Imagine There's No Country....

John Lennon was right – it isn’t hard to do…

Balconies - Turkey & NOLA

 Planet Earth

Traveling to Turkey (the Republic of Turkey, not Turkey (Creek), Louisiana), last December, I had the opportunity to expand my World Tour and visit many more ancient and historical sites.   While perusing the ruins of Pergamon, once a Greek kingdom situated on a steep hilltop in Western Turkey, my mind drifted 6,000 miles away to the ruins of – Poverty Point in Northeastern Louisiana.

Kingdom of Pergamon, Turkey                                            Mound A - Poverty Point, Louisiana

Walking among the remnants of Pergamon in 2012 was not unlike walking among the mounds of Poverty Point in 2011. Despite the contrasts between the landscapes - breathtaking Roman architecture on a hilltop overlooking the city of Bergama versus the  impressive manmade earthworks on a bluff with the highest elevation at 72 feet, I didn’t see much difference – I was in awe of both places, because they are part of our past as mankind, part of the history of our planet. (Fun Fact:   Poverty Point predates the former Greek kingdom of Pergamon.)

Poverty Point, Louisiana   *    Pergamon, Turkey

Another excitement of my Turkey the Country trip was visiting Troy, thought to be the site of the famous Trojan Wars. As luck would have it, I also got the opportunity to visit Troy, Louisiana (now part of Waterproof) last summer on my way back from Quebec.  I came across a tree that reminded me of a shot I had taken in Troy, Turkey.

Troy, Turkey    *    Troy, Louisiana

It wasn’t just the ancient sites that impressed me or reminded me of how small our planet actually is, it was also traveling through the countryside.  Most of my shots come from the bus.  I got pretty good at shooting through bus windows at fast speeds.  A flooded field in Turkey brought to mind our flooded rice fields turned crawfish ponds in China, Louisiana.

Flooded Field, Turkey                                                                                   Flooded Field, China (Louisiana)

The little house in a field in Turkey evoked this image of a little house in a cotton field near Bermuda, Louisiana.

  Little House, Turkey                                          Little House, Bermuda (Louisiana)

And speaking of cottonfields…..

Cotton Field, Turkey                                  Cotton Field,  near Bagdad (Louisiana)

The Library of Celsus in the truly amazing Greco Roman city of Ephesus was amongst the highlights of the trip.  And while the architecture does not compare, it is important to note that I did find the library in Turkey (Creek), Louisiana impressive enough to photograph when I passed through in the Summer of 2012.  

       Library of Celsus, Ephesus                                                                      Evangeline Parish Library, Turkey Creek, Louisiana

Our physical and cultural landscapes may differ all over the world, but at the end of the day - we connect in so many ways.

                                  Bosphorus Bridge & Minaret - Istanbul                      Crescent City Connection & Lamppost    New Orleans

We all have our mountains to climb.  They just look different is all.  

Roadview (Mountains) : Somewhere in Turkey        *         Roadview (Clouds that look like Mountains): Somewhere in Louisiana

 

More pics of Turkey coming soon-ish.  

I think.

Thats a mighty fluffy cloud I gotta climb first though.

All content (c) Natasha Sanchez 2013

All in a Days Drive: Balmoral, Barcelona & Quebec - Louisiana

Mission Accomplished.  I've been trying to get to Quebec, Louisiana for a year now, and finally, after many twists and turns, I made it.  A triumphant moment indeed. 

 

Quebec was significant because it is near the site of one my very first World Tour road trips, Delhi & Transylvania, back in Summer 2011. At the time, though, I was unaware of its existence and unwittingly left the region, not to return for nearly two more years.   By last June, however, I was enlightened & ready to visit Quebec. Yet I kept getting sidetracked by other enchanting destinations like China, BermudaAlexandria & Turkey – both the Creek (in Louisiana) and the Country (in Asia Minor).  Earlier this year, though, the World Tour was back on with visits to Himalaya and Bohemia.  Since then, it seems as if every possible glitch that could have happened, happened.  The Quebec trip got postponed for health issues, work issues, car issues, weather issues, etc.  But finally at the end of May – it was on.  Quebec is located in Madison Parish just north of 1-20 near Tallulah (and Delhi…and Transylvania).  One notable feature of this area is that the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, home to largest population in the state of the Louisiana Black Bear, is located on Quebec Road. But as usual, my main objective was to look for a sign.  Ask and ye shall receive..

As joyous as it was to discover not one but three signs all within the Mile That Was Quebec, the finding was short-lived and questionable:

Really...? Am I missing something?  I could getphilosophical here, but I won't go there.  Instead, I'll leave it to the reader to ponder while I show you a picture of another discovery:  a mattress in a ditch.  There for the pondering?  I don't know...moving on..

Sign or no (missing) sign, I was jubilant and inquisitive as I headed South on Hwy 65 towards my next destination:  Barcelona

If Quebec was everything I thought it would be with its sign/missing signs, the drive towards Barcelona was not.  For example, I think I found Zonkers' wheat patch along the way.  (Last sentence reserved for Doonesbury enthusiasts)  :)

And the fun didn't stop there.  A little further down the road,  I unexpectedly reached - Balmoral. No, not the Queen's Scottish residence, but the Balmoral Mounds, constructed by members of the Coles Creek culture around 1000 A.D.   (wikipedia Coles Creek)

Northeast Louisiana is especially rich in mound sites of early settlers.  The World Tour has allowed me to visit and/or view the Balmoral Mounds, the Transylvania Mounds, the Filhiol Mounds, also part of the Coles Creek culture, and Poverty Point.  'Tis but a small dent in Louisiana's Ancient Mound Trail. I'm looking forward to visiting more. 

Finally, it was time to turn off Hwy 65 andin search of Barcelona.  I was correct in assuming it might be hard to find.  It's one of those towns that exists on a map, and that's about it.  Still, exploring is always the best part. 

No World Tour blog would be complete without a photo of a church, and the road to Barcelona did not disappoint.  

Choctaw Baptist Church, organized 1873

While not expecting much when I arrived in Barcelona, a populated place located in Tensas Parish, it didsurprise me .. (there was even a picture of the same site on Google Maps to prove I was in fact at my intended destination..haaa..)

Barcelona, Louisiana

I have to admit - this four month hiatus of World Touring has been the longest since I started the tour two years ago and I wasn't happy about it.  I felt so driven to reach Quebec, that I wasn't sure how this journey would go.  Maybe the sign that I was missing was just thatI had forgotten the tour was more about ideals than physical locations.  After all, the whole point of the World Tour is that the World is only as Large or as Small as you want it to be.  When I embarked on this latest excursion, I saw more of the World than I ever could have imagined - all in just a days drive. 

Merci for reading...Au revior.. til next time,

Natasha

(c) Natasha Sanchez 2013

Living Life - in Bohemia, Louisiana

The road to

Bohemia

is seemingly sparse.

Located about 50 miles Southeast of New Orleans in Plaquemines Parish, Bohemia lies on the East Bank of the Mississippi River, a short ferry ride from Point ala Hache. (If the ferry was running, that is..) Getting to Bohemia took some effort. First I got stuck in traffic waiting for a train in the Bywater.

 I thought I had the angle for this trip all planned out.

I thought I could make some connection about how the artist community in New Orleans keeps migrating further downriver – first it was the French Quarter, then the Marigny, currently the Bywater holds that distinction. I thought it only a matter of time before the artists make it down to Bohemia itself. Hahaha. I even brought Betty the Bullhorn along, the ultimate representative of La Vie Boheme, to further illustrate my point.

Betty Lives the Bohemian Life  2002

 But as usual, the journey to Bohemia turned out to be much larger than that. I discovered my roots on the way. While my Isleno ancestry, Spanish descendants from the Canary Islands, comes from a settlement called Valenzuela (now Belle Alliance) near Donaldsonville, I thought I'd say hello to my peeps at this Isleno dwelling in St. Bernard Parish.  

Canary Islanders Home

 Then it was off to Bohemia

.

 It was a simple, yet difficult route – down Hwy 46 to Hwy 39, through Braithewaite and other areas in Plaquemines Parish that were affected by Hurricane Isaac last summer. I didn’t photograph the miles of destruction I saw, but sights like this were not uncommon:

Houses on Levee

I drove past Phoenix.

And then continued on Hwy 39.

Hwy 39

Finally, I reached Bohemia.

Bohemia, 2013

Bohemia is a small, unincorporated town of Plaquemines Parish. It was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The 25 or so homes here show their determination, resilience and spirit.  For me, Bohemia was a testament of commitment to living our truth, no matter the circumstances.

Concrete Stairs                            *                   Bethlehem Lane

There are quite a few Katrina-related articles available online about Bohemia. I had read that the only thing remaining of the brick Civil-War era Baptist chuch, Bethlehem Judea African Church, was its sign. Yet when I reached Bethlehem Lane, there was a new structure in its place.

Betty the Bullhorn, along for the ride as a Champion of Living Your Life – no matter how “unconventional” it may seem, was very much moved by the church and, wearing her peace sign outfit,  wanted to lend her support.

On Bethlehem Lane, in Bohemia, Louisiana – Betty the Bullhorn shouts out for peace and calm - sometimes much needed when the path isn't always a straight one.

Betty Shouts Out for Peace

And you never know where the road will lead you. 

Bohemian Levee

Til next time..

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez