Turks, friendly people

There are multiple ways to visit a country, more or less as many as visitors. Everybody have their own way of discovering a city, a country, a mountain, any place. In general we prefer to travel without using any taxi, by using our own well trained legs, public bus or anything else that it is cheap.

Going around the centre of Istanbul is relatively easy. It’s enough to ask for indication and help if necessary, and somebody will give you an hand. The only people I wouldn’t really trust are the salesmen at the Gran Baazar where smart tourists think to do good businesses and be more expert than the shop assistants in the fine art of bargain. Wrong, but probably they deserve to pay more, probably they pay for the fun they are having.

I found that the Turks are really nice, friendly and helpful. Of course my friends, but also the lady at the bar, who offered me a coffee in exchange of a postcard from India, the managers at the Old City hostel in Istanbul, the owner of a “we sell everything” shop in Derinkuyu the underground city, the football player in Goreme, the bus driver and the vendor of Pastirma at Kaiseri, the Turkish student at the Vienna’s University in Diyarbakir (Hamed in Kurdish), the Kurdish fundamentalist, who was studying in Iraq, because in Turkey he couldn’t use his language, another student in Diyarbakir, who was our guide for a short period and invited us to spend the night at the student dormitory where he would have played, the Kurds and the Lebanese that in Mardin showed us a secret way to reach the bottom of the castle through his house where usually the chickens live and the ordinary person that at 2am in Van gave us direction to the hotel district (yes, he passed by at 2am with a friend).

Most of these conversation happened in Turkish, which means body language. Often, in particular in the smaller city, there is always somebody that could speak a bit of English or German and that chime in trying to help. For our pleasure and amusement, it was not seldom that slowly a small group of people was gathered around us composed by some special characters:

- The Translator: who can speak about twenty-thirty words and can count in a forcing language. Sometimes it is possible to understand what he says.
- The Expert: who knows better than you, according to him, where you have and want to go, which is in general a place that you do not care at all.
- The Salesman: who try to sell you something, but at the first assertive NO slides slowly on the background thinking and waiting for a breach in the wall.
- The Kid: obviously a kid that from time to time mumbles something and the, rightly, is ignored by everybody.
- The Messenger: who is sent to look for an Expert more Expert that the current one in providing useless information, or to search for an complementary Translator that can integrate the missing words. Usually the Messenger doesn’t speak. He execute the orders running and panting.
- The Spectators: who do not know and do not understand what is going on, but since there are some people talking together it might be that it is happening some interesting. Note that the Spectators number grow geometrically with the timing passing by.


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