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Heidi Reimer
Do You Want a Cup of Tea, Do You Want a Boyfriend?

Beware the Tall, Dark Foreign Woman

Tuesday - 20 Mar 2001

In the end, I remain a second day in Cappadocia, skulking down the street to avoid my new friends, and signing up for an organized tour. I don’t like it--it is Turkey cut off from its source, packaged for the tourists, and I am no longer part of the stream of life but an observer from outside. I feel like a sheep herded around with a flock. But I see sights I could not have managed on my own, in the company of people whose motives I have no need to question.

In the evening, after the tour, I catch a bus to Kayseri, and there I have 2½ hours to wait in the smoke-thick otogar for my bus to Sanliurfa. I doze on a bench, until I hear behind me the familiar sound of an enthusiastic Turk translating into broken English. I turn around and smile at two backpackers. They ask if I speak English, and we great each other with the camaraderie that comes of being foreigners together. They are from Spain. The young Turkish man who has appointed himself their guide takes me in as well, and we pass the time with Turkish lessons and discussion of travel. When it is time for me to leave, our Turkish friend guides me outside the otogar to the rarity of a free tuvalet, waits for me, then escorts me to my bus and gets me settled into my assigned seat. He points to my ring finger, a gesture I have come to know means “Are you engaged?”, and I just smile.

Tuesday morning I watch a red sun rise over rugged countryside. I am in Eastern Turkey, where fewer tourists venture. I’ve not been able to give Dave and Joy an exact time for my arrival, so when we reach Sanliurfa I proceed to the otogar to find a phone. A 10-year old boy accosts me with a large plate of white rolls balanced on his head, so I buy my breakfast from him, and he and four of his friends follow me into the otogar. They try to talk to me and keep pointing to my feet, until finally I see the rough block of wood one of them carries. “250 000” is written on it, and I understand: he wants to shine my boots. They are dusty from a day’s hiking in the Goreme Valley, and it is only 25 cents, so, grinning, I sit down and put my feet up. He sets to work, expertly. The other boys crowd around to watch the novelty of me. We exchange names and one of them says “nice to meet you,” the only English they seem to know. I dig out my camera and ask “Photo?” They pose immediately, with big smiles and arms around each other. Someone brings me a cup of tea.

Dave and Joy arrive at the otogar while I am out searching for a tuvalet. They ask around, and are told that a tall, dark, foreign woman came on a bus.

Paranoid in Turkey
Culture Clash
  Heidi Reimer - Bio and Journals
  Do You Want a Cup of Tea, Do You Want a Boyfriend? - Intro Average Rating of 35 Viewers
Chapters of Do You Want a Cup of Tea, Do You Want a Boyfriend?
  Here I Am
  Turkish Men and Other Hassles
  Paranoid in Turkey
  Beware the Tall, Dark Foreign Woman
  Culture Clash
  Chok Guzel
  Heads on Mountains, Snakes in Tunnels


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