Author Archive

Finland, but no wolverines

Originally I went to Eastern Finland to photograph wolverines (Vielfraß in German, glouton in French, gulo gulo in Latin). They are a part of the weasel family, but look more like a mix between a bear and a ferret, or something like that – I’d show you a picture, but I have none. Well, actually that is not exactly true, I have one picutre from 2011 when I saw a wolverine in the Grand Teton backcountry, but while the experience was magical, as a photographer I am not happy with the result. Or rather not happy enough to share it in public. If you’re on my couch drinking tea with me I’ll show it to you.
Anyway, wolverines are elusive as heck, which is why most people have never seen one in the wild, even those who spend a lot of time outdoors, so I am happy to have seen not one but two (and within a space of two weeks) in 2011, even if I did not get the images I wanted. Wolverines do exist in Finland close to the Russian border, however, and there are some people, like the lovely Sabrina Logeais, who provide hides so that photographers and wildlife watchers have a chance of seeing the little devils; and usually people do see them. I didn’t. I was in the hide for six nights and had no luck.
Which sounds terrible, but is also entirely untrue. While I had no luck with wolverines, which is very unusual based on what Sabrina told me (in fact, there were wolverines at Sabrina’s hide the two nights I spent in a different hide), I was very lucky in other regards. I did see and photograph quite a few Finnish bears and a Finnish wolf who came to the hide a few nights in a row, which apparently is also highly unusual. Below you can find some of the results, more will be posted on my website shortly. I hope you enjoy the pictures.


Exhibition Opening “The Bear Essentials”, April 03 2016, Café Vogelfrei, Mannheim, 2 – 4 p.m.

After my Freiburg exhibition closed last week, I already have a new exhibition coming up. Under the titel “The Bear Essentials” I will be showing a selection of images from the “Bear with Me” exhibition at a vegan cafe in Mannheim, Cafe Vogelfrei, from 03 April till the end of June 2016.

The exhibition opening will be on Sunday April 03 from 2 p.m. (14 Uhr) at Cafe Vogelfrei in the Quadrate (C3 20), Mannheim. I will be at the opening to answer questions about the images, sell them 🙂 and there will be a bit of sparkling wine. I hope to see many of you at the opening.

"Botched Mating Ritual," one of the images in the exhibition.

“Botched Mating Ritual,” one of the images in the exhibition; available as a limited print in an edition of 100.

Finissage Bear with Me, March 18 2016, 12:30

This post is in German because the event will be in German as well.

Am 18. März um 12:30 wird die Finissage zu meiner Ausstellung “Bear With Me” im Carl-Schurz-Haus Freiburg stattfinden. Es wird etwas zu Trinken und zu Essen geben und ich werde durch die Ausstellung führen und etwas zu einigen der Bildern sagen. Da wieder veganes Essen (von Kraut & Rüben Catering) und Getränke angeboten werden, wird das Event 7 bzw. 5 Euro (für Mitglieder des Carl-Schurz-Haus) kosten. Ich hoffe der Eine oder die Andere schafft es früh ins Wochenende zu gehen und auf dem Weg noch auf der Finissage vorbeizuschauen.
Bei Interesse können die ausgestellten Bilder direkt gekauft und mitgenommen werden (die Kosten fürs Catering gehen in diesem Fall auf mich). Nähere Infos zur Veranstaltung sind auf der Einladungskarte zu finden.

03_18_Finissage Bear With Me_Einladung.indd

Pictures from the Opening of “Bear with me” on Jan 28. in Freiburg

With my exhibition safely on the walls until March 18 and a very positive review in the local paper a few days ago (see my previous post), I finally find the time to share some images from the hanging and opening of the exhibition.
All of the images (except for the first three, which are mine) are copyrighted by Rudolf Fehrle.

Article about my exhibition in the Badische Zeitung

The Badische Zeitung, Freiburg’s newspaper, printed a very nice article about my current exhibition today (Feb. 10). You can read it online here – at least for a few days. I will upload a scan of the printed article as soon as I get it.

PS: I am not sure what they did to my image online, but it looks like a truly horrible HDR file (which it isn’t). You can find a version with a correct color space here, and, of course, see the bear the way it’s supposed to look like at the Carl-Schurz-Haus until March 18 :).

“Bear With Me” Exhibition opens in four days!

I’ve had a busy week and a half, preparing all the images (many of them ones I haven’t exhibited before), sending them off to Whitewall to have them printed, ordering mattes and sticky boards (which cost an arm and a leg – I am surprised each time), and preparing the texts that will accompany the images. In the remaining days I only need to mount the images, frame them and arrange them in the Carl-Schurz-Haus. Needless to say, I am quite excited to have a large exhibition again and really look forward to the opening on Thursday evening.

To give you a preview of what you can see from Thursday night till mid-March – only much bigger, better displayed and all around prettier and more awesome – here are a few of the new images. A few other are “animalscapes,” big landscapes with small animals in them, which really only work when they are printed large, so you will have to come to see them at the Carl-Schurz-Haus. I hope to see you there!

Spirit Bear Peeking through Fallen Tree Branch

Spirit Bear Peeking through Fallen Tree Branch

Trans-Alaska Pipeline North of the Atigun Pass

Trans-Alaska Pipeline North of the Atigun Pass

Display of Affection (Polar Bear and Yearling)

Display of Affection (Polar Bear and Yearling)

"Treed" Black Bear Cub

“Treed” Black Bear Cub

Exhibition “Bear with Me,” January 28 – March 18 2016, Carl-Schurz-Haus, Freiburg

This year will open with another exhibition of my photographs at the Carl-Schurz-Haus in Freiburg. The focus of the exhibition is on what is perhaps my favorite animal, bears. It will include pictures of grizzlies, black bears, spirit bears, and polar bears which I have taken in Canada and the U.S. over the past seven years (or so) as well as some shots of their habitat.
The opening is on Thursday January 28, 2016 at 7 p.m. I invite each and everyone to attend. Below is a digital version of the German invitation card. Click on it to get a larger view so you can actually read the text.

Bear With Me Invitation

Oh Canada! B.C. and Alberta Governments Plan to Kill Hundreds of Wolves

B.C. Wolf in the Great Bear Rainforest

B.C. Wolf in the Great Bear Rainforest.

In another sad attempt by politicians to fix the ecology informed by simplistic cause and effect science that has been proven wrong about 50 years old, the B.C. government has started a wolf kill in which 180 wolves are to be located by the radiocolars some of the wolves wear to make them trackable by scientists, then shot from helicopters. The official idea is to protect the last surviving woodland caribou, which have been severely decimated by … you guessed it: humans, not wolves; habitat loss to be precise.

Here is an idea of how senseless these measures are: The U.S. National Park Service stopped what was cynically called “predator control” in the 1960s, and in fact reintroduced wolves into Yellowstone National Park in 1998. This has been one of the greatest success stories of human animal control of the last decades, simply because it meant less rather than more control of an ecosystem that has developed through co-evolution over millions of years. Not so the B.C. government, or the Alberta government, which has killed over 1000 wolves since 2005 according to Alberta wildlife photographer John Marriott (that is the entire wolf population of Yellowstone and then some each year for the past 10 years!), and apparently politicians are considering stepping up their game by killing even more wolves so that they do not have to stop human habitat destruction. The whole procject is, of course, not only highly unethical, but also scientifically unsound, and pointless. As Canadian researchers have shown in a paper published only two months ago, there has been no effect of the Alberta mass slaughter, other than a thousand dead wolves, of course (see here; the site also gives other good reasons to oppose the killings). A sad day for a country with some of the greatest nature, but sadly not the greatest track record of protecting it – to put it mildly.

So what can we do?

If you are in BC or Alberta, write to your governmen, call them, visit them. Make your opinion heard. If you are neither in BC nor in Alberta that does not stop you from writing to the provincial governments, of course. Since they are not your (or my) representatives they probably won’t care too much about our votes, but they may care about our tourist dollars. After all these pay for the wolf killings. Many voices promising to boycott the two provinces may make a difference. They certainly will not hurt. Tell them you had planned to go to B.C. / Alberta this year and that you are now reconsidering. If you hadn’t consider it, consider it now, then change your mind. Wyoming, Montana and Colorado have beautiful mountains, too, as do the Alps for that matter. And Washington State also has a nice temperate rain forest. Pacific Wild’s website has a link to a preformulated email with the right addresses for B.C. here. Marriott has the Alberta addresses here. The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals also has sample letters and addresses, here and here. All these sites also have more background as well as other links which support the point that the wolf kills are not only unethical but show no effect on the caribou population they are supposed to save.

You can also support the folks at Pacific Wild, Ian and Karen McAlister and their supporters, who have done more in recent years for B.C. than most by donating money to their campaign to stop the wolf kill.

If you cannot give money and do not want to write, you can also sign their petition, which takes about 2 seconds. Over 100,000 others have already done so. It may not make a huge difference, but it certainly won’t hurt.

Thank you for caring about these wonderful and intelligent creatures!

Grand Teton in Winter

My first ever real post (and one that the stats of this page tell me people still come to through search engines) was on Grand Teton National Park, so now, a little over four years later I make another about Grand Teton. And, it will even include another picture of Andy Chambers’ Ranch (though not the Moulton Barn which I called the most photographed barn in America back then). However, even more so than Yellowstone, Grand Teton is a much, much less crowded place in the winter; for most of the photos I was on my own, which is what wildlife photography is supposedly all about, but which in the more popular parks, especially close to the roads, is not the case rather often or at least not for long.

In summer Grand Teton is a “sunrise place,” the Teton Range runs almost entirely from North to South, so the morning light creates rather intense alpenglow on the mountains, which makes it almost impossible to take a bad photo if one is up at the right time. The only trick is finding a suitable foreground. It also means, however, that it is almost entirely impossible to get a good picture of the mountains in the evening, unless really crazy cloud formations happen. In the winter, however, the sun sets so early, and thus so far to the south, rather than the west that you can get some decent light on the mountains till rather late. No comparison to sunrise, but still worth taking pictures of. Since I had fog or snow or clouds 7 out of 8 mornings while I was in the park I am very glad about this (I had at least two good evenings). The rest of the days I was faced with throwing my plans over board and dealing with the kind of light mother nature dished out to me, which is one of the challenges, occasional frustrations, but also rewards of nature photography. To say the least my images are very different ones than the ones I had expected, but some of them are pleasant surprises that, I hope, go beyong the clichés I described in my original post.

So without further ado, a my mix of my images from one morning, two evenings and several attempts to deal with less obviously mountain-centered light in Grand Teton and the National Elk Refuge right next to Jackson.

PS: There is one more post coming up with more photos from Yellowstone after my return from Grand Teton. At this point, however, I have 4253 images which I haven’t really looked through yet so it may take a couple of days.

First Impressions from Yellowstone

While I am currently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, looking at a moose chewing its cud in the driveway (cf. my previous post), I spent the last days of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 in Yellowstone National Park, and will be going back up on Friday. I’ve been to Yellowstone and Grand Teton three times before for extended periods, but never in the winter, something I have been wanting to do for years, and it is indeed special. It is quite cold, one day it was -33° C (-27 Fahrenheit), which makes photography both less pleasant, particularly when your fingers feel like they are getting frostbitten, and more so, since it is beautiful, pristine, and much less crowded than in the summer so that there is a chance for one on one or almost one on one wildlife encounters, something which in summer is almost impossible if one is anywhere near the main roads. I only spent four and a half days in the park so far, but it has been a fantastic four and a half days with bison (who always look somewhat boring in my summer photos, but gorgeous in the snow), deer, elk, moose, wolves (very far away), pronghorn, big horn sheep, and otters. I have only seen coyotes at a distance and surprisingly no foxes or squirrels, also very few birds.
Below are a few shots from near the Northern road which leads through Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley and ends at Cooke City. It is also the only road in the park open to private vehicles during the winter, everything else is open only to snowmobile or snowcoach tours, in case you were planning to come to Yellowstone in the winter as well.
As always, feedback both positive and constructive, and image orders (!) are welcome. Clicking on any of the thumbnails will open an image gallery that you can click through.

Please pardon the number of images, after going through nearly 4000 images I couldn’t decide to cull any more.

Moose in the Driveway

I am currently in Jackson, Wyoming, in a lovely house provided by a friend’s sister in exchange for two prints. Since the weather hasn’t been cooperating these last days, I am spending the afternoon going through images from the past week and a half in preparation for a post about Yellowstone National Park in Winter, waiting for the sunrise which will hopefully happen again tomorrow; the last one was 5 days ago. As I was looking out the window from the living room couch, I saw a moose chewing its cud in the driveway. Of course, today of all days, I’m a photographer without a camera – I knew I shouldn’t have left my cameras in the car.
Not wanting to miss this opportunity, who knows when the next moose will be in my driveway, I snuck out the back way through meters of snow drift, trying to pass the moose without disturbing her. I didn’t quite suceed, she got up and eyed me somewhat suspiciously, but reassuring her that I meant her no harm, I did pass by, almost close enough to touch. While I have been close to moose in the past, this is the closest I have ever been to a standing moose. And man are those animals huge – they put most horses to shame. On my way back I snapped a few shots, and I am happy to report that she is now eating willow bark in the driveway, about ten meters from where I originally saw her, so I cannot have disturbed her too terribly. I’ll regard it as a wakeup call, reminding her that it was time for dinner.

More importantly, however, who else owns a house in a beautiful location with mmoose in the driveway and is willing to do a tradeoff: I offer a print for a week of free boarding, two if you have a hot tub on your roof – I have my standards now, after all.

Moose in the driveway

Moose in the driveway

New Year’s moose

I am not much of a believer in new years, new years resolutions, and the whole shebang. As I was photographing moose in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, I came across a moose wishing his buddy a happy new year, however, so I may be wrong. In any case I will leave the talking to the moose.


Do any of you have any new years mooseolutions?

Portfolio Update

I have finally gotten around to updating the recent work folder on my website. Check it out if you have a minute and feel free to comment below. The images include pictures from a short trip to Ireland in August this year, as well as images from two years ago. The images are from both the Republic and Northern Ireland.

I plan to also order and update my other folders in the next few weeks, going through the current selection, adding a few new images, and adding water marks with my logo to all images now that I have an automated script and droplet for that in Photoshop (yay me!). Below are four images from Ireland that didn’t make it onto the website, I still like them though. As with all the pictures I share, these are for sale as fine art prints (and stock photos). Chair in a fence for your living room, anybody?

Fehrle201204-5325 Kopie


Fehrle201407-0211 Kopie

Fehrle201407-9983 Kopie


The four postcards I had made have finally arrived and are now sitting in my place (some) and in my parents’ basement (the majority). I am really happy with the quality of the result. If you want to help make my parents happy by giving them back their basement, you can buy some :). You can either pick up individual cards at FreundSaft and at the same time have a look at my prints displayed there (and treat yourself to one of those once you realize you really want a big version of my photos in your living room), or you can order them directly by emailing me. I sell them in batches of 10, either ten of one subject or mixed of all subjects, for 11 Euros plus postage or in batches of 40 – 10 of each – for 40 Euros plus postage. If you order 50 or more in order to resell them write me an email and we can negotiate conditions.

As a sidenote, the postcards are ecofriendly: they are printed on recyled paper in a climate neutral printing process; three are printed on paper that is identifiable as recycled and has a very nice touch, the last (the polar bear & cub) is printed on glossy paper, which reproduces the color and details quite nicely, but does not feel as postcard-y as the others.

The postcards sitting on my table, waiting for you to revive the ancient art of postcard writing.

The postcards sitting on my table, waiting for you to revive the ancient art of postcard writing.

Exhibition Opening in T-2

All the images are up on the wall (and look really nice), prosecco is in the fridge and I am getting a bit nervous, trying to decide whether I want to say anything or not – so basically everything is ready for the opening tonight. I hope to see some of you three tonight. Bring those of your friends who have money and are willing to appreciate photography as an art form 😉
Here are two impressions from Freundsaft with my images up on the walls.

Exhibiton at FreundSaft 1

Exhibiton at FreundSaft 2

Exhibibition at FreundSaft: Hanging Times & Invitation to Opening / Vernissage

We have finally decided on a date for the opening of my exhibition at FreundSaft. It will take place at 6:30 on July 12 at FreundSaft in Freiburg Stühlinger. This should give the soccer-inclined enough time to drop by and still get back home or to a pub in time for the kick off at 10. The invitation postcard has all the relevant information and a preview of one of the new images you can see on canvas in the exhibition. I hope to see you on the 12th, entry is free for all; and there are images, postcards, and delicious fruit juice for sale, of course.


Invitation Card

New Postcards, new exhibit and new Print Prices

As of early June (hopefully June 10 or so) I will be exhibiting a few of my prints at Freundsaft. The show will be a mix of regular prints and prints on canvas (a first). I will also have some postcards printed – another first – which when they are finished will be available at Freundsaft and Buchhandlung Schwarz. I will also sell them through my website in packets of 10 in a little bit.

Looking at how much this exhibit cost, and since I have not raised the prices for my fine art prints (limited and numbered, available by emailing me) since 2008, I will also slightly raise my prices as of June 15, since costs of production have increased over the last few years. If you have been toying with the idea of purchasing a print of one of my images for a while, now would be a good time. Send me an email and I will have the image made and sent to you asap.

As a teaser, here are previews of the postcards I will have made (click on the images for larger size):

Arctic Ground Squirrel_preview


Fehrle201210-3019-Eisbärin & Cub_reduziert


Cosplaying Ludwigshafen – Impressions of Hanami 2014

In my intent to be more aware of what is going on around me culturally, I went to Hanami convention on Sunday. It is a yearly convention of (mostly) German fans of Japanese pop culture, so I was expecting to see a few cosplayers (put somewhat bluntly: people who dress up in costumes to look like a fictional character or mix of elements associated with a fictional / popcultural style). It is fair to say I was not disappointed. In fact, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who had dressed up in any variety of anime-, Japan-, or just general fantasy or fan-culture related outfits; I saw a Tuskan Raider (sandman), for instance, which did not strike me as particularly Japanese.

Thankfully for me as a naturally shy person when people go to that much pain to look extraordinary not only are they a joy to photograph visually, they are a joy to photograph period. I have in the past had people pose for me, ask me to take their image (actually some random guy asked me to have his picture taken just two hours ago as I was walking and photographing by the Nekar canal in Jungbusch), and pay me to have their pictures taken (weddings or other formal occasions). In all of these cases they were obviously happy to have their picture taken, but I have never had such a large group of strangers so excited to be photographed not only by me, but by anybody – certainly not strangers from my own cultural circle who are so used to cameras. In fact, the only somewhat similar experience was at Wave-Gotik-Treffen, but of course being too enthusiastic is not very gothic. It is cosplay / Japanimation, however. And from the impression I got quite a number of visitors spent a good deal of time being photographed by one after the other person with camera.

Anyway, here are some impressions from Hanami 2014. I definitely look forward to Hanami 2015.

If you are in one of the pictures, feel free to download the picture and leave me a comment. If you’re not in the pictures but know I took a picture of you email me.

New Year, new computer, new (years) resolution

Dear readers (wordpress tells me there were still some of you left in 2013),

first of all I wish you all an exciting, insightful, enjoyable 2014!
2013 has been a busy year, and photography, alas, was not my highest priority for most of the year. On top of my preoccupation with other things, I have had neither what could be called a functioning computer nor an internet connection at home. This has forced me to put off sorting, editing, and sharing my photos (I did still take a few … thousand … which I am eager to go through). As I write this entry, however, my new Acer V5 netbook sits before me on the table and is only waiting for an SSD drive to arrive at my house in the next few days so that I can finally get started installing an OS, Lightroom, Photoshop and all the good stuff to dig into all those photos from Alaska, Marocco, Mallorca, Romania, Ireland, Germany, California, still sitting unprocessed, and sometimes never seen even by me, on various harddrives.
Which brings me to point three of my post, the resolution. One of my new years resolutions is to be less negligent of my blog and my photos this year. There are literally thousands, probably tens of thousands of pictures waiting for me to go through and actually do something with: post them here, on my website (where, let me remind you, you can aquire large format, limited, numbered and signed prints at a more than reasonable price), as well as offer them to more magazines, stock agencies, and galleries.
So now it’s out; and, tellingly, I only have a photo on my stick to seal the deal that’s, uhm, pretty old … but at least it’s a moose cow looking optimistically into the new year.


Moose Cow “sealing the deal.”

Talk on the Canadian Forest this Sunday

I will give a talk on the Canadian forest and its inhabitants (humans and animals) this Sunday (July 8) at 2 p.m. It is part of a whole day focusing on the Canadian forest in the Waldhaus Freiburg (Wonnhalde 6, 79100 Freiburg).

Although I am not exactly sure what I will talk about yet, I am certain that I will show lots of beautiful images of the landscape and the animals living in it. The talk itself will most likely be a very non-academic reminiscing about my travels in the Canadian West with some observations about the behavior of bears, moose etc. thrown in, and it will be in German.

You can download a pdf with the program for the day here. Hope to see some of you there.

Bald Eagle in Morning Fog, Great Bear Rainforest, Canada

Alaska exhibition in Stuttgart opens tomorrow

Just a quick last minute reminder that my exhibition “Alaska – The Last Frontier” in the James-F.-Byrne-Institut, Charlottenplatz 17 in Stuttgart will open tomorrow at 7 p.m. I am quite excited to see my images as large format prints and nicely framed on display again – the cellar’s just not a good place for them. I am also surprised to see that most of my top picks of 2009 are still among my favorites, although so far I took out three of my old images and will probably take out two more that I’m not quite happy with anymore. I will also add five new images. You can preview these below.
The decision about which ones to add was a tough one once again, I could easily have added another twenty – for one there are no porcupines among the images I have on display. As a small consolation to myself and maybe some of you, I will show most of the close contestants in the slide show for my opening talk tomorrow evening. I hope to see some of you in Stuttgart, but even if you miss the vernissage tomorrow, the images will be on display until September 21. This means that at least the Germans should have a chance to look at them.

PS: Looking through my images and additions again I have to say, I do love my bears.

Alaska Exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany

Finally here is the invitation card for my upcoming exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany (June 15 – September 21, 2012).

You can also download the invitation as a pdf here.

I will be exhibiting many of the same prints I also had on display in my exhibit at the Carl-Schurz-Haus in 2009, but plan to add a few from the original as well as a more recent trip to the panhandle in 2011. I hope a fair number of people will show up for the opening, during which I will show many more images from my 2008 trip, as well as a recent trip from last year and talk about the making of a few of the images on display.

My talk will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday June 14.

Postmodern Schlock and Screwing Tortoises

Wednesday on my visit to Side I had not one but two novel experiences. The first was a visit to the Manavgat waterfalls, which both of my guide books praise highly as an idylic retreat, the other were two screwing tortoises and later two others. Apparently it’s that time of year, at least if you’re a tortoise.
Watching tortoises during copulating is a view at once endearing and ridiculous, which – if you think about it – is probably also the way human intercourse would look from a tortoise’s perspective. The way it works as far as I could tell is that the male bonks the female’s shield repeatedly (a sound that is quite distinctive and led to my discovery of the second pair) to get her all fired up between periods of mounting for which he makes the most bizarre noises + cum face. All in all quite a sight to behold.

Tortoise cum face

The other major revelation was the “waterfall.” It’s more of a rapid really and part of an ensemble made to resemble … whatever … something, the sunken city of some place or other, probably. They built terraces all around the “waterfall” and then flooded them over. Now they charge admission and there are “professional photographers” all over the place who take your picture with your loved one and sell it to you, I bet they make a decent living since there are tons of young courting Turks. Naturally their pictures are underwhelming. Add half a dozen or so gift shops with pirated sweaters, shoes and other trash and you have a fairly good idea. The whole setup was so incredibly bizarre, and reminded me so much of a DeLillo novel, I gladly paid the 3,50 lira. The fact that I was pretty much the only non-native was a nice change.

The sunken city (?) at the Manavgat "waterfalls"

Lastly I couldn’t let you go without at least a half way decent image. This one was taken last night above the Dimcay dam, on the way to Gemüseauflauf [vegetable casserole], as a fellow touristess called it.

Scene above the Dimcay dam.

Thank the Almighty for Rental Cars

Faithful readers,

it took me only about an hour in Antalya to realize that He must have had travelers such as myself in mind when in His infinite wisdom He invented rental cars. I received a first strong pointer when I was trying to find dinner. Hardly anybody here seems to have a clue of what “vegetarian” means; naturally, trying to explain what a vegan is seems even more hopeless – which speaks for the kind of people who usually stay in Antalya.*

Even more bizarre about this section of Turkey is that fact that everybody speaks German, or some version thereof, and everyone immediately addresses you in German, tourists as well as Turks (this is only true of the town, not the country, noone speaks anything but Turkish as soon as you leave the tourist ghettos, which does not mean you won’t get invited for çay and smile at each over the Babylonian language barrier). I don’t think I have ever been so fully embedded in Ruhrpott culture as these last two days. My neighbor has brought a gigantic Schalke flag which covers his entire balcony. He also has a Schalke towel, and I think I saw him wear Schalke shorts the first day. He refers to Bild as “the newspaper,” in exactly the tone of that snooty TV ad for the Taz, which some of my German readers may recall. Right now he is in great dismay because the internet has not been working all day (“Dat geht mir auf den SACK, ey”).

Antalya itself lies in a pretty enough spot: the Mediterranean on one side, the mountains on the other and it has a castle overlooking the water. The city has exhausted its potential, photographic as well as otherwise, in a not too busy day, however – unless your idea of having a good time is getting sunburnt, and enjoying the all-inclusive buffet and free drinks at the hotel – which for a lot of people seems to be the case. I, on the other hand, have decided it’s serious rental car time, for although I enjoy a day at the beach or pool, I would feel too much like wasting my time if I ignored the surrounding area.

Yesterday [Monday] I went to the East as far as Anamur and quite enjoyed the coastline. I also added another member to my growing family, for I found another long lost brother – or rather he found me. This new addition to my family, Hayati, as opposed to my previous two Jordanian brothers, who were hospitable to the point of embarrassment, was obviously more interested in hustling me for money, which over an extended trip from his village to Anamur and back he half-craftily did. All the while he was addressing me as Thomas, which, curiously, happens to be the name of my cousin from the estranged side of my family. While I did not buy any rugs or knickknacks (nor did he try to sell any), my new-found brother (“Meine Mama ist Deine Mama”) got more and more drunk with the money he “borrowed” from me, while insisting that I should let him drive, for he still could, and that I should drink a second beer and some of his vodka for the police wouldn’t care anyhow – which may or may not be true. In the end he entertained / embarrassed / harassed / amused me for most of an afternoon and into the pitch black night at which point he was so shitfaced his excuses for not giving me back my money got more and more flimsy and he starting praising scenery which, for lack of light, no one could have seen. His company was charming / obnoxious / hilarious and culturally enlightening enough to have been worth the price of the vodka he drank “on the house” – although he of course promised to give me the money back when he’s in town on Thursday. I’m of half a mind to test his honesty. In large part because he claims to work for an outfitter who takes people waterskiing and I wouln’t mind trying waterskiing. Although I do not expect to ever see him again, maybe this will be one of the rare occasions in which mankind positively surprises me. I will also have to ask my parents what else they have kept hidden from me; I am sure there are some more skeletons in the closet considering how many brothers I have all over the world I have never heard of.

I think I will head back East tomorrow morning, when the imam faithfully reminds me (around 4:30 a.m.) that it is my heavenly duty to use the best light for my photography. Although I would personally set him half an hour later, his praise of Allah is a good incentive to get out of bed, for the very thought of sleep is laughable for at least ten minutes while he’s at it, and afterwards you are so awake you might as well get out of bed. Also on the list of places to go in the next few days are Antalya, Side and Dimçayi. I might also try my luck at just driving into the mountains to see what they have to offer. And I still have the lecture to write I have to hold two days after getting back. It’s on the topic of postmodernism and Antalya seems to be about as appropriate a place to write it as I can think of, the only place more appropriate I can think of would be Las Vegas [edit: I found an even better place, Manavgat-Selalesi, the dream escape of Turkish families and postmodern kitsch beyond belief].

PS (Wednesday morning): He also has a Schalke bathing suit. While he seems nice enough when you talk to him, I am beginning to really worry. In other news: there’s still no internet: “maybe tonight.” Whatever, I’m off to the West for the rest of the day. I hope I will be able to post this tonight.

* After a while I found that at least some restaurants have a vegetarian selection, with always the same three items on the menu, the difference between which – if there is any – is so slight it frankly escapes me.

For those who have read (or skipped) this far, here are some images:

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