Disenchanted Jack

The Displaced Nation Trilogy – Part 2

We were wandering down Bodrum’s bar street, a procession of cheap and cheerful bars and hassle shops. We normally rush by; casual shopping in Turkey can be a bruising experience best only tried by the foolish or heroic. On this occasion, Liam popped into a corner shop to buy some cigarettes. Keen to use the local lingo, he asked for them in passable Turkish. The po-faced assistant looked at him blankly. Liam repeated the request. Another blank look. After a brief standoff, Liam relented and repeated the order in English. The surly man behind the counter viritually threw the cigarettes at Liam, snatched the payment and slammed the change on the counter. Welcome to Turkey where hospitality greets you at every corner. I know there are arses-holes in every country but next time we’ll just shout loudly in English.

Part 3 tomorrow – Tricks of the Trade

You might also like Just Shout Loudly in English

18 thoughts on “Disenchanted Jack

  1. Oh dear. That’s just sheer prejudice. I have had so many negative experiences like that in Jamaica that they have become a blur. But they are always offset by the incredibly touching and sweet encounters we also have. It’s all part of the package I believe… but in a Third World Country like ours, the opposites are SO extreme it takes your breath away sometimes.


  2. Its one of my bug bears for sure……you make the effort to speak another language and they look at you as if you just said their mother was a hamster!!

    I always like to attempt to speak the native tongue of whatever country I am in but you do wonder why bother when that is the reaction you get. Sometimes shouting loudly in English is the only option……:)


  3. I’ve had several of these types of encounters. I try to bite my tongue and continue on, telling myself that I can’t control others but I can control myself, and what I want to do is practice using my Dutch whether they like it or not. Then I smile broadly and am extra polite, looking them in the eye the entire time. They usually wilt from shame or look away in irritation. Either way, I’ve spoken my (mediocre but slowly improving) Dutch.


  4. It’s a pretty global phenomenon I think – I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked for a baguette in the local boulangerie that sells virtually nothing but baguettes and been greeted with a blank stare. It’s a wonder I’ve not cracked and followed my urge to bludgeon the stubbornly obtuse baker with one of his crusty truncheons!


  5. My Turkish teacher who’s English is not that great complains that the English will not understand a slightly mispronounced word and refuse to understand her even though it is blatantly clear they do understand her. So me thinks this goes right across the board, wonder why ?


  6. For 8 years, we’ve worked hard on our Turkish and it’s still only at the ‘getting-by’ stage. We speak to someone in Turkish, they reply in English.
    We’re really pleased at the moment because we’ve just met a couple who speak no English and have no real need or desire to learn. They love speaking to us in VERY slow Turkish and although we don’t see them very often, we’re hoping this will help us – at least with speaking to them anyway. 🙂


    1. It should help a great deal. The problem is that English is so widely spoken in Bodrum that when a foreigner attempts a few words of Turkish, people in shops and restaurants (most of whom are bussed in from the east for the season) are thrown completely off kilter. They simply can’t cope!


  7. Slightly off topic, but I love the title of this Blog, is it your panto name Jack? Polish up your high boots, leggings and frilly shirt, the season is upon us.


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