|In Korkuteli, Turkey they still talk about the American who spoke both sheep and cow.|
Every month we feature funny, offbeat or inspiring anecdotes. If you have a true tale to tell, send it to email@example.com. If you have a photo that illustrates it, please attach it. Don't forget to tell us which city and state you live in. We'd love to hear from you!
The Power of Baaaa
As I approached my 50th birthday last December, I felt ready to do something big to mark this milestone in life. Travel!
After lots of research, I chose Turkey as my first destination off the North American continent. This past April, I spent two weeks on tour with my new friends (other Rick Steves' tour members) and our guide, Gökalp Kasim.
The story I'd like to share took place on Day 10 of the tour, at the local farmers' market in the small town of Korkuteli.
Gökalp told us that most of the sellers would not know any English, so he showed us how to count from one to ten and taught us a few key phrases. I had my phrase book in my hand as I went from vendor to vendor to purchase food for a group picnic we were planning. I got some muzler, portakalar, yesil zeytinler, ve incirler (bananas, oranges, green olives and figs).
There were many stalls selling a variety of cheeses. Some came in tin cans, others in animal skins, still others in plastic containers. I wanted to buy some goat cheese — beyaz peynir — so I made my way to a cheese seller's stall.
"Beyaz peynir, lutfen," I said to the women behind the table, smiling all the while. The woman smiled back, but it was obvious she didn't understand me as she rattled off a string of Turkish words I didn't recognize. I tried again, adjusting my accent. The woman was friendly enough, but it was clear she did not understand what I was trying to convey.
Inspiration hit. I called, "Baaaaa!" Yes! THAT she understood and began talking rapidly using words I could only guess meant cow or goat. I later learned that beyaz peynir literally means white cheese, not goat cheese. That might have been part of the communication snafu. Now I could point to the different cheeses and ask if it was "moooo" cheese or "baaaa" cheese. We all laughed and enjoyed our connection. With the animal sounds and a few Turkish words, I was able to successfully purchase biraz nefis peynir (some delicious cheese)!
— Meg in Portland, OR
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