Impudent In Istanbul

I am writing to express my disappointment with the article on Istanbul Turkey written by Carole Lieff in the last issue of the Journal (MJ #13/38). Not only was it poorly written and hard to follow but tactless and demeaning as well. To say “If you’ve seen one mosque, you’ve seen ‘em all” was a particularly crude comment about a place of worship. I doubt if she is of the Islamic faith, which makes it particularly offensive. All people must strive to be tolerant of each other’s faith and culture and her article was sadly disappointing in this regard.

The author may have tried to be funny but failed miserably and came across as arrogant and ignorant as she commented on the architecture and art of Turkey. And she obviously has not traveled to many under-developed countries or she has been sheltered from their realities. How else do we explain her surprise to find people with their hands out in such countries? I am planning on traveling to Turkey soon and look forward to experiencing the country’s rich history and culture.

Sue Ahlgren

Santa Barbara

(Carole responds: I'm sorry you were disappointed in the article. This piece also went out to 10,000 subscribers to my Art Advisor newsletter world-wide and, as far as I know, none were offended by it... I, in fact, do a lot of business with a local Turkish man who wholeheartedly agrees with the article and left Turkey to come here for the very same reasons I was so appalled.

As for my comment about the culture; it is misogynist. Sorry. I saw the poor women laden with 20 pounds of clothing in 95-degree heat, while their stud husbands strutted around in shorts and light cotton short-sleeve shirts and sandals. Contrary to your impression, I have been to almost every third world country. And since you're so adamant that Turkey is a third world country, I guess it’s not going to make it into the EU.

Nowhere that I’ve been – Thailand, China, Bali, Mexico, or anywhere else – do beggars hound tourists like they were like dead carcasses to be picked off by vultures, as they do in Istanbul. And this where they supposedly pray five times a day? What are they praying for? That the tourists won't get hip to the endless con games and scams? Had I not been to so many third world countries, I would not have been so shocked.

Two women alone in Turkey is a very bad idea. I will not go back to a country where woman are so disrespected. As far as my comments about the architecture, well, it was about the architecture. What does that have to do with religion? If I had said “If you’ve seen one medieval church, or Jewish temple, or Hindu shrine, you’ve seen ‘em all,” would I have offended Christianity, Judaism, or Hinduism? I don’t think so. According to your world view – “I doubt if she is of the Islamic faith, which makes it particularly offensive –apparently only Muslims can knock Islamic architecture. Well, I disagree.

I will bet my eye teeth that those who enjoyed Turkey either had a man with them, and/or didn't stay six whole days to get the full pungent flavor of the place. The worst thing about Turkey is that it is not a third world country. You can have it, Sue; enjoy your trip; I didn’t. – Carole Lieff)

Another Turkey Experience

Carole Lieff’s tourista escapade in Istanbul mirrors ours. Like paying in advance a king’s ransom (ransom is the key word) to get us to the Kapinski Hotel from The Blue Mosque and stopping halfway there and putting us out in the middle of the highway with the excuse that he had run out of gas. No partial refund, nada! As soon as we slammed the door he sped away (must have been a hybrid). We walked seven miles to the hotel in a boiling sun!! We were all but mauled by guides and carpet salesmen – which are one in the same – the entire time we were there.

It must be genetic disorder because everyone is afflicted with it. If those damn carpets could really fly they might actually offer more incentive to tourists to get out of Istanbul.

The one tiny bright spot was in a park when I was yearning for something affordable, cold, and familiar, I spotted an ice-cream seller.

The ice cream guy, before handing me my cone, asked if I was from the USA. I smiled sweetly and said “Yes.” I am looking at that beautiful ice cream cone and thinking if he doesn't like Americans, I will get it up my nose.

But then he asked if I liked [President] Bush. I looked him in the eye and said “No.” It got me a free extra scoop.

Finally, I had found some common ground with the carpet baggers. Betty Stephens

Santa Barbara

(Editor’s Note: No doubt had you expressed affection for Osama bin Ladin, you’d have found even more common ground, and perhaps gotten two extra scoops! – TLB)

Dr. Gloria, Thank you

I want to thank you for your support of Gloria Kaye and her work with animals. Simon is a 13-year-old bird-chasing, hole-digging dog.

Simon was diagnosed with Cancer in October of 2006. Doctors were unable to remove all of the tumor tissue in his front leg. We were presented with the options of very costly radiation treatment in Los Angeles or amputation. I just didn't feel amputation was the answer and radiation was not an option. After a month of turmoil and searching for a way to help Simon, Gloria came into our lives. With Gloria's help we have avoided amputating Simon's leg. After his first session with Gloria, Simon spent the afternoon resting. The next day Simon was full of energy, running and digging on the beach. I was overwhelmed with joy. Simon continues to see Gloria and has shown no further sign of cancer. Thank you Gloria, for helping Simon to have the best quality of life! He is so thankful to have all fours. With love, Susan and Simon

i> (Publisher’s Note: Gloria Kaye can be reached at 805-701-0363 or 805-966-6104 – TLB)