Recent events have led to confusing attitudes towards Turkey. Our experiences have been typically positive. A few years ago Mary and I were traveling in a rented car trying to find Zincirli in “eastern” Turkey near the Syrian border. As we were heading south on a back road in a broad valley I spotted what I thought was wool from recently sheared sheep “airing” on the roof of a house in a small Turkish village. I thought that this might make an interesting “cultural” shot, so I doubled back, parked the car and got out with my camera to take a few pictures.
Before I could shoot more than three or four photos, the women on the roof of the house began shouting at me and I thought—oops, I am now in trouble (poor cultural sensitivity?!—usually I am able to stay in the background)! To top it off, a man came bursting out of the door running at me!
Well, my Turkish is very close to non-existent, and his English was not-existent. But through some frantic gestures, he indicated they wanted us to come in. I was not sure why—and a bit fearful. Well, he kept insisting so Mary and I followed him through the doorway into the lower level of the structure—basically a small stable. After we ascended the stair case we burst out on to the open air roof where three women, and several children greeted us with big smiles!
We found out that what they had hanging on the roof was the interior (stuffing) of their bedding. After the long winter they were airing it out and fluffing it up!
They wanted to serve us a full meal, which we declined, but of course they insisted we stay for çay (tea)! We had a great time smiling and gesturing. We showed them pictures of our children and they showed us pictures of theirs (on their mobile phone)!
What can I say, but these folk were just so friendly and so nice—to two strange strangers! And they sent us off with proper directions to Zincirli (that was not marked to well on the map that we had!#$%@!