"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."   - Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Notes on a Turkish Train Pass #5 - Here Comes Springtime

     Good evening, folks at home. Here's a typical story about how things often go here in rural Turkey. The other evening I went out for a walk while Christine was doing her yoga workout with some of the ladies at school. I decided to find out exactly where the Tarsus bus station is for future reference. I knew the general direction and started out. As I walked through a pretty old neighborhood on the outskirts of this part of town, a guy on the street smiled and said hello in English and started walking next to me. (The people here can tell with just one look if you're not Turkish. I don't think it's the clothes so much. My students tell me it's got something to do with the skin texture that is instantly recognizable.) He asked me where I am from. He spoke just enough English to talk with me a little bit. And my Turkish consists of about thirty words, but he asked where I was going. When I said I was looking for the bus station - just to see where it is - he said he could show me because he often takes buses out of town for work. As we wound our way through a few more ancient streets, and now alongside open fields where sheep and cattle were grazing, a few adolescent boys in the streets looked me over. When I smiled and said "merhaba," they smiled too. Soon the guy walking with me indicated that he had to stop but pointed off into the distance toward some large brick buildings where he said the bus station would be. I said ok, thanks, and kept walking past the fields. In a few minutes one of the boys I'd just seen came riding up to me on his bycicle and seemed pretty panicked that I might not know where I was going. I'm sure the first guy had told him where I was headed. I told the boy I was fine, was just out for a walk, and no need to worry, with words and my best sign language. He continued to point toward the distance and seemed real worried. I think he wanted to ride along and show me where to go. As we talked there for a minute, a police car passed on the other side of the road, going in the direction I'd just come from.