Views of the Monkeynut

by   Peter R. Lloyd-Davies

Europe 1997 New Hampshire 1998 On Kittens and Cuckoos 2003
Disney 2000 New Hampshire 1999 My Uncle Edward 2004
Europe 2000 New Hampshire 2000 My War Journal 2005
Southwest 2001 Seattle 2000 Amateur vs Professional 2006
Cape Cod 2002 New Hampshire 2001 2007
Opila reunion 2002 Seattle 2002 2008
Christmas 2002 New Hampshire 2003
Honk! - February 2003 Toni in Alaska, July 2008
Memorial Day 2003
July 4 2003
Maine, August 2003
Lake Winnipesauke, 2004
Russell is 90, Sept 2004
Europe, August 2005
A mighty wind, 2006
Turkey, 2007
Xmas 2007 pictures
Mike's graduation, June 2008

Views of the Monkeynut presents a vivid multimedia adventure unfolding the splendor of the Lloyd-Davies and Lynch atomic family, featuring, as the nucleus, Peter and Louise; as the electrons, Madeleine and Toni, along with their perky pets, Volt and Tillie. Discover the agonies and ecstacies of their latest travels, or study the history of their adventures from conception to the present through a vast archive of photographs, scientific facts, questionable rumor, text, graphics and videos.





2006 The glories of Istanbul - One of Louise's life's dreams has been to go to Turkey. Although I was not initially particularly enthusiastic when she first proposed taking a family vacation in Turkey, the more I read about it, the more excited I became. The meeting place of Christendom and Islam, at one time a clash of armies, now a cultural mingling, tomorrow, who knows? The old world of rug merchants, out of Aladin, meets a 21st century western civilization. The Topkapi museum. The ruins of the ancient city of Troy, perhaps even the bones of the Trojan horse itself. And some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world stretched out along the Mediterranean Sea.

So we made our decision to spend a couple of weeks in August in Turkey, flying into Istabul, spending a few days sight-seeing in the city, flying to Capadocia to spend a couple of days staying in a hotel built into a cliff face, returning to Istanbul and renting a car to drive down the Aegean coast, stopping at Troy and other amazing ruins, refreshing ourselves in the sparkling waters of the Aegean and then flying back from Izmir to Istanbul before returning to New York.

My only reservations had to do with the cost - primarily of all the travel - and some lingering unease concerning the strained state of Christian/Muslim relations. Turkey seemed to be accustomed to mixing the east and west in a non-explosive way, but things seemed to be starting to fray at the edges, with bombs occasionally going off in synagogues and resort areas. But the government continued to take a firmly secular line, condemning violence where it shows its face, and there didn't seem to be a strong religious tide led by enraged Turkish imams crying out for jihad against the great Satan. Indeed, it seemed that the motivation for violence was more likely to reflect the continuing struggle of the Kurds for political autonomy than anything else.

As the time for our departure approached, we began to get more exited. We spent time looking through guidebooks containing beautiful pictures of both the Byzantine churches and exquisite mosques dating back to Saladin. I decided to learn Turkish and bought a Turkish textbook; after a few weeks, I was able to count up to ten. Our Turkish travel agent, Mehmet, had made all of the arrangements for us to travel within Turkey and stay at interesting hotels. We began to make lists of items to bring and even started to put them into piles for packing. What could possibly go wrong?

Louise went to Cleveland to an Opila family reunion the weekend before our departure. She got to see her old home in Lakewood Ohio and even spoke to the family now living in the house who bought it from the Lynches those many years ago. She also got to spend time with her siblings and her vast compendium of cousins. The only blot on an otherwise idyllic weekend was a painfully stiff neck and a little rash on the back of her neck. Her sister Kathy looked at the rash and said: "Well, I hope I am wrong, but this looks like it could be shingles, a nasty inflammation of nerves caused by the chickenpox virus which Wallon had and which caused him miserable pain for weeks."

After returning, Louise went off to see the doctor on Monday. Yes, indeed, it was shingles and no, definitely, you shouldn't even think of taking long trips abroad until it is gone. And so that is the story of our trip to see the glories of Istanbul.

Postscript - Fortunately, that was not quite the end of our vacation. Louise was prescribed an intiviral drug which is supposed to moderate the effects and the duration of shingles. After a few days, Louise felt up to a modest trip and so we headed up to Boston to check out a couple of schools for Madeleine and then spend a few more days on the Cape. In Boston, we stayed in the Back Bay area - very pleasant but ex-pen-sive! After claiming our rooms, we drove off to see Wellesley college, which is about a half hour out of Boston. I had been unenthusiastic about Madeleine going to a single-sex school, but we found the campus breathtakingly beautiful and I soon found my attitude completely changed around. After thinking about this transformation, I started feeling a little uneasy about the whole process of visiting campuses. Somehow, being there creates some spurious bond with the school, so you start talking yourself into wanting to go there. After Wellesley captured our hearts, we went to see Tufts, but arrived too late to take the tour and wandered around by ourselves in a desultory way. The effect of this was to make us unbonded with the school and Madeleine decided to remove it from the list of schools under active consideration (although I think she had some other reasons in addition to our failure to bond with it.)

After checking out these schools, we headed for the Cape. It was a totally miserable day, raining hard, humid, dreary, a most inauspicious start to spending a few days on the beach. But actually, it turned out just fine for us - the rain stopped by the time we reached Harwich, where we were staying and the sun shone pretty much the whole time we were there. We went down to the beach the first day we were there and got a little burned so we actually spent the rest of the time trying to avoid additional exposure to the sun. There wasn't much in the way of tourist amenities in Harwich, although one evening we discovered a great throng in the streets, listening to live music being played in various parking lots and gas stations; on enquiring, we found out that this was the Harwich music festival which takes place every other Wednesday night. We spent a little time in Chatham (small, kinda cute), Orleans (large, some nice restaurants and a dazzling beach which we did not visit) and Wellfleet, where we teamed up with our friends the LoBues for an excellent dinner. We all enjoyed ourselves with the exception of Madeleine who pronounced herself not a beach person and who spent much of the time in our cottage reading.

On our way back to New York, we stopped off for a night in Providence and took the tour of Brown University. We all loved the tourguide and felt once again the strength of the magic bond.

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