On the Lighter Side

After the post yesterday I thought I would lighten it up a bit.  For today at least.  There are several oddities that I have noticed around these parts.  Usually I am inclined to throw my head back and laugh at most, sometimes my hands fly in the air in disbelief and then other times all I can do is shake my head. 

Let's talk about driving.  For instance, there are painted traffic lines on the road.  Similar to what we have in the states, yet here they are a mere suggestion.  Much like the posted speed limit and "no passing" rule.  Brights are flashed if you are headed the wrong direction, if you are driving too slowly, if there are polis waiting for you ahead, or maybe for no other reason than the driver oncoming or behind you was too bored.  Round -abouts are a fairly new addition here, designed of course to help with the flow of traffic.  Only no one knows quite what to do with them; yield as you enter or yield as you exit?  Who knows.  Not me apparently, I am always yielding, unsure of what the other drivers might or might not be looking at.  Oh and red lights, forget about it.  If you choose to roll through the light and continue on more power to you.  Except for when there might be a traffic control officer watching from the center divider.  But hey even then your chances of escaping without a ticket are favorable. 

I know what you're thinking.  The drivers in America do not necessarily heed to the traffic laws either.  They do, though, in comparison.  And we are all well aware of the significant consequences, monetarily and otherwise, that await us if we choose to disobey. 

On another note, let's just discuss the idea of personal space.  A foreign concept here.  As I mentioned in a previous post about Thing 2's visit to the hastane.  Regardless of medical privacy acts our business was every elderly lady's business in that place.  Albeit sweet and I think genuinely harmless, it was quite odd and a little invasive.  Walking anywhere here you are likely to be bumped, shoved even pushed out of the way, no matter your age.  Ladies use handbags as weapons in the mall and rarely do you hear a "pardon".  When the Things and I stop to let someone in front of us or move to the side for an elderly person we receive the strangest stares.  Not to mention the concept of forming lines, or ques.  Uh no.  We have been cut in front of  and pushed aside.  Of course Turkish words are exchanged and we just move aside.  It is not in our nature to argue and hey I think they must be in a hurry.  For what I am not certain.

I need to pause and just laugh for a moment.  All of these nuances are not of huge weight, this I know.  I also know that there are reasons, justifiable to the culture here to answer all the "why's".  It is not important that life here is sensical to me, only that I can live here honestly and to the best of my ability.  With that being said it is humorous for to read what I have written above.  From each of these I have gained a lesson of some sort. 

On to the next.  Affection is common and expected.  It is not unlikely to observe to young adult men walking arm in arm down the street, young girls also.  A typical greeting includes kissing on the cheek twice and shaking hands, warmly.  I love it.  Respectful though of the opposite gender.  Children are loved on by strangers and family members alike.  Babies are cooed over and if they aren't covered properly for the weather a stranger has no problem saying so.  It is fascinating to watch the dynamics of this area play out publicly. 

Stray cats and dogs are everywhere.  And I do mean everywhere.  They sit near our garbage bin every night, hoping something tasty awaits them.  The dogs for the most part, are kind and mind their own business.  I am not exaggerating in the least bit when I say they are everywhere.  At restaurants, parks, tourist sites, official buildings, pazars and even within the compounds.  They aren't necessarily considered pets by the people here.  Dogs are usually kept for security purposes. And the cats, well I guess they are an added bonus. 

More to come on this subject.  Of course please do not consider this an intellectual cultural analysis, just some observations from a "yabanci" trying not to forget anything about her time as a foreigner here.

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