WARNING: No minced words here. İ rake the muck of the 'other', the so-called open-minded side who's preference is to whine and distort reality. If still suckling mom's tit or warped by delusions of polıtıcally correct equality you WİLL be offended by such materıal. Welcome to Reality.

The old Oriental con (Pt.2)

But it gets better: Afterwards I ran into those Turkish rats three times! The first one happened the following day, in fact.

Twice I passed that half of the con duo in Old Istanbul and he was as shameless about the matter as nothing, calling it a "job"...and suggesting I get in on it. Ha! What can one do but laugh?

No, I told him, lying and cheating is not a "job", it's a con game with no integrity or class. But one cannot reason with the criminal mind. So I told him that if he shaved his undoubtedly hairy Turkish ass I would be glad to bugger him and let bygones be bygones. He smirked and huffed and made fun of my lips...but he did not say no. Egad! (Then I remembered the word no is not in the new Turkish lexicon.) A few nights following that I was walking through Taksim up the ever bustling Istiklal Street with another young traveller from the hostel when I happened upon the other scoundrel and caught him in the act.

I couldn't believe my luck. I coolly walked up along the other side the potential victim and said, "Don't believe a word he says. This motherfucker is pulling a scam."

I torched his ass red-handed, folks, I torched his ass!

He was piiiiiiiissed and took to screaming all sorts of profanities and whatnots. If only you could have seen the look on his smarmy face. Better yet, you should have seen the delighted look on mine. I had a goooood, hearty laugh. Me and the other guys walked away laughing at that rat. HAAA-ha-ha-ha-hahahaha! I torched his ass red-handed, folks. I torched his ass!
Unlike his partner-in-crime he was not a good sport about getting busted (and I did not ask him to shave his bum. Hehehe)

When to leave home without it (Pt. I)

You're off to work, to school, to workout, to hang out, to chill out, to shop, to travel, to go out, or simply leaving the house and, like clockwork, you never leave home without it. I don't have to tell you what "it" is; you already know. Like indispensable motherly advice -- look both ways before crossing -- common sense hygiene -- wash hands before eating -- and basic arithematic --100 / 2 = 50 -- you, no doubt, are hard pressed to ever leave the house sans a bank card or credit card (or cell phone). Most folks will likely forget to turn off the iron or lock themselves out of the house before exiting without the almighty plastic.

We have learned never to leave home without it but, y'know, that is one habit worth unlearning at times as a recent experience has reinforced for me. Being the budget traveller that I am my spending habits run the gamut from cheap to cheaper. I make use of my debit card about as freely as I'm called upon to perform CPR. My preference is for real tender and I carry as much as I can stand to spend at any one time. Better to be caught short and return the next day than to have regrettably bought a shitload of souvenir crap or designer jeans or six rounds of €80 drinks.
Eighty euro drinks, what what?!

For the what, where, who, and why do read on what, what. A common scam in these parts is to invite an unsuspecting foreigner to a disco, make a jolly sucker out of him, then drop all pretense and stick him with the bill which amounts in the ridiculous sum of hundreds of euros (odd they don't bill in Turkish liras; odder still I did not hear of this dirty Turkish trick until after
the fact).
return my black ass to Nigeria and never come back

Whilst sitting one evening working to convince myself of the pleasure of the water pipe -- I ordered coconut -- a friendly English speaking local (red flag #1) plopped himself down (red flag #2) and initiated conversation. As he was well dressed I assumed he was a student, rich kid, businessman or fellow traveller and, admittedly, was glad to communicate with someone sans elaborate gestures that would make even a professional mime scream aloud. Turns out he was a businessman (red flag #3) and was so full of jam and compliments (red flag #4). It was his last night in Istanbul so was I up for some carousing and sexy, sexy sluts? Was I! My name ain't not Rufus Wainwright for nothing. Who knows, maybe that water pipe was kicking in! At any rate, with his business partner, a short and hairy chested man with a distinctly Roman haircut, in tow (red flag #5) we three jumped in a cab (red flag #6) and left Taksim (red flag #7) for the Hilton Hotel. But, first, we stopped at a club (red flag #8).

I immediately pegged the tacky neon haunt a training ground for gold-digging Russian mail-order brides (red flag #9) and a money drainer, but the short chap assured me it was on them. All right, if I don't have to pay then bring on the Alize! In no time the sexy, sexy sluts joined us at our table (red flag #10) and, as prejudice would have it, they were Russian, no less (red flag #11). Naturally drinks were ordered for them -- by the two "businessman". After chatting and laughing and dancing and toasting, the one fellow leans in to ask if I would be paying with cash or credit card (red flag #12).

"Me neither," I smiled. "This is your treat. I have no money."

It was at this point I smelled a rat and called over the cheap suit who appeared to be the manager and asked him point blank: Did you hire these two to bring me in here? Are you all working together? He, of course, denied it and we four proceeded to the back office to continue the farce; but in short order all masks were abandoned. No more cautionary flags were needed.

I saw clearly the scam into which I fell; but I was cool. They lied and screamed foul play, they said it was I who invited them, they threatened and swore; but I was cool. The manager demanded my credit card and said he would kill me; but I was cool. They hurled racist declarations and demanded again my credit card; but I was cool. I even pulled out my mobile and pretended to call my lawyer.

Bottom lines were one, I really had no credit card to fork over and just five liras in my pocket, and two, these men were despicable scam artists. The why? Because they're low-lives -- racist low-lives, at that. After the farcical shakedown around the Mulberry bush made it clear yours truly was a broke sucker I was told to return my black ass to Nigerian.

With pleasure.

coolness is something I never leave home without
And with that I hopped my black ass in a taxi and got as close to Taksim Square as five liras would take me. Now the bigger albeit misleading lesson to take from this is not to trust a nice Turkish man who speaks English and wants to buy you a drink. Or not to get in a car with strangers; But when one is a wanderlust stricken traveller like me, why, everyone is a stranger, including myself.

No, the take home from this is to leave the infinite and tempting credit card in the room with the rest of the valuables when on holiday. If I had had my debit card I would have been robbed of €400---and no sexy, sexy slut is worth that much whisky and cola. That and keep cool.

Now coolness, that is something I never leave home without.

U.S. Consulates count for nothing

After two days of
waiting it out, the U.S. Consulate reopened today and I took my complaint of racial discrimination to them. If they helped me, then my name is Lawrence Welk. And a one, and a two we've a new American to screw. Take it away boys!

(Check out this music video!)
To briefly recapitulate, two nights ago I was removed from a bus at the Edirne border (Turkey) en route to Greece and returned to Istanbul because tea-drinking goat-licking, racist Turkish patrol refused to believe a black man could be an American citizen. This unlawful act apparently is all relative: The American consular simply furrowed his brow, sighed, and explained that the Turkeyhead border control could do as they deemed fit and that the U.S. had no right to intervene. Oh? Giving way to whims and prejudices now, are we? Clearly numbnuts is out of the loop on the whole Iraq and Kurd thing.

...all too pleased if Americans just stayed home and remained as uncultured as our dishonest Monkey-and-chief

By now you've probably wondered a dozen times over, Why doesn't the consulate just send a communique to the border officials that Citizen X is all right to pass? Because, logical ones, consulars don't want to work and don't like to help. Rather, they like to perpetrate the illusion of being there when you need them. It's total bunk. Like the concentration camp motto: Work will make you free. Consulates are as effective as a limp dick. State Dept does not want to help in any way, shape, or form and would be all too pleased if Americans just stayed home and remained as uncultured as our dishonest Monkey-and-chief.
Then the consular tried to massage the incident by persuading me my passport was damaged and, thus, understandably rejected---so I should buy a new one. Oh? So what if, I pursued, I'd fallen in the sea and the passport was soggy wet or I'd escaped from a train accident and the edges of the book were charred or I'd kept the thing in my pocket for so long a natural bend formed in the thin book? Would this legal, authentic, universally recognized document of identification be rendered null and void?!

Uh no, he slowly and lowly uttered with another shrug of the shoulders.

Buying another passport was not an option. Firstly, nothing is wrong with the current one. Secondly, a new passport doesn't address the problem of racism. If those Turkeyheads wouldn't accept real passport #1, which is validated with pages of stamps and stickers, including entry into Shitstanbul, then why would they suddenly reverse stupidity and accept real passport #2? The very fact of the latter's newness would, if anything, work against me. The other problem with buying a new passport is that it ain't cheap ($67). Moreover, the whole matter smacked of an Oriental
scam common in these parts:

Come on in and have a good time -- but you have to pay much American money to leave.

No, I don't think the State Dept is in
cahoots to extort tourists. I don't think much of the State Dept.

That the consulate was not bothered by a U.S. passport being so arbitrarily refused slightly
un-nerved me. What is the point of having the document if its value is relative? I asked. And if Turkey can irrationally decide to not honor passports and visas -- as the consular said they have the right to do -- then what is to disqualify other countries from doing likewise? In which case a European tour would necessitate one carrying spare passports just in case one encountered plundering jackasses at, say, the Italian or German or Serbian or Greek borders. I felt like I was talking to the glass partition rather than through it.
In the end I did get a type written note on government stationery to supplement my passport should I incur further obstacles. Seriously. An authentic passport may leave some in doubt but, golly goddammit, who but who I tells ya can doubt the genuine-ness of government stationery! Each time I've gone to a Consulate for help, I was met with impotence. This is the first time I've ever walked out with something tangible.
I don't think much of the State Dept.

I shall keep the letter as comic relief. Perhaps frame it.
It shall be a constant reminder of how much my government cares about me.

Black and back in Shitstanbul

The average individual for whatever misinformed reasons is under the delusion that blacks and whites are routinely treated equally on a daily basis.

By average individual I mean white person. Any black person who thinks likewise is clearly either a United States Supreme Court Justice or coked and/or %#@! out of his mind. Maybe both. The prevailing conventional wisdom regards racial discrimination a thing of the past; something to be nicely bracketed with two paragraphs in junior high civics textbooks (one paragraph more than the obligatory mention of the "peculiar Institution").

As a black man I am reminded full well of the persistence of racism.In America and abroad

People like to put all the baggage on America because of its wealth, capitalism, and abundance of self-made men - scientists, engineers, millionaires, world famous entertainers - as if no other country traded slaves or instituted segregation - de facto or otherwise - just because their particular country is probably divided betwixt the mafia, the military, the sheep herder.

I've travelled beyond the continental borders of the U.S.A. and damn if foreign folk aren't color conscious. I'll call it what it is: bigoted. In Puerto Rico it's thick enough to slice with a knife. In Mexico it's as noxious as the instilled corruption. In entrenched in the Argentine psyche while in Turkey racism rears its ugly head with a smile and leering stare.

In Istanbul the Turkish people, without fail, fail to realize that not all black people are Africans. This fact befuddles them. Then again this is a city which lives in the past while fronting as a hip, modern metropolis. Schizophrenia, anyone? 

Up to this point I've made greater use of black than African-American, partly out of preference but more so to drive home this point: Turks regard "African-American" quixotic, a term of contradictions. How can one, their Muslim heads wonder, be black ("African") and American? As everyone in Istanbul knows, all Americans are big, fat white infidels...who leave super generous tips.

News flash sinbads: Black people also come from other continents and countries on the face of the globe, including the United States of America. Hello!

Americans are big, fat white infidels...who leave super generous tips
Ignorance I can stomach from common, everyday folk who've grown to regard things like higher education, toothpaste, deodorant, and condoms as luxuries. However when this same bias is displayed by, say, government officials then I have a big problem; id est their stupidity directly affects me. Case in point: My extended stay in Istanbul. With some two weeks of mosques, döner kebabs, nationalist protests, hammams, and ubiquitous images of Mustafa Ataturk under my belt I was more than ready to leave this Muslim metropolis with good tidings. Then I was barred from doing so. I chose to travel via bus with Metro company. The ride was quite comfortable. At the Edirne (er-DEER-neh) passport inspection, however, my trip was halted. The passport police (plural) took one look at me (black face) and my passport (U.S.A.) and immediately concluded I was illegitimate. 
I was prohibited from re-boarding the bus and, instead, sent back to Shitstanbul
I have been to several countries and each time the officials scan or check on the passport with the computer, and if some doubt lingers they follow through with an advance database search or telephone call. The police at Edirne performed no such protocol. They only trusted their prejudices, insisting  

  1. my passport was a fake 
  2. I was a fake, i.e., NOT an American citizen 
  3. I entered Shitstanbul by plane when in fact I travelled by rail and had the visa and round stamp to prove it 
  4. I was up to no good in their country.

I was summarily prohibited from re-boarding the bus to continue my trip and, instead, sent back to Shitstanbul. And I was the only black person and American citizen on the bus. If this does not smack clear of racism, or somehow sounds remotely reasonable to you, then go kindly exfoliate your face with a salt encrusted barbed wire because you're an idiot who deserves to look as grotesquely as he reasons [sic].

Speaking of which, the only explanation the one dismally English speaking official could give was "Problem passport" and "We are professionals". And that is the scary part. Professional assholes, guided by racism and mean spirit, molested my trip and wasted my time and money.

So now I am back in Shitstanbul, holed up in a hostel in Sultanahmet, waiting for the American Consulate to return to "work" from holiday -- and still 100% black as African-American. And feeling blue as the rainy weather.

Daggers in Turkish smiles

In Act 2, Scene 3 Macbeth famously cautions, "There's daggers in men's smiles." As a global traveller I say it plainly: Turkish smiles are about as reliable as wooden nickels...one should know to distrust them as imitations of the real things.

In this case, the Act ıs long-runnıng and the Scene, around every corner, kebab stand, and mosque. And don't think that because the typical Turk has darker complexion than his Nordic counterpart - and is an all so humble Muslim - that he is above racism. Ha!
Nıgga, please.
In tomorrow's entry (Black and back in Shitstanbul) I relate my experiences as black man in Instanbul. If you don't know, then do prepare yourself for an unflattering dosage of reality 'cause I don't mince words.
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