“Not at all”

Loving languages is a natural outgrowth of travel. This includes one’s own.

Antakya is a more bilingual city than Gaziantep — Arabic and Turkish. En route to the bus station my taxi driver saw some friends in the street and shouted “keefak?” before continuing on in Turkish. I noticed no meter was running, so I had to ask “kaç para?” with the minor chance in the back of my mind that I’d have to get out at the next stop.

At the bus station there were no tickets for the three o’clock, so I had to buy one for the six. The man working one counter informed me this was the case switched to some beautiful English, showing me available seats on his phone’s app. I told him “Çok tesekkurlar” because he had answered all my questions and sold me a ticket in less than a minute. I probably use “çok” more often than I should here, but I’m trying to be polite.

“Not at all” he breathed.

This still tickles me. The perfect choice of words in an instant. He had mentioned that his only source of English education was working at the bus station over the years.

And now a story of fish in three parts:





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