Television, backgammon, camels and pigeons
Trip Start Apr 16, 2006
39Trip End Jun 07, 2006
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Meanwhile, I have now spent enough quality time in Turkey to see a few of the differences and similarities between it and Egypt...
But first, a little tip for you. If you are in Turkey, the men here do not shake eachother's hands or hug or kiss eachother for greeting as they do in other countries. Oh no no no. They each grab the top of eachother's heads and knock the sides of their foreheads together (once on the left, once on the right). Don't ask me why, I have no idea. It's a guy thing.
Television and Music
In Egypt it was easy to find Arabic subtitled English television, as well as any other language. Since it is a hub of the Middle East there are tv stations in German, French, Italian and yes of course Arabic. In the hotels there was CNN and Fox News plus a station of American comedy (they even showed Arrested Development!) and a movie channel. (During my Nile cruise I watched Napoleon Dynamite and Lost In Translation while getting ready for sleep.) Sometimes you can hear American music when you are in restaurants or wandering around towns.
But in Turkey? It is all Turkish all the time. They are very devoted to their country (All hail Ataturk!) and most everything is Turkish or dubbed in Turkish. There is one CNBC channel that has subtitled shows occasionally, but 90% of television is completely geared for Turks. News, soap operas, etc. Usually I love watching foreign game shows because they tell me a lot about a culture, but the only one I have caught so far is their version of Who Wants to be A Millionaire.
Likewise, the music in Turkey is completely Turkish. They dont even import bad American music like most countries do, they prefer to make their own. I watched the Top 20 Turkish Video countdown this morning and I found it very interesting. There are many types of music and some of it is very nice, but there is a definite formula to their videos. Each song requires the artist (usually very attractive) to do many deep-thinking sidelong glances and sport wind-machine blown hairdos. Even the drummers of the bands have wind in their hair at times. I do not think I saw one single video that did not require a wind machine in its production budget.
I have seen a lot of people playing backgammon in both Egypt and Turkey. They play it so fast sometimes that I have no idea what is going on. It is impressive.
With all due respect to my dear Egyptian camel friend Moses, Turkish camels are a million times cuter. They are furry. And I never see them doing anything but sleeping or hanging out on the road with their owners. They seem very mellow and relatively happy in comparison to their Egyptian cousins. I mean, the furriness alone makes them just very cute.
And as a side note, my Cappadocia guide, Suat, was very upset when he heard my Egypt camel was named Moses. 'Moses is the name for a prophet.' he said. 'It is not the name for a camel.'
Unlike in America where they are considered flying rats... in Turkey a pigeon is a sign of peace. When you tour around the hill caves of Cappadocia, probably half of the homes you will see were made to house pigeons because they have been very good for many things for the Turkish. Besides eating, their poop is a preferable fertilizer and was also used to make much of the paint used in their murals and cave art. Plus they were used as letter carriers for correspondence.
In Egypt pigeons were equally important, you will see pigeon domes EVERYWHERE throughout the country. Only... thanks to the bird flu Egyptians had to slaughter each and every one of their pigeons. It was eerie how few birds there were on the road from Cairo to Alexandria, and yet the region is littered with bird houses everywhere you look. I felt very badly for the people who owned those birds.
If I think of more I will add it later but that is all for now!