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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Istanbul, Turkey

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Istanbul

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

Yes, I received cross-cultural training before my move.

If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

Yes, I speak Turkish fluently, but was taking classes to improve my fluency while there.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

Very significant.

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

I definitely did *not* go through the honeymoon phase when living in Turkey, but I did go through all of the other phases.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

Anger, anxiety, and loss of appetite were definitely side effects of my culture shock.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Turks are very curious about foreigners and are very warm, kind-hearted people generally. They are, by and large, very sincere.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Domestic violence is fairly normal in Turkey. Seeing a man hit his wife in the face, and seeing no one come to help her, was very upsetting.

Turkish men frequently have the perception of Western woman as being sexually promiscuous. I have blonde hair and fair skin, and I was regularly referred to in Turkish by the word for prostitute. I even had men ask me how much I cost.

Another concern is that the men have no compunction about following a woman, even when she tells them she is uninterested. I was followed by a man for over an hour on the streets of Istanbul over the course of several kilometers (even onto public transit and ferries). Rejection in Turkey means "try harder," and situations that we would view as stalking in Europe/USA are ways that some Turkish men try to prove themselves to you.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

If you are a pale, blonde Western woman, expect to be sexually objectified. I really, really would not recommend that any woman go out alone (especially not in the Asian side of Istanbul or in a rural area) without at least a female friend (or better yet, a man). This is especially true if you don't speak Turkish well. Do not trust groups of men, even police officers. If you need help, find a Turkish woman to help you.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Sep 15, 2011 01:11

Wow! I am really impressed by your report. Really honest and interesting! Thanks a lot!

markgrimes
Jan 13, 2014 11:03

A very true picture!

Elizadoo
Aug 9, 2016 03:16

This is super interesting. My daughter was a 22 year old college student who spent - months in Istanbul. Instead of being with other Americans she lived in an apartment with two Turkish working women (a teacher and an architect). My daughter was never, ever harassed during her entire stay. She learned Turkish get quickly (she is one of those people who had a greaf ear for languages) and she was always addressed in Turkish. We came to the conclusion that she assimilated so easily because she looks very "ethnic" and could pass as a native Turkish woman. Likewise when she has traveled throughout Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Peru, Panama, and even parts of SE Asia...I think the dark hair, dark eyes, and overall Latin/Middle Eastern look can ease a lot of interaction and make acceptance easier.

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Debugging Information
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Time Stamp 04-Jul-20 12:36 AM
Locale English (US)
User Agent CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
Remote IP 172.69.63.57
Host Name 172.69.63.57


Execution Time

Total Time Avg Time Count Template
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10 ms 10 ms 1 /home/www/html/navtop_ctygd2.cfm
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6 ms 6 ms 1 /home/www/html/navmeta_rdesign4.cfm
5 ms 5 ms 1 /home/www/html/rspnet_ctygd_readnext.cfm
4 ms 4 ms 1 /home/www/html/Application.cfm
4 ms 4 ms 1 /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm
3 ms 3 ms 1 /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm
2 ms 2 ms 1 /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm
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0 ms 0 ms 4 /home/www/html/rewritearticle.cfm
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1 ms  STARTUP, PARSING, COMPILING, LOADING, & SHUTDOWN
104 ms  TOTAL EXECUTION TIME
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GeneralSet (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=1, Cached Query) in /var/www/expatexchange.com/expat/queries/qry_GeneralSet.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
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UpdateUserVisits (Datasource=forum, Time=2ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/Application.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
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SELECT DISTINCT img, photocaption, summary, hpimg, fbimg, twimg
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GetNetworks (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=153, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navmeta_rdesign4.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
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GetForums (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=154, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navmeta_rdesign4.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
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GetMessages (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=3) in /home/www/html/navmeta_rdesign4.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
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checklog (Datasource=stats, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navtop_ctygd2.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT *
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ORDER BY logtime DESC
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SELECT *
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SELECT *
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getarticlesection (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=337) in /home/www/html/breadcrumb_ctygd.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT *
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WHERE section = 6
checkcitynetwork (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/breadcrumb_ctygd.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
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    ORDER by articles.articleID asc   
    
getphotos (Datasource=reports, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/rspnet.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT DISTINCT img, photocaption, summary, hpimg, twimg
FROM answers 
WHERE answers.answerid = 26559 
getnatadtopull (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE 'hisentence' = tag
getreportnetworks (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
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	From Networks
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getnatadtype (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT *
FROM natadoptions 
WHERE natadtypeid = 2 
getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT resourceid, natsentence as adcode,  natsentenceweight, natads.natadid
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and natadPlacement.natadid = natads.natadid
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and natsentencestart < "2020-07-04"
and natsentencestatus = 'live'

and natsentenceweight = 'high'
getnatadbottom (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/nativerotationtop_tester13.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT resourceid, natsentence as adcode,  natsentenceweight, natads.natadid
FROM natads, natadPlacement
WHERE natsentencetype = 2
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and natsentenceend > "2020-07-03"
and natsentencestart < "2020-07-04"
and natsentencestatus = 'live'
gettaxgeneral2 (Datasource=expert, Time=4ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	Select title, hitopic, hidescript, author, articles.articleID, hiimg, summary, authorurl, hpimg
	From articles, articleCategories, articlecityplace
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    and (articles.author = 'Betsy Burlingame' or articles.author = 'Joshua Wood')
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getguidesummary (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	Select summary, hpimg 
	From articles, articlecityplace
	Where  articlecityplace.citynetworkid = 4240
	and articlecityplace.articleid = articles.articleID
    and articles.cityintro = 'y'
 
gethealthsummary (Datasource=expert, Time=5ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	Select summary, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement, articleCategories
	Where articlePlacement.networkID = 110 
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   	and articleCategories.articleID = articles.articleID
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gethealthcare (Datasource=tipripper, Time=8ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT *
FROM allreports, Networks 
WHERE rid = 100
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and allreports.networkid = 110
 and allreports.citynetworkid2 =  4240
and allreports.topicid = 7
and hide <> 'y'
order by allreports.answerid DESC
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SELECT topics.slug, topics.slugcity, topics.slugstate,topics.slugcitynostate, topics.slugcountry, topics.slugentry, topics.topicqid, topics.topicqidanswer, topics.promolinktext, topics.articletitle
FROM topics
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SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.aid, questions.question, topicquestions.required, questions.qid, questions.type, answers.answerid, answers.reviewed, answers.rid, answers.dbid, answerstext.answer, answerstext.qid, answerstext.answerid, answers.img, answers.hiimg, answers.hpimg, answers.fbimg, answers.photocaption, answers.photocredit, answers.summary, topicquestions.outputtext, answerstext.uniqueheader, answerstext.uniqueheaderprop, answerstext.answerstextphoto, answerstext.photoplacement
FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 65961
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
and topicquestions.qid <> 391
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AND topicquestions.topicid = answers.topicid
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ORDER BY topicquestions.order ASC
getbrief (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	SELECT summary
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getheading (Datasource=tipripper, Time=4ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
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getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
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getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '110'
checkculturefeature (Datasource=expert, Time=5ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
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         and allreports.answerid <> 26559         
         and networkid = 110
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         order by date DESC
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
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getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcityrptsmobile.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
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gettaxgeneral (Datasource=expert, Time=4ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/rspnet_ctygd_readnext.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	Select title, hitopic, hidescript, author, articles.articleID, hiimg, summary, authorurl, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement
	Where hitopic <> ''
	and articlePlacement.networkID = 110 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
	and hidescript <> ''
    and type = '3'
    and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes'
   	and articles.topic <> 'Weekly Quizzes: Answers'
    and general <> 'bb'
    and hpimg <> 'none'
    and keycity = '0'
   and cityintro = 'n'
    and summary <> ''
    and publishdate < "2020-07-04"
    and publishdate > "2014-01-01"

    ORDER by articles.articleID asc   
    
gettopbanner (Datasource=expert, Time=2ms, Records=2) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	Select *
	From banners
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    and fromDate < "2020-07-04"
        and banners.promised = ''
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=2ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navbottomad_rdesign5.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 865 
gethpbox (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	Select *
	From banners, bannerPlacement
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND position = "eehpboxcountry"
    and toDate > {ts '2020-07-03 00:36:56'}
    and fromDate <{ts '2020-07-04 00:36:56'}
    and weight > 7
    and bannerPlacement.networkid = 110
    and bannerPlacement.bannerid = banners.bannerid
    and banners.type <> 'swf'
gethpbox (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	Select *
	From banners
	WHERE status <> "hold"
	AND position = "eehpbox"
	and weight > 7
    and toDate > {ts '2020-07-03 00:36:56'}
    and fromDate <{ts '2020-07-04 00:36:56'}
     and banners.type <> 'swf'
       
UpdatePageViews (Datasource=expert, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navmpu_rdesign5.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
  UPDATE banners
  SET impressions = impressions + 1
  WHERE bannerid = 866 
GetMessages (Datasource=forum, Time=1ms, Records=3) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
  SELECT *
  FROM comments m 
  WHERE m.tpcid = 26559 
  and m.commenttype = 2
  and m.isapproved = 1
  ORDER BY msgid ASC
GetUser (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=0) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
  SELECT *
  FROM users
  WHERE userid = 2 
GetUser (Datasource=forum, Time=1ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
  SELECT *
  FROM users
  WHERE userid = 61821 
GetUser (Datasource=forum, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/commentsnew_rdesign4.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
  SELECT *
  FROM users
  WHERE userid = 136366 
getguidesummary (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	Select summary, hiimg 
	From articles, articlecityplace
	Where  articlecityplace.citynetworkid = 4240
	and articlecityplace.articleid = articles.articleID
    and articles.cityintro = 'y'
 
gethealthsummary (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=1, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	Select summary, hpimg
	From articles, articlePlacement, articleCategories
	Where articlePlacement.networkID = 110 
	AND articlePlacement.articleID = articles.articleID
   	and articleCategories.articleID = articles.articleID
   	and articleCategories.section = 9
   	and articles.sectionintro = 'y'
    ORDER by articles.articleID desc
gethealthcare (Datasource=tipripper, Time=9ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT *
FROM allreports, Networks 
WHERE rid = 100
and Networks.networkid = 110
and allreports.networkid = 110
 and allreports.citynetworkid2 =  4240
and allreports.topicid = 7
and hide <> 'y'
order by allreports.answerid DESC
getslugs (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT topics.slug, topics.slugcity, topics.slugstate,topics.slugcitynostate, topics.slugcountry, topics.slugentry, topics.topicqid, topics.topicqidanswer, topics.promolinktext, topics.articletitle
FROM topics
WHERE topicid = 7 
getanswerstext (Datasource=tipripper, Time=3ms, Records=4) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.aid, questions.question, topicquestions.required, questions.qid, questions.type, answers.answerid, answers.reviewed, answers.rid, answers.dbid, answerstext.answer, answerstext.qid, answerstext.answerid, answers.img, answers.hiimg, answers.hpimg, answers.fbimg, answers.photocaption, answers.photocredit, answers.summary, topicquestions.outputtext, answerstext.uniqueheader, answerstext.uniqueheaderprop, answerstext.answerstextphoto, answerstext.photoplacement
FROM answerstext, answers, topicquestions, questions 
WHERE answers.answerid = 65961
AND (100 = answers.rid or 99 = answers.rid)
and topicquestions.qid <> 391
and topicquestions.qid <> 62
AND topicquestions.topicid = answers.topicid
and answerstext.answer <> ''
AND topicquestions.qid = questions.qid
AND topicquestions.qid = answerstext.qid
AND 65961 = answerstext.answerid 
ORDER BY topicquestions.order ASC
getbrief (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	SELECT summary
	FROM answers
	WHERE answers.answerid = '65961'
getheading (Datasource=tipripper, Time=3ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	SELECT DISTINCT answerstext.answer, answerstext.answerid, answerstext.qid
	FROM answerstext
	WHERE answerstext.answerid = '65961'
	and qid = 391
getphoto (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
	SELECT DISTINCT hiimg as photo
	FROM answers
	WHERE answerid = 65961 
getlocationtag1 (Datasource=tipripper, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
SELECT shortname, networkname, networkid
FROM Networks
WHERE networkid = '110'
checkculturefeature (Datasource=expert, Time=0ms, Records=2, Cached Query) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
		Select networkname as ctry, city, networkid, rid, networkname, answerid
		FROM allreports
         where rid = 95
            
         and allreports.answerid <> 26559         
         and networkid = 110
          and citynetworkid = 4240
         and city <> ''
         order by date DESC
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 72795 
getsummary (Datasource=reports, Time=0ms, Records=1) in /home/www/html/navcontentboxcitypc.cfm @ 00:36:56.056
		Select summary, hiimg, hpimg
		FROM answers
         	where answerid = 24811 


Scope Variables

CGI Variables:
AUTH_PASSWORD=
AUTH_TYPE=
AUTH_USER=
CERT_COOKIE=
CERT_FLAGS=
CERT_ISSUER=
CERT_KEYSIZE=
CERT_SECRETKEYSIZE=
CERT_SERIALNUMBER=
CERT_SERVER_ISSUER=
CERT_SERVER_SUBJECT=
CERT_SUBJECT=
CF_TEMPLATE_PATH=/home/www/html/rspnet.cfm
CONTENT_LENGTH=
CONTENT_TYPE=
CONTEXT_PATH=
GATEWAY_INTERFACE=CGI/1.1
HTTPS=on
HTTPS_KEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SECRETKEYSIZE=
HTTPS_SERVER_ISSUER=
HTTPS_SERVER_SUBJECT=
HTTP_ACCEPT=text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING=gzip
HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE=en-US,en;q=0.5
HTTP_CONNECTION=Keep-Alive
HTTP_COOKIE=
HTTP_HOST=www.expatexchange.com
HTTP_REFERER=
HTTP_USER_AGENT=CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
PATH_INFO=
PATH_TRANSLATED=/home/www/html/rspnet.cfm
QUERY_STRING=rid=95&answerid=26559&networkid=110&start=26559
REMOTE_ADDR=172.69.63.57
REMOTE_HOST=172.69.63.57
REMOTE_USER=
REQUEST_METHOD=GET
SCRIPT_NAME=/rspnet.cfm
SERVER_NAME=www.expatexchange.com
SERVER_PORT=443
SERVER_PORT_SECURE=1
SERVER_PROTOCOL=HTTP/1.1
SERVER_SOFTWARE=Apache
WEB_SERVER_API=
Session Variables:
cfid=30989437
cftoken=93209960
sessionid=IBEXPATEXCHANGE.COM_30989437_93209960
urltoken=CFID=30989437&CFTOKEN=93209960
URL Parameters:
answerid=26559
networkid=110
rid=95
start=26559
Debug Rendering Time: 11 ms