I am not ashamed to admit that there have been times throughout my travels when I have been a victim of con.
Once, I was visiting the small village of Sirince, in Turkey, when an elderly lady called to me. I could barely see her from the other side of a tall stone wall, though I could make out her time-etched face and the sprigs of a plush private garden.
My Turkish at the time was patchy at best, but I was able to ascertain that she was inviting me in for traditional cai and to show me the pregnant fruits of her apple tree. I assumed, naturally, that she had been overwhelmed by the aura of intrigue and cultural openness which I emanated as I wandered aimlessly through the streets with my camera, and wanted desperately to embrace me into her authentic Turkish bosom.
I pictured us sitting on her floor, drinking sweetened tea, and coming together as women despite our cultural, generational, and linguistic divide. For a moment, I even wondered if this is how my true call to cultural journalism would begin- on the carpeted ground of this villager’s home. Turns out, she saw me as just one more in a line of gormless tourists, and wanted to sell me her apples.
To her credit, they were pretty tasty.