Back from Istanbul!
Sunday, October 24, 2010 :: Tagged under: pablolife. ⏰ 2 minutes.
Hey! Thanks for reading! Just a reminder that I wrote this some years ago, and may have much more complicated feelings about this topic than I did when I wrote it. Happy to elaborate, feel free to reach out to me! 😄
I'm a week back from my marvelous trip, photos over at Madly Brilliant's blog and a Facebook album.
I can only say it was a magnificent, magnificent week. I might even say transplendent! Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been to, and Turkish people were (as many people are) kind, warm, and happy people.
Sometimes I imagine/fantasize doing what my mother did, which is to go to another country where you don't speak the language and really make a life for yourself there. If I had to do it anywhere, Istanbul would be a great candidate. While you have the beautiful old city, you also have a thriving, modern hub rich with activity and the city life that I love so much.
So why aren't I thinking of ways to make my life there now? There are a few sore points with my Turkish experience:
It's illegal to criticize Ataturk in Turkey. Not that I know enough about him to criticize him at all (hell, it's because of him Turkey is the success story that it is, in terms of secularism) but I still find this law egregious. We all know I'm pretty anal about freedom of speech though.
Youtube is banned throughout the country after trolls made fun of Ataturk. Really? Yeah, that'll show'em! The funny thing is there are crappy proxy sites people use, and the prime minister himself said something along the lines of "the supreme court made a dick decision, so use the sites. I know it's illegal, but you should use them anyways."
Turkey is the most dangerous place to surf the internet. It hardly affects me because I'm usually on Linux/Mac, and am a security buff. But still, hardly a mark you want. Madly Brilliant found 2 viruses on her USB drive after lending it to a Turkish Roommate. That's what happens when you stick your stick in the wrong slot!
Finally, its turn back to religion. While Istanbul and Izmir remain pretty secular, populated almost exclusively by MINOs (Muslims in Name Only), this is true of almost any country: the big cities are pretty secular. What also matters is the leadership, and the general populace, both of which are crossing into more religious territory. I avoid that when I can.
Despite these little thorns (and most countries, ours included, have more and more severe ones), I'm pretty much in love with that country ^_^
The whole experience also made me think of my new adulthood. I'm working, and loving it, but occasionally thinking to myself "So when's Winter Break?" Oh yeah, there isn't one. You get three weeks a year.
If my three weeks get to be like that one was, it's a bargain for twice the price ^_^
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