Tuesday, June 17, 2008

how to find your way.

Ankara, June 6, 2008

Today I went looking for somewhere with wireless internet where I could sit for a spell, drink tea, and read and write online for as long as I liked, without tying up my cousin's phone line. One of Ezo's cousins suggested a place in busy busy Kızılay, a downtown neighborhood thronged with students and other youth, and lots of cafes.

Once I knew I was within a block or two of the place she described, I asked a man on the street where Leman Kultur was. He led scratched his head, smiled, took me by the arm, and led me to two youth sitting outside the bookshop where they work. They didn't know where the place was either, so all three took me indoors to ask someone else, who asked someone else. Soon a browsing customer gave her two cents, and half a dozen people were discussing where this place was and the best way to get there.

(This happens all the time, and not just to tourists, mind you -- the same thing occurs whenever I'm out with my cousins and we are unsure of our route. As my traveler friend Gus observed, street signs are are rarely posted in Turkey, and no one EVER uses a map. The people-centered culture here assumes that if you need to know something, you consult a person. Not a piece of paper.)

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