Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Misunderstandings

The first day I was in Cappadocia, I went to Urgup to buy shoes and see if I could find WiFi. It was well after lunch time and there was a nice little restaurant with an outdoor patio on the street side and a balcony with a few tables on the view side. I ordered some kind of chicken on salad that came, in the usual Turkish fashion, with a basket of delicious fluffy white bread.

The restaurant had good powerful WiFi and I was the only person hooked up to it, so it was screaming fast. Sometimes I 'm glad to have splurged on an Apple iPad, and sometimes I am disappointed in it. It never quite does what I expect but that may be because I'm not a Power-User yet. Or, spoiled with all the wonderful things a full-fledged Mac can do, I'm just expecting too much from it.

Apparently the thirty-something woman in a head scarf who had cooked my lunch expected too much as well. She pointed at the iPad and chattered away in Turkish at me. I shrugged, indicated (I thought) that I don't speak Turkish, so she simply spoke the same thing over and louder, thinking perhaps I couldn't hear either. The iPad has a translator so I typed some sentences saying I didn't understand and could she write some words on a piece of paper so I could translate them. I heard over and again, the words: fianza and francia. I knew from Aylin that fianza is fiancee, because she has one. And Francia could only be France, but I had no idea what the connection between them could be.

She wrote some words and I typed them in. Unfortunately the iPad does not provide the Turkish letters and it won't translate a word if it isn't spelled right. Only one of her words translated to anything at all, and that was "engagement".

The owner of the restaurant came by, presumably to see if his employee was bothering me, and he listened to her go on and on.....then he just walked away in the middle of a sentence to join some men who were smoking on the balcony. The owner's wife chatted with the woman but she didn't speak English, so there we were, a wall of non-understanding between us.

I showed her how the translator can listen to my words, and then translate them into Turkish. I encouraged her to do the same but she spoke so fast and wouldn't stop. The translator simply crapped out. I told her to say just one sentence, using the translator, but she didn't understand how it worked and immediately chattered hysterically again. How do you tell someone to wait for your signal, say only one sentence, slowly and clearly, when YOU don't speak but 10 words of their language? And I'm not sure how well the translator would have worked listening to Turkish......we never got that far.

I gave up. When I paid the bill, I asked the owner what it was that she wanted. He knew, of course. She had seen people from France using Skype and she wanted to talk to her fiancee. I'm sure she saw them speaking to people whose animated faces showed on the screen. Seeing me with the same device, she was almost in a panic to see her future husband and talk to him. What she couldn't possibly know is that he would have to have Skype as well, and be online at the same time, in order for her to talk to him. All she saw was magic, and I was the genie who could serve up her wish.