Turkey = China?

Turkish delights at the Egyptian Bazaar

I’ve noticed so many similarities between Istanbul and Asia, in general, that it makes me think just how incredibly influential globalization is and how history really does repeat itself.

From day one, hearing about and witnessing how the transportation in Istanbul is terrible due to overpopulation naturally made me think of Asia and how, well, that’s the case in every major city. Congestion is not new, and if anything, my friend’s local friend pointing this out only reinforced just how similar we all are.

In Taksim Square, there was a major protest where it was due to the government’s violent reaction to otherwise peaceful protests (over park preservation, of all things) that only sparked a fire in the protests among the citizens. This literally could describe most protests around the world (most recent one that comes to mind is Hong Kong’s Occupy Central), and especially after learning about Korea’s April Revolution in my Korean cinema class, it’s even easier to realize just how similar world histories have been.

Visiting the former sultan palaces today, I learned that Turkey’s sultans had multiple wives, appropriately named First Wife, Second Wife, etc., with the first wife holding the highest seniority. Oh, that sounds awfully familiar to the wives from Zhang Yimou’s “Raise the Red Lantern,” a great film I watched for a Chinese film class while abroad studying at Fudan University.

We also went to the Spice Market, or Egyptian Bazaar. To get there, we passed through an underground tunnel that essentially IS the fake markets of Shanghai, complete with Beats headphone ripoffs. But one of the few differences I noticed included the insane local crowds versus the average touristy crowds in Shanghai. Anyway, even at the Spice Market, I thought of the spice markets of Dubai. People were shouting at us to buy their “best price” products and attempting to lure us in with whatever bit of Asian language they knew—hearing nimen hao from one of the shopkeepers shocked me and made me laugh. Plural! Nice job! Too bad it didn’t make us stop.

But we ended up falling victim to buying the RIDICULOUSLY delicious Turkish delights after we exchanged some more cash. I knew I loved sweet shit, but man, Turkish delights are on a whole different level of sweet, creamy, chewy, heavenly goodness. Anyway, at risk of veering even further off topic with this drug-like dessert, I’ll just end with this: No city is that unique, but does that make traveling less valuable? It’s sounds like such a dangerous idea, especially coming from someone who insists on traveling the world and loves traveling. Sure, cities have their similarities, but when it comes down to it, no city is not unique.

I mean, those Turkish delights. #whatisdiabetes