Pay your ransom at the embassy

My next travel destination is Turkey. Evidently, I have a lot to learn before heading out.


istanbul1Where do you think Ankara is? I ask only because my father wanted to know if that was part of my itinerary.

I said, “No, I’m going to Turkey.”

“Ankara is the capital of Turkey!” he yelled.

“No, it’s Istanbul,” I insisted.

But it’s not. And it hasn’t been for nearly a hundred years, so don’t bother trying to win that argument either.

In any case, I’m not going to Ankara. Obviously.


If you were up on Ankara then perhaps you also know about Suleiman, the longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and first person to win a war with a cannon – or at least that’s what my father will have us believe.

“He shot a hole right through the city walls,” he explained. “The whole place surrendered. Never would have happened without the introduction of the cannon. Never!”

I know that sounds pretty far-fetched, but I’m taking his word for now. After all, he was right about Ankara.


Cirali_beach“Did you know that Istanbul used to be called Constantinople?” my  brother asked.

I nodded, vaguely recalling that detail from middle school.

“Why they changed it, I can’t say,” he sang. “People just liked it better that way!”

If you could picture it, he was microwaving day-old Szechuan takeout and conducting an invisible orchestra with two chopsticks at the time.

“And why did Constantinople get the works?” he continued. “That’s nobody’s business but the Turks’!”

“Did you just come up with that?” I asked.

“No, it’s a song!” he yelled. “You never heard that before?! Look it up.”

Well I’ll give him one thing – he knows his  They Might Be Giants covers. But let’s not forget that he’s the same man who didn’t know how to take an iPod off shuffle until February 2015. Let’s all keep it in check, shall we?


My dad might be eager to share his knowledge on the ancient Sultans and Turkish geography, but he is firmly not in favor of this trip.

“Whatever you do, you better stay away from that Syrian border!!” he yelled across the lawn at a garden party this past weekend.

“Oh, I wish you told me that yesterday,” I answered, while backing away. “I just booked my trip last night and I decided that all I’m going to do is drive along the border for nine straight days.”

I’m joking, course. My trip is only eight days.


party cropSidebar: my father wasn’t the only one causing a little scene at the garden party. In between the bickering about Turkey, my friend and I took a series of  exercise-themed photos that culminated in single-arm planks. I’m sharing the lunge because I think it captures our spirit best. (Shout out to her natural hair. If  mine looked that good, I’d have kept it.)


So what is  on my itinerary? I’ll be in Istanbul for a few days before heading off to eat fruit at a bungalow on the Turquoise Coast. You’d think that my super touristy agenda would help put my father at ease, but you’d be wrong.

“Now. If you get kidnapped,” he began. “Make sure you pay the ransom at an embassy.”

I didn’t catch the rest of his advice because I was too busy laughing into a paper plate – which only made him more agitated.

“I’m serious, Nova!” he yelled. “You never go to the middle of nowhere to pay a ransom. Tell them, it’s the embassy or nothing!”

Lonely Planet, are you listening? You’re missing all of this important information. All of it.




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