East Meets West

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I have a confession to make.

It could cost my career as an ar-teest, but here it goes....I....have.......cellulite. You're probably wondering 'big deal, who doesn't?!' Frankly I am too, but it's hard to avoid the fact that this type of fat is so controversial in Turkey this summer.

It all started out when uber-star Hülya Avşar was caught on film crawling out of the sea with super dimply thighs. She later tried to rectify her image by romping near reporters, making sure they were catching her in the right lighting (apparently lighting has everything to do with how severe your fat looks - who knew?). Then there was a slew of stars filmed on boats in shorts and sarongs, to which TV programs claimed they must be hiding something.

Clearly creams don't work. Nor does spending thousands of dollars on special cellulite massages. So what's a gal to do? Fortunately, an American sistah has come to the rescue. Instead of creating a gossip vortex, the revelation that J. Lo has cellulite was met with not just low-key reportage, but actual sympathy.

Who knows - maybe having cellulite will actually become all the rage. Cellulite could just be the new body trend of 2008...


Sunday, July 22, 2007


Today millions of Turks go to the polls to elect the next parliament. This election is more controversial than previous ones as the ruling AK Party, which has Islamic roots, is expected to win, while secularists believe if they do win and appoint a president from their party they will revise the constitution and put Turkey under Sharia Law.

Over the weeks leading up to the election, I've heard some interesting comments from the man on the street as well as some candidates:

"Anybody who votes for Erdogan
(AK Party) will go to hell!"
- Erbakan, former head of the conservative Islamic Saadet Party. Both Erbakan and Erdogan are from the now-defunct Welfare Party.

"I support CHP, Ataturk's party. If the head were Mustafa Sarigul
(the CHP leader of an affluent district in Istanbul), I would give them my vote. But Baykal (the party head) is a maniac who is full of hot air and has done nothing to help the Turkish people. So I voted for MHP." -
Taxi driver itching to tell me who he voted for. CHP is the leftist party founded by Ataturk that supports secularism. MHP also supports secularism, but is more nationalist.

"Americans don't understand the seriousness of the situation. If AK Party wins, they will slowly impose Islam on our country. You won't notice it at first, but they will change the constitution to Sharia Law and Turkey will become another Iran."
- Turkish woman expressing what many secularists fear will happen if AK Party stays in power.

"There are people who say 'I am the leader of Ataturk's party'. But if Ataturk were alive today, he would be ashamed of its leadership."
- Prime Minister Erdogan about the leader of the CHP.

"I'm religious, I pray every day, and I have many friends like me who are voting for CHP. I don't like the fact they are making money over religion."
- Young professional in Istanbul on his election choice and views about the ruling party.

"I'm definitely voting for AK Party because under their rule, the price of cooking oil has dropped, there is very little inflation and the cost of my utilities has stayed the same."
- Taxi driver on why he supports AK Party.


Saturday, July 07, 2007


If there's something Turks love almost as much as football, it's driving like maniacs. It doesn't matter how many cars (or pedestrians) are on the road. The person behind the wheel has the right of way and the right to speed.

So it really comes as not surprise that Turkey has been ranked best in the world for something that combines food (another one of Turkey's loves) with quick driving. After inspection in 60 countries and a review of rankings based on several criteria including customer satisfaction and delivery speed, the parent company has selected Domino's Turkey as the best in the world!

And if you see how the delivery guys drive in Turkey, you'll understand how they scored high points on delivery speed...