xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' World Toddler: On Honeymoons and Medieval Torture (Part II)



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

On Honeymoons and Medieval Torture (Part II)

After having been dragged through the dirt of Goreme, Turkey, by an out-of-control moped, I finally let go of the handlebars and collapsed in a dirty, bloody heap on the side of the street.  I looked up to find a sidewalk cafe filled with men who had all peeked up from their card games to watch me trail through the dirt.  Before either embarrassment or Nolan could catch up to me, I saw a stocky man, with some grey streaks in his beard, put down his hookah, and jog over.  

As this kind man helped me from the ground, I caught the glimpse of something neon green: could it be, just next to the cafe of spectators, a pharmacy? I wiped some dirt out of the corners of my eyes and blinked.  Yes, that was indeed a pharmacy, the town's only one, just a few yards ahead of me. As Nolan arrived and began assessing the damage to the bike, I hobbled to the pharmacy; the card players all suddenly enthralled once more in their games as I limped by them. 

Inside the pharmacy, blood dripping down my legs, I tried asking the pharmacist, standing behind a glass wall and a newspaper, for assistance.  Unfortunately, my limited knowledge of Turkish was of little help: serap (wine) and kofte (kebab) might make me feel better later, but weren't going to sanitize my wounds.  The pharmacist seemed bewildered by my requests, even as my white socks turned red.  Finally, a young boy walked through the pharmacy doors.  I waved at him desperately, begging for some assistance and pointing to my gnarly knees.  The boy grimaced, spoke briefly with the pharmacist, who had not budged from behind his newspaper, and then hopped around the pharmacy assembling a personalized First Aid Kit for me.

While I had been (mis)communicating in the pharmacy, Nolan had ridden his bike back to the moped rental store, which, it turned out, had been only a block and a half away from where the whole incident had occurred.  He returned with the shop owner.  Starting to feel stiff, but still too rattled to feel pain, I returned to the scene of the accident. All of a sudden, the potential of a sprained ankle seemed insignificant compared to the realization that we were about to blow our entire honeymoon budget on buying this man a new moped.  And at this, I started to cry.  Perhaps it was my tears, or the gravel sticking to the open wounds on my palms, but the man took one look at me, turned to Nolan, and said "$50," an amount clearly insufficient to cover the bike's bent handle rail and scraped siding.  The best wedding gift ever, I thought.

Back at our hotel, Nolan and I had a truly memorable honeymoon experience, one that involved a lot of touching and moaning, but not in a sexy kind of way: As Nolan attempted to clean and dress my scrapes, I screamed and carried on like a toddler.  For the next three days, I walked around town with gauze wrapped around my knees, looking more like a volleyball star than a newlywed.  By the time we reached Istanbul, Dr. Nolan had replaced the gauze with some large band aids; so I no longer garnered the attention of every person we walked by.  

The rest of our honeymoon went as beautifully as expected: visits to the Haj Sophia, a Turkish cooking class, a ferry to Asia.  We visited the Istanbul Food Bazaar and stocked up on Turkish chili and roasted red pepper paste, and brought home pillow covers made from recycled Turkish rugs. 

Now, four years later, we have used up all of our spices and our cats have destroyed our beloved pillows.  My only tangible souvenir, other than photos, are the scars that still lace my knees.  And from these scrapes, I am constantly reminded that you don't need to speak the local language to be the recipient of kindness; and that sometimes the best travel memories come from the worst travel moments.

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