the time just taking photos and filming Rob since he could really ski...

Ski Dubai has a pretty good website.

From Wikipedia:

Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with 22,500-square meters of indoor ski area. It is a part of the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping malls in the world, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Opened in November 2005, the indoor resort features an 85-meter high indoor mountain with 5 slopes of varying steepness and difficulty, including a 400-meter-long run, the world's first indoor black run, and a 90-meter-long quarter pipe for snowboarders. A quad lift and a tow lift carry skiers and snowboarders up the mountain. Adjoining the slopes is a 3,000-square-meter Snow Park play area comprising sled and toboggan runs, an icy body slide, climbing towers, a snowball shooting gallery, an ice cave, and a 3D theater. Other attractions include a mirror maze and a snowman-making area. Winter clothing, ski and snowboard equipment are included in the price of admission.

An extremely efficient insulation system is the key to maintain the temperature of -1 degrees Celsius during the day and -6 degrees during the night when the snow is produced.

Ski Dubai was the location of a detour in the 10th leg of the reality game show The Amazing Race Asia on its 1st season.

Friday, December 19, 2008

old Dubai...

This trip to Dubai was a little different... Rob and I were trying to save money so we stayed in an older, more traditional and cheaper area right along the old Dubai Creek... it was fascinating with all of the African and South East Asian expats... pretty much everyone in our hotel was from Somalia... I believe we were the only white men in the hotel, eating at its restaurant, or even using its internet cafe... most of the internet cafe users were Somalia men who seemed to be there for one reason, to have a webcam chat with their woman back home... the whole area was full of old Souqs (Muslim traditional marketplaces)... we roamed the markets, took the old ferry across the creek many times, visited a Hindu and a Sikh temple (I believe the only ones in the Middle East) and had lots of great food, bought traditional crafts and souvenirs, and all traveling on a shoestring!