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Similarities between Turkey and Peru


Similarities between Turkey and Peru

I met a guy from Mongolia and he said that he saw many similarities between his country and Peru. I was astonished to hear this and frustrated that he wouldn’t give me any examples. I tried to encourage him by saying that I, too, saw many similarities between Turkey and Peru, and that not all of the were good, but no doing—I couldn’t get him to speak. Here is the list I would have provided him with, had he asked me.

In no particular order:

  1. The questions. Everyone wants to know where you’re from, if you’re married, if you have children, how old you are, and more.

  2. The spitting. But Peru surpasses anything I’ve seen – or heard. I never saw anyone in Turkey spit or clean their nose on the floor inside. But maybe I just didn’t go deep enough into the country.

  3. The trash. But Peru is what Turkey was 20 or 30 years ago. I think Turkey has made progress here. Though of course, I know how bad the situation still is.

  4. Turks and Peruvians are equally immune to noise. I wasn’t lucky enough to go to a concert or a place where there would be microphones and a sound system here, but it’s very possible it would be just as bad as in Turkey! The noise levels are unbearable. Just as in Turkey, the TV is on in EVERYWHERE (even in luxurious restaurants in Cusco – but not in Cajamarca) and in the buses, the volume is on full force. Mobile phone shops have young girls screaming out their ads over a microphone. In Cajabamba, on Sunday, the mobile phone shop had put a RECORDING on and it was blaring out the brand’s virtues over and over again over the sleepy Plaza de Armas. And no one seemed to notice. Minibus and bus drivers listen to music on full blast for 6, 8, 12 hours non-stop.

  5. Drivers are extremely communicative. And reach high levels of eloquence using just their horns. They honk to say they have no intention of slowing down. They honk to say they’re coming. They honk to say hi. They honk. They exist.

  6. Cars rule. Cars are the King. Pedestrians must submit to the King.

  7. The smell of bodegas and bakkals are exactly the same. Bodegas look like bakkals 30 years ago and those we still see in poor neighborhoods and Anatolia. Kırtasiye and paper-pencil shops are also the same.

  8. Dolmuş, of course. Minibuses that wait until they’re full and will go out of their way to find more passengers. But there’s one big difference, which I found out to my dismay in Chiclayo: The passengers do NOT give the fare money to each other to have it passed over to the driver. The attendant takes care of that. It turns out I am so used to taking and giving money that I automatically took the coin from a woman’s hand and gave it to the attendant. Everyone was so surprised. The worst part is that it turned out the woman’s husband had already paid, so the attendant had to give her back the coin and maybe it’s because he had lost his bearings because of me, but he gave back the wrong coin and everyone looked at me as if I’d done something and I explained “soy Turca y en Turchia, estan los passageres qui passan los dineros, perdone, no supe...” And they all laughed and the attendant gave the right amount and I learned a lesson. Whew!

  9. They are very happy to have foreigners visiting their country. They are hospitable.

  10. In the South, there was maté (herbal teas) available everywhere, just as tea is available everywhere in Turkey. In the north, this is unfortunately not the case.

  11. The cake culture! Though unfortunately this is dying out in Turkey....

  12. The Peruvian sole and the Turkish lira have the same value. But gosh, is life in Peru cheaper!!

Should I make a list of the dissimilarities? Haha... People in Turkey are very kind in the villages and out of the cities, but here the men are such gentlemen. I never ever once caught one looking at me as they would in Turkey. They haven't that Islamic notion of "shame". They see women as human beings. Women dress very provocatively and walk alone at any time of the night. I swear, the men here are gentlemen. I have enjoyed every conversation (one taxi driver in Trujillo was a bit too insistent that we meet up for a beer, but that was the worst that happened). I never once felt unsafe, even walking alone at night, in any of the cities I visited.

The police and authorities here don't gas protesters. Teachers have been protesting very loudly for more than 60 days and violence erupted for the first time in Lima the day before yesterday. But they weren't gassed. There are no journalists in jail. The people are known for their protests. But I wish I knew more about Peruvians politics. I just know that all Presidents since the very begininning have been criminally corrupt. And that people's memories are as short as they are in Turkey, since they re-elected one of the worst presidents after he returned from self-inflicted exile, to escape justice!

Nowhere in Peru do they have terraces. They simply don't sit outside to eat and drink. They have all that street food, but they sit on a curb or stand to eat. I wonder if it's because of the poverty. There was a rare terrace (the only one I ever saw) in Cusco, but you were besieged by alpaca sweater sellers and beggars every second. It would seem criminal to enjoy yourself on a terrace, faced with such poverty. But, actually, in Turkey, too, aren't the terraces a bit hidden away, behind low walls or plants?

Peruvians show their affection and lust very publicly. You want to tell them to get a room!

I already wrote about the difference between Turkish and Peruvian children and parents. I have never seen such affectionate fathers in my life. And the children are always with their mothers, sleeping underneath food stalls, in small cubicles next to the gas canisters (bonbonnes), underneath bars, in wheelbarrows... It's heartbreaking, but what can the mothers do? They either carry them on their backs or put them in little cubicles... The sellers without children sleep, deeply, by their stalls... How would anyone dare wake the up to buy something?

The poverty in both countries is heart-breaking.


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