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Were you talking to me?
After about three weeks in Istanbul, I had picked up just enough Turkish to survive.

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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One day, I was walking through the Grand Bazaar with a British friend. As two foreigners, we got the usual offers of tea and great prices from the many vendors, but declined them all. We weren't shopping, just walking through, engrossed in our conversation.

One of the vendors, whom we had ignored when he tried to lure us into his shop, began gesturing and complaining loudly in Turkish. I couldn't understand a word of what he said, but from his tone, I could tell that it was far from complimentary.

At first, his uncalled-for harangue startled me. Then it irritated. And I quickly made up my mind that I wasn't going to let him know how ignorant I really was about the Turkish language.

So, I turned to him and gave him my best-ever bluff...

"Efendim?" I asked clearly*.

His jaw dropped two feet, he turned bright red, and started, I assume, apologizing profusely.

But, I didn't stick around long enough for him to realize that I had no clue what he was saying.

KB (November '97)

* In this case "Efendim?" was used
(in a voice dripping with sarcasm)
to mean,
"I'm sorry, I didn't hear you well. Could you repeat please?"
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all the uses of Efendim...
In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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