‘I can speak fluent Turkish Len it’s true’ I looked towards Terry for conformation, being Aussies helps when your bullshitting an American friend.
‘Yeah sure, he is multi lingual, a real master with the tongue, he has got us out of many a scrape over the past few months’
We were coming to the end of our 4-month bike tour, Terry and I had spent a lot of time together so could finish each other’s sentences. We met up with our American friend Len for the last 3 weeks of the tour up the Turkish coast towards the Gallipoli peninsular.
‘So, your telling me you can speak Turkish?’
‘Sure, as well as Spanish, Italian and French, my Turkish is a little rusty, but it gets us by, don’t it mate?’ again looking to Terry for back up.
It was early October 2013, not many tourists in this part of the world, it’s a challenge to communicate for just the simple things, like tea and coffee.
‘Ok so you’re the language man go in and order us some coffee’ we had been on the road most of the morning, put 40 km in so was ready for a break. The place we selected very remote, a small building selling bread and essential to the locals. Terry and Len took their place at the children’s plastic table and chair set at the front I moved inside to order 3 coffees, confident and cocky as ever.
‘Üç kahve lütfen, ya da iki çay öyle’ it didn’t exactly roll of my tongue, more stuttering and spluttering like a cold 2 stoke motor.
‘And a packet of biscuits too please’ the strange look on the face of the girl told me that I had asked the last part in English and not Turkish.
‘Biscuits, please??’ pretending to feed myself, then I spied a pack on the shelf behind her and pointed ‘Oh bisküvi’ she added with a smile.
‘Yeah them I laughed’
She shooed me out the door to sit with my companions, and gestured that the coffees would be here soon.
‘You Aussies always amaze me, looking at you Pete I would never have picked you could speak Turkish’
‘Yeah, it’s just a natural for him, it sort of just flows off him’ Terry said with a smile.
So, for a brief 5 minutes, I was the go to guy for languages, that was until the girl came out with 2 teas….