And it’s all just the alimentary canal

I was also ridiculously unprepared for the whole trip but did spend enough time skimming our (outdated) Eyewitness guidebook to get nervous about Turkish toilets. So of course the first one I encountered, in the airport that makes JFK look like Rwanda, was beyond super-sleek (and no wonder: when I got in line to hand over my $20US to pay for my “visa” and the clerk winked at me, I understood where shakedown money goes). And the second, in the restaurant where we headed for our first lunch, had a sit-down, flush-easy toilet equipped with a Japanese-style plastic-seat-covering doohickey. I had to plant my feet in the proper spots only twice, once at a shop on the island where a pit stop cost one Turkish lira, again in a cafe where the food was about as retro as the plumbing. But those were good experiences. To the point that four days later I felt brave enough to venture into a Port Authority toilet for the first time in the nearly 30 years I’ve lived in Manhattan. Trust me: Primitive was better.