Cycling in rural Turkey we came to rest in front of a what looked like an abandoned building. A middle aged Turkish woman and man, in the traditional dress, soon walked toward us up the dusty road. To our horror we realized our bikes lay scattered across the front yard of their home like as though a used cycling sale was in full swing.
While we apologized profusely in frantic sign language the couple communicated in similar hand waving gestures and with warm smiles that we should sit and rest.
Reaching into the cloth bag she had been carrying the woman handed each of us a small bright red tomato. We politely refused but she was adamant that we should eat and no one was missed as the bag of her own groceries emptied.
Once satisfied her uninvited guests had each been fed the woman sat down beside me. Perhaps she chose me as I had been able to give the briefest of Turkish greetings and thanks. She shocked me by asking in English, “What is your name?”
She chuckled, as most did in Turkey, when I said “Sue” which translates to ‘water’ in Turkish. Who would name their child water?
When I asked our gracious host if she spoke English she put her thumb and index finger together to indicate a small amount. I replied in a painfully rudimentary way, ” Turkish…az.” Translated in very broken language, “Turkish….little.” The woman grinned at my attempt.
As I sat on the rock beside her most humble abode, both of us smiling away, I thought this could be a credit card commercial. Some things in life are priceless.
Countless people ask why we would want to sweat and gasp our way on bikes through foreign countries on vacation. For moments of humanity such as this dear readers. Those minutes with that generous couple still stands as one of the highlights of our travels.
Have you ever had special encounter with a local while traveling?