Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In a Jaguar

First of all, yes I put up the "ticker" that follows visitors to my little blog here. And thank you all 9 of you that do. Really, I am not being sarcastic. I hope you enjoy it and keep coming back for whatever crazy reason that may be.

I debated for a while on whether or not to do this, but I think anyone who keeps a blog has an ego, and is curious..if you are selling something, then ya, you need to target your market. Me, I've nothing to sell, just curious. I almost feel like that little boy on the recent episode of Southpark that had no friends and then he did his big happy dance around his room when he finally got a friend. While I love and appreciate you all, I don't literally get up and dance, but I won't lie - its exciting to see another number on the ticker. And its like an added bonus when its from a new country. So ya, you hard cores could say at some level this does feed the ego, so sorry for that. My ego really isn't that big or needy - at least I hope not - but I am pleased by the little things in life! - And if you haven't seen that episode of Southpark, "You Have Zero Friends". I highly suggest that you watch it. Spot on about Facebook and people's relationship with it. ..and don't buy it..all the episodes are free on their website!

So, back to matters at hand. In Dubai, there are a lot of nice cars. Cars are relatively cheap here because there is no tax in Dubai, so probably the higher end cars that weren't affordable at home are much more accessible to a lot of people. There are also people here with money and that includes those who are into cars to, so pick your favorite - its here. I think it could be Dubai - I'm sorry I don't recall the exact statistic - has the highest number of Bogatis in the world. Its definitely a country in the Gulf, or the Gulf itself. I didn't even know what that was until I visited a car show here several years ago. Ya, I'm female too. I'm not that much into cars at all, but the Bogati made me stop and backtrack. It is the sexiest car ever.

Seeing a few Jags around town makes me recall my very early days in Istanbul. There is public transport all over the city - buses, mini buses, kind of a mini van called a dolmuş (pronounced dolmush). The last two are cool because they have definite routes, but they pretty much can stop anywhere on that route. You just have to let them know.

It can be intimidating for a newcomer - and it was - when you don't know the language. First you get in, take your seat. Then everyone passes their money up front to pay. The driver doesn't go around and collect. So note, if you are sitting in the front seat you have to work a little more to make sure all the money is passed up to the driver and then you are the first point of contact to distribute any change back to everyone. The driver needs help because all these transactions are done en route. There is no time in the big city.

Oh, in reference to an earlier post, this is a great place for using demir para, or change. Don't give a big bill out in this situation. Definite social fopa. The driver usually won't have change because he deals in coins and then all the other passengers are gonna have to all dig around and work it out to come up with change for your large bill.

So to get out of these mini buses and vans, you need to say the right phrase to get the drivers attention. I hated this for the longest time because I never could get it quite right, couldn't say it loud enough for the driver to hear and probably my accent just confused everyone. So I'd have to end up yelling "Pardon" - like an excuse me and the several locals would say the magic words for me, Inecek var. (Pronounced Inejek var). The literal translation is more or less "There is someone to get out". The driver would then slam on his breaks and throw everyone around - ya, on the mini buses its like sardines at peak hours. Standing room only.

I have a really good friend I met when I first came to Istanbul. She, from South Africa, followed her husband to Istanbul like me so we shared a lot of the same experiences and cultural adjustments. We met at our first place of work in Istanbul - a consulting company where we would write various reports on different subjects. One night, we were both took the dolmuş to dinner after work, and when it came time to stop I was amazed because my friend said the magic words and the driver immediately stopped and everything worked so smoothly! How did you do that! I was amazed. We were pretty much at the same level of Turkish lessons, but she was going to a slightly more intense school than the one that was near my home where I went so I was very impressed.

I was lucky enough for her to share her secret. No need to say the right thing. Just say "In a jaguar". What? Seriously? Yes, she said it works everytime - fail proof. Hmmm. The next day even though intimidated, I gave it a shot. And guess what? I was heard, the driver stopped smoothly, I got out and all was good in the world. I tried it again the next day. Again success!!! Wow! I even did it once when my husband was with me to prove it worked and he was equally impressed.

Now, several years later, I know how to pronounce it properly. I know the rules of the road and how to be seen and heard. Even still, every time I laugh inside because I really really want to say "In a jaguar" to see if it still works.

In Dubai, there are only large public buses. And if you did need them to stop, you would inform the driver in English. All novelty lost for me.


Sew Pretty Dresses said...

I will never see jaguars the same again! So funny! I had the funniest image of somebody passing a bill instead of change and the entire bus digging around to see if they had change. The change thing is still so funny! Because you know we American's are so 'normal' hahahahaha! Your Turkey experiences are so fascinating.

lisa said...

Now why didn't you teach me that sooner? I just rode and rode until someone else wanted off!