Side Votes and So Should You!

5 Nov

As I have travelled Turkey, I am astounded by how many Turks follow US politics.  Now, I am not talking about professors and diplomats.  I am talking about gas station attendants and retail clerks.  On this election day, I share how, politics aside, voting for Obama saved me 2 Turkish Liras.                                       

We recently vacationed with our new friends the Erbays in Antalya province, on the Mediterranean Coast.  One day we visited Side (pronounced SEE-day).  Side is an expansive ruin of a city, nicely situated on the sea.  Side, founded in 7th Century B.C., was a bustling port and was held by Alexander the Great at one point.  No wonder, because it’s a cool town: the iconic Temple of Apollo is right on the water; the theater held 15,000; there was an agora, a hospital, a moat, and more.

      

The “modern” town grew up in and amongst the ruins of the ancient.  Which is really neat when you sit down for dinner on an ancient marble terrace.  A bit touristy now, it was probably quaint a decade ago.  And here is where the American election debate is alive and well. 

  

After imbibing the delicious and in season (“FINALLY!” says Ella) pomegranate juice, I wandered into a convenience store to buy a postcard.  Why a convenience store when surrounded by gift shops, you ask? Because I am cheap and do not want to pay tourist prices for a 3 year old piece of faded cardstock.  I made my selection, headed to the cashier and asked how much it costs.  He says 3 Lira, which is about $1.80 or highway robbery, if you ask me.  So, in the Turkish way, I offer 1 Lira.  He says 3.  I say 1. 

At this point, sensing a standoff, the clerk asks where I am from (probably because I was mangling Turkish).  I reply, “Amerikaliyim.”  A look of surprise crosses his face (Turks almost uniformly think I am German), and then he asked in English if I have voted.  Now a look of surprise crosses my face.  “Yes,” I reply, “I voted this week.”  Of course, he then asks the very uncouth question, “Who did you vote for?”  Now growing up, my mom and dad refused to ever tell us who they voted for, it wasn’t our business.  I don’t really like to talk about it now, but I think, what the heck, I am in Turkey… “Obama,” I say.   The clerk smiles and says, “Do you think he will win? I love Obama. I hope he wins.” And then almost as after thought, “1 Lira.” 

Victory!  This might be what it feels like to actually win an election.  I took my postcard and ran.  Get out there and vote!

 

For more pictures click here.

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2 Responses to “Side Votes and So Should You!”

  1. Ashley November 6, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    This is such a great story! It might just be the one that lasts the generations…”grandma told the clerk she was voting for Obama…”
    Really, amazing.

    • mkmz2873 November 6, 2012 at 8:29 am #

      Lol! Don’t get me started about the gas pump guy who thought Hilary Clinton should be president. I guess that is what happen when you show up, people notice. Obama and especially Clinton have been in country several times in the last few years.

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