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  • i was once in Istanbul with no money and nowhere to stay. my traveling partner and i sat on a curb, eating yogurt and muesli he had found in a dumpster. that was the last time i ate yogurt from a dumpster.

    everyone who walked by us on the street stared. i don't think many people sit on the curb in Istanbul. at least not in that neighborhood. it seemed very unconventional.

    an elderly man stopped right in front of us and began asking us questions in Turkish. we didn't speak any Turkish and tried to let him know, but he kept asking us questions anyway, and when we couldn't answer he started asking other people on the street. soon there was a crowd encircling us and i began to feel uncomfortable, not just because i am claustrophobic but also because i didn't have a clue what they were saying.

    then, from above our heads and this growing cloud of babble came a voice, so unfamiliar at first because i actually understood it: "hello!"

    it turned out that this voice belonged to a Turkish man who spoke a little English, a total of ten words, but that was nine more words than i could say in Turkish and he also pitied us and wanted to have us up for tea.

    we went up for tea, because we were cold, and damp, and quite thirsty, and also very much wanted to escape the neighborhood scene that we were creating. since we couldn't really communicate with him, and also because the tea cups in Turkey are so small, we drank our tea quickly. he gave us more tea, and then coffee, and then soup, and bread, and finally pastis, a licorice liquor that i cant stand but drank anyways. it was soon dark out and late in the evening and we still didn't have anywhere to go. this must have been obvious because as we stood to leave, our host asked us if we wanted to stay the night. i have a distinct fear of being killed in my sleep by psychopaths, but something told me that if we hadn't been poisoned already, we'd probably be alright.

    we slept in the guestroom, wearing sweatsuits that he gave us for pajamas. the next morning, he had gone to work but left us a spare key so we could go out and let ourselves back in.

    instead we left him a note that contained mostly drawings, so that he would understand it. and then we left.
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