Language… or… lack of it

O.k. First of quite a few stories that on one hand are hilarious, on the other hand, down right embarrassing, but, that is life.

I travelled with a girlfriend of the same age. Her husband refuses to carry a backpack so we went on our own. We are both in our late 60’s so maybe we can be forgiven for our ways. We arrived in Ankara, it was cold, dark and we were very very hungry so we walked into the first place we saw which by our standard was slightly up market…well, they had waiters.  We ordered our meal and proceeded to look around us when my girlfriend asked me  quietly to turn around and look at the beautiful woman sitting behind us. I did and yes, had to agree, her make-up was flawless, her hair brilliant, her clothes were to die for. As we were being served our meal we were discussing the fact that surely she was someone important, even famous! First mistake is she asked the waiter(whose command of English was no better than our Turkish) if the lovely lady sitting behind us is someone important/famous. His reply was, “Lady very important”. He then proceeded with charades holding out one hand with palm up and indicating writing with the the other…pen on paper and began pointing to this amazing looking woman. I derived from this that she would be happy to give an autograph so I whipped out my book and pen; the waiter called her over and with a little bit of difficulty of looks and shrugs she signed my book. I was about to try and find out if she was an actress, singer, writer???? when the waiter said “Pay her money”. “Pay her money?” I repeated. “Why pay her money for her autograph?” As I said this I retrieved five lire from my purse not wanting to offend anyone but I still asked the question yet again. Mis-communication went on for some time until the outcome became so embarrassingly obvious…

She was in fact the cashier of the restaurant, she writes the bill (charade of pen and paper) and then you pay her the money for eating in this restaurant!  Oh dear! We ate in silence without too much appetite and left vowing to only eat Donas from the street stall for the rest of the time. Now with time and space, it is a delightful story of language mis-communication or plain stupidity, which ever the case we will laugh about it for a long time to come.

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