Straight Talk

It’s hotter than hades here. And I just can’t get over these women running around with long double-breasted coats, scarves on their heads, clothes underneath. It is really unbelievable that these women put up with this tradition. I’m sorry to say this but from my perspective, this is nuts. As with all religions, it seems to be about men controlling women. And it seems particularly cruel since the muslims live in all the hot spots. Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia…the whole Arabian peninsula. They don’t live in Alaska and the Antartica. And of course, they live in hot, hot, hot Turkey.

Okay. So I have a question. How do the Turkish women use a Turkish toilet? I have to admit that I have never tried to use a toilet that requires you to squat. So that makes me a neophyte. Today necessity required that I do so but I didn’t’ know what to do. Do you face forward? Backward? Sideways is out of the question but that’s about the only thing I was sure of re: the W.C. of this variety so I just let my imagination run wild. I was wearing a levi skirt that is about knee high…thank goodness. However, what do I do with my underwear? Just saying. After trying different positions, I settled on a plan that required me to take one leg out of my undies and do the best I could. The question of whether I peed on myself remains unsettled. Oh. And then it came time to “dry” myself. What? No toilet paper. How was that suppose to work? Not very well was the answer to that question. And I certainly will not bore you details now. Enough humiliation for now. Suffice it to say, I’m glad I went but I was completely not glad the way I went. But this led me to wondering how the the Turkish women do this? Let’s see. Undies, long pants, robe or coat…and sandals in some cases. It boggles the mind. I know what I am going to do when I get internet access again. I’m going to google “how to use a Turkish toilet” and “how do muslim women use a Turkish toilet”. I need to know.

Having said this… we’ve been here for days now and this is the first time I’ve seen this “arrangement”. And I was forced to use it because we were on a ferry that took us from the Golden Horn to the Bosphorus Strait to the edge of the Black Sea…a captive audience if you will. And on that cruise, I figured out how I would make money in Turkey. Cushions. Yes, cushions. It turns out that the coolest spot on a ferry is the outside and the only seating available on the side of the ferry on the outside is made of wooden planks. Wooden planks are very uncomfortable on your derrière. Therefore, if i could start a company that rented cushions, I’d make a fortune. Because really, my derriere is still sore tonight. And I did a fair amount of standing up for the 2 hour-each way cruise up the Bosphorus Strait. And people would love me for thinking of this elegant solution. Of course, the ferry company might prohibit me from doing this because…well, they could do it. Palms would have to be greased. Asses kissed perhaps. I’d have to donate to politicians campaigns. Oh, heck. Forget it already. I think I’ll just suggest the ferry company rent cushions for their customers’ comfort. After all, I am retired.

The ferry may have been the only place that was “cool’ today because of the breeze generated by the moving ferry. It was about 90 today with high humidity and I understand this will continue for the rest of our stay. Glad I left my fur at home. And when we travel to Cappadocia, it will be in the interior of Turkey. I may have to stay in my cave hotel for the duration as I am told caves stay cool.

The end of the line brought us to a small village that was made up entirely of tourist traps…food and trinket traps. We were held captive there until the ferry started back…about 2 1/2 hours. I’m happy to report that the one toilet I used at the restaurant was modern and clean and did not involve squatting. It’s the little things in life. We spent the time eating, drinking, looking for a nonexistent park, eating some more and drinking some more because that is the only way we could get near the water. Six steps away from the water and air got hot and the breeze was no where to be enjoyed. At the end of our time there, we jumped backed on the ferry and cruised back. The cruise itself was instructive because the Bosphorus Strait cuts Istanbul into two parts. One part of the city is on the European continent and the other half of istanbul is on the Asian continent. The only city on earth that straddles two continents. And since all peoples of the world like to live near the ocean, this city of about 10 million people is comprised of dense neighborhoods with common wall residences. It is very densely packed. Zero lot lines would be a luxury.

Here’ some pictures. Above is our neighborhood from the water. Below is old and new.


A mosque and skyscraper. Below is an old fortress the Ottomans.

Ali and moi at the restaurant and a boy jumping from the bridge into questionable water…lots of debris and jellyfish that don’t sting.

On the patio this a.m. we discussed living in Istanbul. There are few codes..building codes, traffic laws as two examples. Boys can jump off bridges with impunity. Air quality and water quality are not good. Here is a government that doesn’t have a lot of “intrusion”…perhaps what the conservatives of our country want. This doesn’t seem like a good idea to us…as a group on the patio. Give rules, regulations, oversight to any of us on the patio. It seems prudent. Drowning our government in a bathtub doesn’t seem like such a good idea as we stare out at the neighborhood before us. Just saying.

So, it is off to grandma’s for tea this p.m. And to a church with fabulous mosaics. Hope we don’t roast to death while doing this…another hot day is forecasted.

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