Ankara and Philadelphia have so much in common. There are also a lot of things that are very different – or at least things are done in very different ways.
Here is a fun list of things that are similar and some that are different:
Ankara has Ataturk, the founding father of modern Turkey. You will find his picture in all government offices, many business offices, and on banners hanging from buildings on government holidays.
Philadelphia has Rocky. First he was on the Art Museum’s steps. Then he moved over to the stadiums. He found his final resting place near the foot of the museum’s steps, on grounds owned by Fairmount Park. Tourists are seen day and night standing next to him, fists in the air. (I am hoping they are all tourists.)
Ankara has some of the worst cab drivers I have ever seen. Philadelphia cab drivers are better. But New Yorkers might give them a run for their money. (My bet is on Ankara!)
In Ankara, people are very friendly in the home but they will practically push you over on the street.
In Philadelphia, people say hello to each other on the street. Seriously, they do. But I wouldn’t wear a Cowboys jersey when invited to a home in South Philadelphia. You will never make it out alive.
In Ankara, young boys play soccer wherever they can. Girls play with dolls or something like that. In Philadelphia, girls and boys play soccer!!!
In Philadelphia, we test drive new cars before buying them. In Ankara, much to my dismay, they think it’s a bit “loco” that I may actually want to test drive a Korean-made Chevy before buying it.
In Philadelphia, we have big refrigerators with ice-makers. In Ankara, we have big refigerators with ice-makers. (In Germany, refrigerators are usually still small with tiny freezers on newer models. Be careful if you ask for ice, you may get Eis – ice cream.)
In Philadelphia, people try to drive between the lines. In Ankara, people drive on, over and through the lines.
In Philadelphia, pedestrians have the right of way, strolling across the street. In Ankara, people run across the street as quickly as possible! Cars will not stop. Taxis will not stop. Buses will not stop.
In Ankara, it’s warm and sunny with cool air in the evenings. In Philly, it’s hot and humid, or cold and humid. Sometimes it’s just plain humid and humid.
In Ankara, passport pictures are done at the Kodak store where a gentleman greets you, takes about 10 shots of you, allows you to select your choice photo, and serves you tea while you wait for the photos to process. In Philadelphia, passport pics are taken at the drugstore. You get one chance. You better make it a good one!
Ankara has McDonald’s, Burger King, Dominos, KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Gloria Jean’s. I am still looking for a Wendy’s or Chick-fil-A for a good chicken sandwich. In Philadelphia, no one knows Gloria Jean’s.
In Philly, we have the cheesesteak – grilled proccessed beef sliced thin, served on a long italian roll. (With fried onions and ketchup is my favorite.) In Ankara, they have Iskender, grilled processed lamb shaved thin, served on a platter atop a bed of yummy pide (bread that is about 1″ thick). They cover it with red tomato sauce, melted butter, and serve a side of yogurt. Deelish.
Finally, much to my dismay, Ankara is like Philly in that it is chock-full of people talking on their cell phones in any place, at any time!