Since I do cover the alimentary canal, I feel compelled to talk about Turkish toilets. Trust me, you will always want those over the Western ones, which are neither as clean nor as sanitary. And if you’re a hoverer, they’re perfect. What amused me was seeing women always lining up for the Western ones when the Turkish was always empty. And that made me consider a solution to the perennial problem in New York of endless lines in the ladies’ room. Install one TT and I would never have to wait again.
I should be embarrassed to admit I patronized a Starbucks in Istanbul, at Attaturk, but the local chain was charging 3TL more for the cappuccino I desperately needed before making my way on to Beyoglu. Over the next week I repented at leisure as I noticed tip boxes wherever we went. Bad enough the shitty coffee is exported. But the shakedown custom, too?
Aside from the miserable dogs, the saddest things I saw in 10 days were the trash cans at Ephesus, the ancient ruins near Selcuk. There we were, surrounded by vestiges of civilization well before Christ, and the artifacts of our time are plastic water bottles. Which will still be around in another thousand years. And I don’t even want to dwell on the cat we spotted that was chasing two boys eating a bag of Lay’s potato chips. . . What would Mary think?
One more reason I know I was born at the right time: got to travel France and Italy before Mayle and Mayes. // Not a good feeling when you realize that faint odor of sweat is not cumin. // So hot you could bake pide on the dashboard. If you were a weather idiot. // Name fail: Titanic resort. And Spoil restaurant. // Why were chocolate Easter bunnies for sale at the coffee/wine bar at the Richmond Hotel? // Can they make baklava with yak butter? Or does it just taste that way? // Tourism slogan: Come to Turkish beaches. You’ll look skinny. //
I did manage to Tweet that the best thing about Turkey was the lack of fucking Americans. (In Alacati a restaurateur told us they rarely see foreigners at all; it’s mostly wealthy holidaymakers from Istanbul.) And I would say the mystery is why the country isn’t overrun, given how cheap and how fascinating it is, but I guess I know the reason why. Take it from me, though: It’s a trip being awakened by drumming at 4 in the morning during Ramadan. Otherwise the country, again, struck me as more secular than our own. It’s a drink-and-let-drink society.