Little Stories

Travel blogging is funny. I'm always thinking of what to post next, how to keep things fresh, etc. etc. What sometimes gets lost in the process are the little stories, the ones that I might tell when I got home at the end of the day, but two or three days later, seem of minor importance. Anyway, I've collected a few of these littles stories, which, each in their own right wouldn't be a blog post of its own, and combined them to share. I hope you enjoy!

Two Forks, Two Toothpicks, and a Salt Shaker
I found a bunch of vacationing Peace Corp folks to pal around with and we were all out to dinner. As is my wont, in fidgeting to entertain myself and others, I did the old two forks, two toothpicks, and a salt shaker trick. While the peace corp folk were mildly amused at best, the waiters loved it. The first one saw it while clearing off the dishes and promptly examined it to the point of knocking it down. Then he handed me the pieces in an obvious do-it-again gesture. I did, and he ran off to get his buddy. Next thing I know, there are 3 waiters gathered around our table, excitedly speculating (I can only assume) in rapid Turkish on how to do the trick. They then take away the forks and salt shaker and retreat to the back room. We all have a good laugh and settle in for our dessert.

In two or three minutes, the waiters are back. They couldn't quite figure out how the toothpick goes between the forks so again have me show them. When I show them, one slaps the other on the shoulder in an I-told-you-so fashion and off again they run, all smiles.

While we are making our way to the door, the peace corp peeps encourage me to show them a rope trick or two*. I do, and they love it, having me do the more curious ones time and time again to try to figure them out. Once we are out the door, the head waiter chases me down and pulls me back in to show the boss man more rope tricks. One of the waiters shuffles over as I'm about to leave and gestures for me to hand him the rope, with which he busts out his own rope trick!

Pretty much awesome. Gimmicky "magic" tricks cross language barriers better than anything I've encountered to date, except of course a smile. I'm glad I'm travelling with my rope and my bag-o-tricks. The come in super handy all the time.*

My Cave
I've found my cave. The main room is maybe 6'x8' with 5' high ceilings. The short passage in is lower still. There is a large floor to ceiling window that looks out over the valley. I sit with my legs dangling out of it, 15 feet above the ground. Last night's lack of sleep on the overnight bus from Istanbul hits me and I lie back. My legs are in the sun and it feels good.

With my eyes closed, I start to develop an intior design plan for my cave, with schemes for heating and screening to keep the birds out. Yes, I could live here, for a while. Give me a broom and a bed roll and I'll start my lease tonite. The song bird landlords no doubt will accept my cookie crumbs as payment.

The call to prayer from the nearby mosque bring me back. Reality reminds me that we are no longer cave dwellers. Insurance issues, you know. But I could do it. I know I could. When the housesitting market falls through, and no more volunteer circuses need help in the kitchen, I will be back, to take up residence in my cave.

Spreading American Culture
Travelling is not only a good way to learn about the place you are visiting, but also about so many other places in the world. Every place I stay, there are other travelers from all over the world with whom I love talking and sharing jokes, world views, language tidbits, and more..

For the past couple days, I've been travelling with a wonderful little group consisting of a Canadian, a German, and two Croatians. The Croatian girls are fire crackers, always go go go with a joke, a smile, and quite often singing as they skip down the trail. On our last afternoon in Cappadocia, the three of us went out to explore euphemistically-name Love Valley, after the distinct shape of some of the towers of rock. Sitting on a hilltop with the setting sun casting the rock formations in an amazing light, I made a grave mistake. Thinking that I was sharing in a little cultural exchange, I taught the girls about the penis game.

For those of you that don't know the penis game, don't be scared*. It is a childish activity that consists of seeing who can (or is brave enough) to yell "penis" the loudest. Typically this is played by giddy teens in shopping malls, public squares, or anywhere else there are people around. Luckily for me, we were pretty much lost ourselves, so there wasn't anyone near to be affected. Needless to say, the girls took to playing the game with fervor.

Culture, esp. American culture, has its good points as well as its bad. And while I try to share my favorite bits with my new foreign friends, a bad one is bound to slip out now and then. So if you ever happen through Zagreb, Croatia and hear some offensive yelling, I'm sorry. My bad.

Tuesday March 29 2011File under: travel, Turkey

Toggle Comments (1)comment?
on Wed 30th Mar, 2011 01:09 pm PDT Horge said:
I'll keep my ear to the ground on that one next time I hit the Zag. I think you should try doing the penis game in the local language of wherever you happen to be (in the name of cultural exchange and language-learning...) Here's a Google-translate primer that might help get the balls rolling: "poo-tso" (πούτσο), "kar" and "koo-rahts" (kurac) ;-)
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