Random Acts of Kindness

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Turkey  , Izmir,
Friday, December 4, 2009

One of the things that has floored me the most upon arrival in Turkey is how nice the people are.  All around you are folks who are friendly and willing to help.  So different from the North American mentality where we are generally fearful of strangers first.  I hope that through this trip I may become a different person being willing to help others first and think of myself second.  We've only been here a few days and already I am overwhelmed with the number of times we've been extended great kindness.  I will write a few stories here.

*One particularily rainy and miserable cycling day we decided to stop for a warm up and get some tea.  Luckily in Turkey these places abound.  In one little town I pulled over the bike to do a quick scan of the main drag to see where might be appropriate.  Immediately I saw a man at a table beckon us welcomingly.  That's all the invitation I needed.  Bikes parked and we were in.  After enjoying 2 cups of tea for a warmup we went to pay for our drinks only to find out that the welcoming gentleman had already paid for our drinks. 

*Upon arriving in town we were looking for a cheap Otel or Pension to stay in for the night.  I've found that this can be quite difficult to do on my own and have resorted to asking people for advice.  While cycling along the road I noticed one man who looked quite friendly who gave a wave.  After a bit more fruitless searching I went back to talk to this man.  He immediately ran down the road to get a friend who spoke some english.  They had a couple of places to recommend and he offered to take us there himself!  I had to think and wonder what my reaction would be in Canada to someone looking for directions.  Certianly not: I'll store your bikes, close my store in the middle of the day, and drive you around to several places until you find one that suits.

*Stopping at a gas station one afternoon, Brian double checked directions (since our maps are sooo poor) and we ended up sitting down to unlimited tea and conversation until it was starting to get dark and we needed to get to finding a place to stay. 

*One evening while staying in an 'Otel' I had asked about the possibility of dinner being included in the price, but no such luck.  Since there was a language barrier, I was talking with the 'big boss' over the phone to negotiate everything.  However, the lady taking care of the establishment must have dasagreed as she brought sandwiches up to our room later. 

What's really great about this is that people do it naturally.  Not because RAK is a new catch phrase phenonoman that they're trying to follow, or that they read it in a self-help book by the latest psycho-guru, or because they saw it on Opera.  They're doing it because it's basic human decency.  The words of several great leaders and prophets come to mind.  The basic golden rule for humanity.

"Do unto others..."  you should know the rest.  
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