A food vendor serves customers at a night market in Ipoh, Malaysia. (Vincent Thian/AP)
Up with Ankara

The article on Ankara [“Second city,” Jan. 12] brought back fond memories. I lived in Ankara from 1969 to 1971 as a visiting professor at Hacettepe University. The article’s emphasis on the friendliness and hospitality of the Turks was perfect; it’s more important an experience than the touristic sites. I have returned several times over the years; my former students and friends are always there with great welcome and love for me and my family. Most of my American friends who have visited Turkey even briefly return with the same primary impression, the friendliness of the people, followed by the great food.

Dick Israel

Rockville, Md.

My husband and I have been living in Ankara off and on since 2006. Sometime during that first year, a Turkish friend took me to Ahmet Geyikoglu’s carpet shop to purchase our first carpet. Since then we have returned many times. We have brought visiting friends, who have bought a total of 10 carpets or kilims from him. From the very first, I was captured by Ahmet’s charm. Over the years, he has extended us many courtesies, and I too am the recipient of some additional “goodies” that he has graciously given me.

My views of the difference between Ankara and Istanbul are similar to those in the article, except that I describe the difference as that between Tampa (our home town) and New York, rather than Washington. I don’t think that Ankara quite has the glories or diversities of our nation’s capital.

Alice K. Nelson

Ankara, Turkey

Greek resilience

I liked the article on Greece’s Mani Peninsula [“A Grecian idyll, Jan. 19] very much, but I would like to comment on some of the statements about Greece’s current economic difficulties. One of the things that would help Greece and her people immensely at this time would be a vote of confidence from those who have visited the country during this difficult period and have, in spite of it, had a wonderful and fulfilling time. The Greek people have a fighting spirit and pride that will guide them in overcoming their hardships. They will be victorious no matter how long it will take for the country to recover. I hope you can reflect this in any future writing on the subject of Greece.

Louna Coumeri-Malkoutzis

Calvert Green, Buckinghamshire, England

The joys of New Haven

As a native of New Haven and a Yale alumna, I was shocked that Amanda Erickson omitted the names of the finest ethnic food “options” in the world: Sally’s and Pepe’s [“New Haven, creatively transformed,” Jan. 19]. The first question one always asks a New Haven native to determine his or her authenticity is: “So which pizza do you prefer: Sally’s or Pepe’s?” When I moved to the Washington area 34 years ago, I hung a laminated pizza box from Sally’s on my office wall as the most representative possible artifact of my heritage.

And just for the record, New Haven, even with its urban imperfections, wasn’t a half-bad place in which to grow up. To be quite frank, I’d be glad to give up the “curried tuna and goat cheese” for one more counter meal at the now-closed Yankee Doodle. Gentrification, pricey real estate and chic clothing stores come with their own costs.

Mindy Portnoy

Kensington, Md.

Malaysian musings

Thank you for the great article about Ipoh [“A wrong turn goes right in Ipoh, Malaysia,” Jan. 26]. It’s often the towns and villages of a country you stop in “on the way to” that have given my husband and me our happiest and most meaningful travel memories. Malaysia is full of such places. In fact, had the writer explored a bit of the countryside around Ipoh, he would have seen amazing lush paddy fields broken by limestone outcroppings and breathtakingly beautiful mosques, and discovered how even in the tiniest hamlet there’s a good meal and coffee waiting at the neighborhood cafe.

Carol English

Bethesda, Md.