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A Note From Istanbul

The Obama magic is everywhere. The other day in the Covered Bazaar a natty gentleman of a certain age dragged us into his back room to show off a photograph of himself and Laura Bush, who had visited the market on some no-doubt well orchestrated tour when W was hanging with his G-8 buddies or someone.

I said that Laura was OK, her husband not so much, and the old dude agreed. Bush NO! O-Ba-Ma YES! Seems to be universal. . .They've just banned smoking in public places in Turkey, and it seems to be working fine. This in a country where cigarette smoking was virtually universal. I've heard grumbling in a restaurant or two, but no outright defiance so far. . .I'm off to the eastern Black Sea this afternoon to visit a village I lived in in the '60s as a Peace Corps volunteer. We'll see how the ban is playing there. . .Finally, virtually the only cars you see here are compact taxis, which may be the result of gas that costs more than 12 dollars a gallon. At that there are too many cars, but if gas were as cheap as it is in the U.S. I'd hate to think.

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