It was my first trip to the country of Turkey. And even though September is relatively late in the year, the streets of Istanbul were scorching hot as a coworker and I walked about the city. When I saw a vendor with a refreshment stand, I was ready to quench my thirst.
"Wait a moment," I told my colleague. "I'm going to try one of those cans of Turkish soda pop."
I understand few words in Turkish, but numerals are universal language. I pointed to the soda pop I wanted and doled the proper number of coins into the palm of the shopkeeper. He nodded with approval and handed me my chilled drink. I pulled up the aluminum tab and was about to turn away when the vendor suddenly lifted a hand to sign that I should wait a moment, as if I were forgetting something. Then, very seriously, he reached behind his counter and withdrew a plastic drinking straw.
"Ah," I said, understanding dawning.
The man motioned for me to hold the can closer, and when I did he courteously inserted the straw and then gestured that I was good to go. I smiled my thanks and waved farewell.
When I rejoined my friend, we set off down the sidewalk and resumed our conversation right where we left off before my quick shopping excursion. I stuck the straw in my mouth to take a sip of Turkish cola.
That's when I felt something I hadn't felt since I was a little kid: on the tip of that drinking straw, my tongue felt the teeth impressions left by the person who had used it before me! Gag! I whipped out the straw and tossed it into the nearest trash can. When I was growing up, we kids would wash and reuse plastic straws, but that was the first time I'd received such a thing with a purchased drink. I've wondered but will never know...was that thing washed before it was my turn to use it?
I love interesting, true travel adventures. If you've ever experienced something odd while away from home, will you share that with us? Or maybe someone you know had a "fun" out-of-town experience?