[an error occurred while processing this directive]


  Field Notes From
Bob Ballard

<< Back to Feature Page

Bob Ballard On AssignmentArrows

View Field Notes
From Author

Peter de Jonge

Bob Ballard On Assignment

View Field Notes
From Photographer

David McLain

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by David McLain


Bob Ballard

Field Notes From Author
Peter de Jonge

Best Worst Quirkiest
    Sinop is an interesting city with an Old World feel.  There's a little barbershop on almost every block, and one morning I resolved to get a shave. I was apprehensive, not just because of the language barrier, but because I'd never done this before in any city.  I pushed myself across the threshold and was soon leaning back in a rickety chair at the mercy of an exotic stranger who pressed a straight-edge razor to my throat.  It was quite exciting, and that was before he burned the hair off my ears.

    This whole expedition was plagued by permit problems and because my papers were found to be particularly lacking in some way, I was allowed to stay on board for only three days at a time.  This meant that on two occasions I was required to abruptly grab my bags and scramble off. Even though part of me was more than happy to switch my rocking bunk for a flat bed, there was something humiliating and vaguely Napoleonic about being publicly ferried back to shore in a little fishing boat—and I had to do it twice. 

    After getting kicked off the Knorr for the second time, I caught a ride back to Istanbul with the guide and his girlfriend who had befriended me during my time in Sinop. It's about a ten-hour drive, and they are a modern Turkish couple with a new Subaru wagon and a folder full of CDs, many of which I also own. So of course I requested to hear some of those. Now whenever I hear Tom Waits, particularly his Mule Variations CD, I don't think of a desolate all-night coffee shop. I think of a highway between Sinop and Istanbul.


© 2004 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

National Geographic Magazine Home Contact Us Forums Shop Subscribe