Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Limited Options for Travel

I remember the golden years of America. They weren't too long ago, late 90's, when I had a crap-load of AOL stock, I had Cysco, I couldn't afford Microsoft, but I had some Intel. If only I'd traded my Aol for Apple, and my Cisco for Google, today I'd be so much closer to retirement. We were the leaders in the Information Age, our economy was on fire. We actually produced products that the rest of the world wanted to buy, new technology that made our lives easier in so many ways, and new innovations that made our lives so much richer. I remember when the dollar was the bomb, I could look at a globe and pick a country to visit, and not worry about the exchange of currency. I subscribed to all of the travel websites, and I used to get e-mails about fabulous hotels in Paris and Rome. I traveled a lot in that last decade of the American dollar and cheap fuel, and I wouldn't trade those few weeks of travel for a secure retirement sitting on my porch in a rocking chair. I'm glad that I visited all of those places when I was young, and there was still fuel to get me there.

Today, I still get the e-mails from the travel websites. But they are a little different. Today in my in-box, I got an e-mail from one of my favorite sites, Venere.com, they specialize in fabulous affordable places in Italy, or those places that used to be affordable when the Euro was $1.05. So today's e-mail was entitled, "Eunice, Ever Consider Turkey?", Eunice is my real name, the name that I never told Dave, our former blogger, and can you blame me? If your name was Eunice, would you willingly tell people? Wouldn't you prefer a cooler name like Tankwoman? So anyway, I opened the Eunice e-mail, and there were these beautiful photos of a lovely terrace looking out onto the water, and a comfortable place with several bedrooms, the bed didn't look too comfy, but I am such a sound sleeper, that I can sleep nearly anywhere.

But it's in Istanbul. And okay, it's close to Cypress, it's on the Mediterranean, it's affordable. But will there be goats in the backyard? Not that I dislike goats, in Tuscany, there were wild boars, and lots of cows, but mainly, the cows were served as dinner, as were the boars. Okay, I can deal with a certain amount of wildlife, as long as I can close the door if I need to. But I'm an American. In Europe, I could pass for Italian or Spanish, I can speak both languages, and not fluently, but I can pass. There's no way I can learn to speak Turkish, or Arabic, the older I get, the more trouble I have with languages. And here's the thing, I might be able to pass as European, with my dark skin and my elongated nose, but there is no way I can pass as straight. I can put on make-up, wear jewelry, but as soon as I begin to walk, people know I'm a dyke.

And in Turkey, that might be a problem.

Turkey does not recognise same-sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnership benefits. The Turkish Council of State has ruled that homosexuals should not have custody of children. Okay that happens in many states in America. Gay sexual conduct between consenting adults in private is not a crime in Turkey. The age of consent for both heterosexual and homosexual sex is 18. The criminal code also has vaguely worded prohibitions on "public exhibitionism,” and “offenses against public morality" that are used to harass gay and transgender people. Okay, well that happens here in America as well. Article 428 prohibits "obscene" and "indecent" books, songs, literature, etc. Although the extent that these conditions apply to homosexual themes in the media has been liberalized in recent years. The film Brokeback Mountain was permitted to be shown in select theaters, but the Turkish Culture Ministry ruled that no one under the age of eighteen could be in the audience. Well didn't that happen here as well? So what's the difference between Turkey and Alabama?

Is it the goats?

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posted at 8:12:00 PM by Tankwoman

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