Random Travel Moment #1: ‘Getting Scarfed’ in Sanliurfa, Turkey

Me in hijab

Random travel moments are often some of my favorite ones. They occur anywhere and at anytime and often involve people whom you met because you just happened to be somewhere in a given moment. There’s usually a mini travel tale to tell, too.

Here’s the first random travel moment I’d like to share as part of my new series. Think of  it and others as “quick stops” on the Chicky Bus with you, the reader, as a rider or passenger, enjoying them. :)

‘Getting Scarfed’ in Eastern Turkey

Where: Bus Station/Strip Mall

How: I wandered in, looking for water…

I was in Sanliurfa–Eastern Turkey–waiting for a bus to a city called Mardin, close to the Syrian border. (I was with a friend who was browsing at a store across the street.) I was thirsty and needed water and so, I went into this little convenience food store to get some.

What: Spontaneous ‘Scarfing’

The man you see above, the owner (I think), was Kurdish. He liked my scarf, which I was wearing around my head the non-nomadic way. Turns out that it matched a dress he happened to have in the back room.

He went and got it and asked me to put it on (using gestures and Turkish, which I didn’t understand.). He then gestured that he’d like to take a photo. I was perplexed by all of this, of course, and didn’t understand a word he was saying. For whatever reason, I had not learned a word of Turkish the entire month I was there.

Why: Because he liked to?

I glanced over at the wall behind the counter and saw that he had a bunch of photos of himself and women posing with these types of dresses and scarves on. I started laughing and then, put the dress on over my clothes. He fixed my scarf and we got ready.

He called in his younger brother and had him take the photos. I then expected him to ask for my e-mail so that I could send the photo for him to hang on the way. He didn’t. (Perhaps he saw that I was getting stressed out by what time it was; the bus was coming soon.) He just kept smiling and laughing and I suppose, flirting just a tiny bit.

How I felt: Awkward but happy

Sure, it seemed a bit strange, but…the man was nice. So was his younger brother, who walked me to the bathroom.

The experience was great. I got my water, I killed some time and got a cool photo out of it. It was a fun way to say goodbye to a very interesting city, too–one that was very Middle Eastern and didn’t resemble Western Turkey at all.

What Do You Think?

Would you have put the dress on and posed–or walked out? Why? How would you have handled the communication side of it?

Also, have you ever had someone spontaneously ‘scarf” you–ie, put a hijab on your head–anywhere? If so, please share below. Where were you? How did it happen? I’d love to know that I’m not the only one…


Your thoughts re: this series…

How do you like the idea of “quick stops” on the bus–ie, “random travel moments” like this one? Would you like to guess what’s happening in the photo and where I took it–and then I tell you later? Or would you rather that I simply tell you and ask if you’ve had a similar type of moment–as I’ve done here?

Can’t get enough?

If you enjoyed this, then check out the other Random Travel Moments; vicarious thrills guaranteed no matter where the C Bus stops!

You might also enjoy Trippy Travel Photos–a game I created a while back where readers guess the identity and location of the photo–what the heck it was and where I took it.

28 Responses to Random Travel Moment #1: ‘Getting Scarfed’ in Sanliurfa, Turkey
  1. Odysseus Drifts
    September 18, 2011 | 11:56 am

    Oh! I was scarfed just the other day, too. It was an easy story in my case, though, since I was visiting a mosque.
    Odysseus Drifts recently posted..Hadong and the Case for Divine InterventionMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 18, 2011 | 12:13 pm

      You got ‘scarfed’? LOL. Yes, a mosque is a guaranteed scarfing–can be a real experience depending on which mosque and how they do it!

  2. Leslie (Downtown Traveler)
    September 18, 2011 | 6:12 pm

    I’m guessing you were at a bus station when a man in this kiosk offered to scarf you!
    Leslie (Downtown Traveler) recently posted..Interview: Street artists ASVP discuss their work, inspiration and first solo gallery showMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 23, 2011 | 12:48 pm

      Leslie–Hi and sorry for the delay in responding to your comment. For some reason, it went into the spam pile. I just noticed it. Anyway, you guessed right; that’s exactly how it happened! It was a strip mall of sorts that was near the station. Thanks!

  3. Julia
    September 19, 2011 | 8:53 am

    Haha how random that you went in to get water and got accosted! But at least he wasn’t trying to force you to buy the dress afterwards, that would’ve been awkward and it’s another funny story to add to your collection!
    Julia recently posted..Weighting TimeMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 19, 2011 | 8:58 am

      Hi, Julia. Crazy, right? LOL. I was glad there wasn’t a sale behind it…I was relieved that there was no “room of carpets” in the back. I had some crazy experiences with the carpet salesmen in Turkey, by the way. Still, it’s one of my top 3 countries to visit…would love to go back!

  4. ehalvey
    September 19, 2011 | 11:08 am

    That is the most random thing ever! Maybe I’ll get scarfed in the Grand Bazaar this week…I do have a thing for scarves. Hmm. At least I’ll be somewhat mentally prepared now.
    ehalvey recently posted..Today’s Saturday Snapshot? Unveiling the New Blog: A Sense of Place!!My Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 19, 2011 | 8:36 pm

      Hi, Erin–yes, very random! You’re into scarves? Cool. I’m sure you’ll “get scarved” then and maybe even “carpeted.” I’m sure that some will try to sell you a carpet. Here’s my tip for the Grand Bazaar: Pretend you have no peripheral vision and that you don’t speak English. No joke. :)

      PS: The Spice Bazaar is really cool…worth checking out!

  5. Maria
    September 19, 2011 | 3:53 pm

    Wow! Lisa you are too much fun. Love this idea for a series. Oh! And hell yes! I would have put on the dress and if time allowed, I’d have asked to try out all the dresses he had and would have posed with various food items to up the hilarity level a bit. Kudos to you for being adventurous and having a sense of humor!
    Maria recently posted..Eye-Candy!My Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 19, 2011 | 8:38 pm

      Howdy, Maria, and thanks–glad you’re digging the new series! You would have wanted to try on all the dresses and to pose with food? The Kurdish man would have been in heaven. In fact, I have a feeling he would have proposed. You sound like a really fun traveler, by the way!

  6. Stephanie - The Travel Chica
    September 19, 2011 | 3:55 pm

    Random travel moments are the best! Love that photo of you. It’s like you’re saying, “I’m a little unsure of what is happening, but I’m going to just go with it.”
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Best Restaurants in Columbus: Basi ItaliaMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 19, 2011 | 8:40 pm

      Hola, Stephanie. Funny about my facial expression and 100% accurate! It was pretty wild because a) we were off the beaten path a bit and b) my friend, who spoke Turkish, was not there at that point. It was a unique experience–that’s for sure!

  7. Sarah
    September 21, 2011 | 1:23 am

    I just came across your blog and think this is an excellent idea. It’s often the random travel moments that make the greatest stories! I think I would have agreed to be ‘scarfed’ too, as travelling is all about trying out new things (however weird) :-)

    • CB Driver
      September 21, 2011 | 9:57 am

      Hi, Sarah. Welcome to the bus! I agree that that travel is about the random moments and having new experiences. You would have been ‘scarfed’, too? Awesome! Next ‘random moment’ should be up next week or the one after. Thanks for stopping by…

  8. Charu
    September 21, 2011 | 5:28 am

    How awesome you were scarfed in this manner! It makes me think that the people of Turkey are so nice and friendly–and you look lovely!
    Charu recently posted..Mystery Trip: Guess Where I’m Going Next? (Win a Luxe City Guide to London)My Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 21, 2011 | 9:58 am

      Hi, Charu! Yes, the people were nice and friendly; I felt great there–comfortable and safe. Thanks re: the pic; it’s one of my favorites ever! :)

  9. Jarmo
    September 21, 2011 | 8:31 am

    Love the random moment you had there! Glad that you took the chance, often when those kinds of things happen, I feel too worried that they just want money, but that sounds like a fun experience!
    Jarmo recently posted..Arriving to Vientiane, First Impressions of LaosMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 21, 2011 | 9:59 am

      Hi, Jarmo. I know what you mean re: people asking for money. that definitely entered my mind. And I was ready. If he’d asked, I would have pointed to my water that I’d just bought, as if to say, “Hey…I’m your customer.” :) Anyway, glad you enjoyed the ‘random moment.’ More coming soon! :)

  10. Lenore Greiner
    September 21, 2011 | 7:09 pm

    Got ‘scarfed’ at The Vatican -apparently no bare shoulders are allowed in St Peters. Didn’t feel that indecent!
    Lenore Greiner recently posted..Travel Backpacks for Women: Cutting Edge DesignMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 21, 2011 | 9:41 pm

      You got scarfed at the VC? Funny. Sounds pretty decent! :)

  11. Erica
    September 22, 2011 | 2:04 am

    Love the concept of random travel moments. It is always small things like this that make a bulk of a journey. :)
    Erica recently posted..Myths of Scuba DivingMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      September 22, 2011 | 9:23 am

      Thanks, Erica…glad you like it and relate to it. I agree re: the small things–absolutely. Cheers!

  12. Maria
    October 3, 2011 | 4:51 pm

    I visited Turkey in July and still daydream about the my experiences there daily :) I traveled to Istanbul, Cappadocia and Bozcaada and loved each place. Did you enjoy Mardin?
    Maria recently posted..A Weekend in Saratoga: Where the Mineral Baths, Museums and Homemade Potato Chips Don’t DisappointMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 3, 2011 | 10:35 pm

      Hi, Maria. Turkey is wonderful, isn’t it? It’s one of my favorite countries. I’m not a big-city person (I like them, but I love smaller cities and small towns), but I must say that I loved Istanbul.

      Mardin was really cool–a bit challenging, however, since there wasn’t much of an tourism infrastructure for low-budget and mid-range travelers when I was there. It was a $12-a-night place or one that was $200. I stayed in the cheap one and it was a bit crappy. Having said this, I did enjoy the town and the people. They were nice and the energy there was unique. Due to its proximity to Syria, etc, it felt (and looked) a lot more like the Middle East. I actually spoke Arabic there and was understood!

  13. Josh Aggars
    October 6, 2011 | 11:17 am

    Can’t say I’ve ever been scarfed but I’ll give it a try next time I’m in Turkey. Which reminds me of a time we were in Turkey and got chatting with a couple at a bar. We all got on well so they asked us if we wanted to join them taking a boat to an island the next day. We did, we had a great time, smoked a lot of herb, had a beach fire, ran around and swam a lot and slept on the beach. Next day went back to mainland and parted ways. Great memory of a random 24 hours that wouldn’t have happened had we not asked them for a lighter.
    Josh Aggars recently posted..London Fact of the Day – True or FalseMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 6, 2011 | 8:27 pm

      Hi, Josh. Sounds like you had a great time in Turkey–a boat to an island sounds dreamy! And all because you asked for a lighter. I love when those types of things happen based on one random word, act, etc. So cool!

  14. 6 Travel Moments Sites | Holiday and Travel
    October 7, 2011 | 3:38 pm

    [...] Random Travel Moment #1: 'Getting Scarfed' in Sanliurfa, Turkey .Sep 18, 2011 Random travel moments are often some of my favorite ones. They occur anywhere and at anytime and [...]

  15. [...] Here’s Random Travel Moment #1: ‘Getting Scarfed’ in Sanliurfa, Turkey [...]

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