Friday, February 10, 2012

The Girl From Holland and the Guy From Izmir

I left the computer last night and went to a cafe for some late night tea. It was snowing hard and beginning to stick on the street. A car pulls up to me and the guy opens his window and asks me something in Turkish. I replied, "I don't know."

He asked me where I'm from and I answered "America." He said he had been to California. He asked me where my hotel was, I pointed in a general direction. I asked him where he was from and he said Izmir. He asked me in English for the place he was looking for and I said I didn't know where it was. Then, he asked me to come in his car, out of the snow and we'll got to a Turkish bar.

He seemed friendly enough, but nearly being scammed out of all my earthly possessions in India has left me quite cautious. He didn't press it and left, which made me think he was just a friendly guy. Better safe than sorry I suppose.

After something called flower chai, I went back to the hotel, hiking through the snow. I went up to the top floor where there's a pseudo-restaurant. The was a girl from Holland there with the most beautiful bright blue eyes and a very cute round face that glowed when she smiled. Cute-i-ful is a new word I've been looking to try out. She had been to Washington DC. We were chatting and everything was going nicely.

She was telling me that she hadn't run into many Turkish people out at night because of the snow. She joked,"Maybe if they go out the snow will melt their brown skin right off of them."

'WHAT THE FUCK?' I thought. Not only is that racist, but how is snow going to melt other things? Snow is cold. But it was the rare moment when I actually avoided confrontation, because she was in her underwear. She could have said Hitler was right and I wouldn't have said anything. In fact, when I was in Vienna, a German girl had said that Jews were responsible for 9/11 and I let it go... because she was in her underwear.

Apparently I look Turkish, according to one of the guys working at my hotel. It makes sense because people often speak Turkish to me when I notice they speak English to other people who look like foreigners.  Of course, because I can't speak any Turkish, I still pay the foreigner price.

Today, I walked to the Grand Bazaar. Eh. There are a lot of stores in a covered area. It's essentially a giant semi-open air mall. Big whoop. It wasn't the experience that traversing through Old Delhi was. But the bazaar and the jewel room at the Topkapi palace yesterday made me thankful I'm not here with a girlfiend. I can't think of much worse than going from shop to shop browsing through everything. And those Ottoman jewels were so lavish, I would look inferior in a girlfriend's eyes no matter what I do.

One last thing. The snow has stopped and the sun is out. On the way to lunch, a truck's passenger side mirror came about three inches from smacking me in the face. I've spent the last two hours talking to a Turkish guy here at the hotel who loves the NBA. Before that, a French couple who spoke no English came in. The Turkish guy was calm but frustrated and began yelling slowly in English so they would understand what he was saying better. They didn't. See, it's not just Americans who do that.

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