Saturday, July 26, 2008

Even in Turkey, Some Things Stay the Same

** Andy can be “just a music dude” in any country… He finds music stores like they have a honing beacon, he quickly befriends musicians walking on the street, he bonds instantly in conversations with artists, and he walks right up to the coolest looking instrument in a store and picks it up to start playing. Below, he is playing the Turkish Saz.

** Anna can feel equally as uncool around artists in Turkey as she does back home… being married to Andy definitely sets me up to be the lesser “hip” in the relationship. But because he’s married to me, Andy fondly overlooks the nerd within me. However, when we hang around with his other artist friends, they are not obligated to like me and therefore provide a great deal of intimidation to me. I know I don’t dress as cool or understand much of what the conversations are about, but I can smile and nod and pretend I am not feeling like the biggest tool on the planet. For example, one of the club promoters we met in Turkey was a girl: She had dyed purple hair, tattoos all over, cool ear peircings, wore cool clothes, smoked Marlboro Reds, wore green eye shadow, and was a size zero… juxtapose me: wearing black Old Navy Capri pants with a short sleeve button down shirt with puffy sleeves (it was my cool day), no tats, no piercings, plain brown hair, drinking bottled water, and feeling very uninteresting. Oh well. One club promoter asked me if I was a Mormon because he’d never seen such a laughably boring outfit on a club goer. I felt cool!

** Mini-bars prices are just as expensive as in America… after our first hotel stay in Izmir, we found that ONE (mini) Toblerone candy bar and one Turkish beer costs $30. Good to know (sadly, after the fact)!

** Racial profiling exists in Turkey too... on our first night in Turkey our friend took us to a mall for dinner. At the entrance they had a security checkpoint set up like you see at the airport. You put your bag/items on the conveyor belt to be Xray'd then you walk through a metal detector to get in. All three of us (1 Turk and 2 Americans, plus the people after us) sent the detector a'buzzing, but our Turkish friend just kept walking into the mall. Andy and I stopped to get wanded, but nobody official even looked in our direction. Then our friend explains "they do racial profiling here too, they'll only stop you if you look Arab." That made me sad.

** Boys, in today’s high-tech times, will email and chat each other from laptops in the same room… I have seen Andy do this before in our house. His best friend Shawn came to visit one time and we spent the night watching YouTube videos and them chatting online while sitting on opposite couches. I thought this was random, and perhaps just reserved for their relationship. But I’ve now seen Andy and his Turkish friend Umut “facebook chat” each other while in neighboring rooms. Guys—you are just a few short steps away, why with the computer already?!

On the flip side, here are just a few things that are quite DIFFERENT in Turkey: 1) McDonald’s delivers. Yep, you heard me. Even milkshakes. 2) Andy, who normally would punch a boy for snuggling him or tickling him or messing with his body, actually lets Turks touch him. I watched him get tickled on the stomach, hugged on, snuggled up against, even tapped on the back… all of which is very out of the ordinary for Andy (but American boys would probably still get punched, so be warned). He says he’s just embracing a cultural difference of male affection in Turkey. Finally, 3) Turkey is a walking culture, Austin is not… which resulted in me getting ELEVEN blisters and one ripped toenail. Just for the record.

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