Ankara is a city of contradiction. As the capital of Turkey, it is arguably one of the more developed and international cities in Turkey because a large number of the best universities and the foreign consulates reside there. It is a city of shopping malls (or maybe it just seems that way because I’ve been to a million with the family) – We’re talking state of the art, nicer than most shopping malls in the United States, interactive 3-D map guides, giant cinemas and aquariums kind of malls. When I’m in these meccas of consumerism Ankara couldn’t seem less “Turkish” and yet the cultural difference is more visible in Ankara than the rest of Europe and even Istanbul. I constantly have these little moments where I’m shocked at how something commonplace seems so foreign. Mostly everything in Istanbul is commercialized, but because there aren’t many tourists, Ankara continues to surprise me.
Today was an especially exemplary day of Ankara’s duplicity. The family and I went to a park owned by the city. It’s somewhere that the few tourists that do make it to Ankara would never go, not that I’m recommending it, it’s nothing special. It’s commonplace, which was what was so miraculous about it. Observe:
Though this makes no sense, this song was stuck in my head all day. It doesn’t really fit with the scenery, but I thought I’d share regardless.