Hotel in Midyat, Turkey
or, Take a bad situation and let it turn itself around
We walked into the lobby of the Hotel Yuvam in Midyat, Turkey to find a kid in his early twenties working the front desk. He spoke zero English and could not fully make out our intentions in Turkish. Eventually, he realized that we wanted a room in his hotel.
He pointed to both Chaya and I and quoted us a price of 40 Lira ($27). This was a lot of money. We can not pay this much for a night of sleep. I counter offered with a price of 25 Lira. The boy quickly accepted.
Chaya thought this was odd that he accepted our offer without haggling. I did too.
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Midyat, Turkey- April 2, 2009
Travelogue —Travel Photos –Travel Guide
Click on map to view route of travel.
We would not know the full ramifications of this agreement until later on in this story.
We went to the room and scoffed at it. We did not think that the 10′ X 7′ white walled cell of a room was worth nearly 25 Lira ($15) a night. We dropped our bags and the floor and went out to find a bite to eat.
We were in for a rude surprise when we returned to the hotel after eating dinner and finding an irate hotel owner together with the receptionist boy telling us that the actual cost of the room we were occupying was 50, and not 25, Lira. He then pointed to a sign hanging on the wall for emphasis.
It was true, the price posted on the wall was 48 Lira for a double room.
The boy had thought that I meant that I wanted to pay 25 Lira per person for the room, and not 25 Lira altogether. In his attempt to make more money out of us, the boy actually received less. His original quote for the room was 40 Lira, and he thought that we counter offered with a combined price of 50.
He must have thought us pretty stupid.
“Is this OK for the night?” I asked. There was no way that we were going to pay 50 Lira for that crappy room. The hotel owner agreed, but made us move to an even crappier room.
This room had no TV, wires sticking out walls, and was just as dinky as the first room. Oh well, we just wanted to sleep.
I think we got the hotel boy in trouble. We did not know it then, but he would have his revenge the following day.
Pack donkey in streets of Midyat, Turkey
The next day we awoke and went out for a morning stroll. We had planned on leaving for the village of Hasankeyf that morning, but wanted to eat up a good breakfast first. We said good morning to the hotel boy as we went out into the streets.
He said good morning back to us.
At around 9:30 AM we walked by the hotel and saw the boy standing in the 2nd floor window. We waved to each other and said hello. He had a big smile on his face.
We did not know then the full implications of that big smile. When we returned to the hotel after eating breakfast, we found the outside door locked and nobody inside to open it. Our gear was inside the hotel and we were stuck on the outside.
The boy locked us out of the hotel and jumped ship.
We could not leave Midyat without out bags. We were stuck. This pissed us off. We sat in front of the locked door and groveled for a while. Then, all of a sudden, we realized that it was still a beautiful day: the sun was shinning, it was warm, and everything was dry. We watched a pigeon get electrocuted with a huge bang and sparks on a power line.
We relaxed and contented ourselves to our fate.
“It’s a nice day,” I eventually said to Chaya.
“Yeah, but it is a nice day that I would rather be spending on the banks of the Tigris,” she replied with a laugh.
She was corrected, we had to make it to Hasankeyf somehow that day. I went off to find someone who could help us. I asked at a jewelery shop that sat next to the hotel, and the people inside helped us only enough to confirm that we had, in fact, been locked out.
I returned to our grovelling station on the stoop of the hotel’s front door.
I then noticed a well dressed older man and an equally well dressed young boy approaching us on the sidewalk. I asked them if they could speak English. The older man could. I explained what happened. He went off to find the hotel owner, but it was to no avail and he told us to just wait until the owner returned to unlock the door.
Chaya and I waited for a few minutes longer, and then I went off to find someone else who could help us find or telephone the hotel owner. I asked at a pharmacy and found a really hospitable man who was more than willing to try to help us. He seemed genuinely concerned, spoke good English, and said that the hotel closes every day at that time and does not reopen until four or five PM.
It would have been nice if the hotel boy mentioned this prior to locking us out.
Upon being told that we wanted to leave Midyat as soon as possible, the pharmacist rushed out of his office and began rounding up some troops. He asked everyone he could in the vicinity around the hotel if they knew how to contact the owner. People made calls on cell phones, people asked people in the streets, who in turn asked more people in the streets. The well dressed older man returned with one of his sons. Soon, there was an entire crowd of people standing in front of the hotel all trying to figure out some way for Chaya and I to get inside to reclaim our possessions.
Old buildings in Midyat, Turkey
“Everyone is trying to help you,” the older man said with a laugh.
He was correct.
I am unsure what happened next. I don’t know if someone eventually contacted the owner, but the crowd dispersed and the well dressed older man and his son invited us to come and wait in their nearby dentist office.
They were dentists.
I had never really been to the dentist before, and I harbor a deep fear about what they would do to my poor teeth if the ever got a hold of me, but drastic times required drastic measures. We wholeheartedly accepted their offer to come to their dentist office to wait together for return of the hotel owner.
In travel, the extended hand of friendship needs to be seized at every opportunity, and hospitality can make a warm sunny day even brighter.
At the dentist office we sat down in the reception room and were given tea with good cookies. The older man, his son, and another dentist sat with us and we talked about Turkey, the USA, and dentistry. Chaya and I were taught a little about the region that we were traveling through.
“Three languages are spoken here,” the older gentleman said, “everybody here speaks at least three languages: Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabic.”
“And I speak Russian too,” added the older man’s dentist son, who studied in Kazakhstan.
“Why did you study in Kazakhstan?” I asked him.
“Because he made me,” the son replied with a laugh as he pointed to his father.
The well dressed older man had wanted his son to not only get an education, but also to experience what life was like outside of Turkey. He, himself, was from Lebanon, and seemed to know the value of traveling abroad and claiming an international perspective on the world.
We continued talking for a while more, and then they asked us if we were hungry. We were not, as we had eaten a big breakfast of corba soup and an all you can eat supply of bread. We were happily stuffed.
But our hosts would not take no for an answer, and everybody stood up and made for the door. We followed.
We went to a tavern style restaurant down the street, and our hosts took us around so that we could pick out what we wanted to eat. We picked out sis kebabs. We then went and sat down with the son and the other dentists as the older gentleman watched to make sure the cook used the best meat for our kebabs and that it was prepared well.
“My father always watches the cooks,” the son commented with a laugh.
This is a good idea anywhere in the world.
A large salad was laid before us full of lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, and jalapeno peppers. Lemon juice was squeezed on top as a dressing. The peppers made the salad.
We made small talk until the older gentleman returned from his vigilance at the cook’s side. We wrote down our names on a napkin and he told me what my last name is in Turkish – Chorban (Shepard) – and showed me how to write Wade in Arabic. I practiced my Arabic numbers with him.
Our meal was soon served, and I must say that it was the best lunch I have yet had in Turkey. I am one who eats the cheapest food I can find. The meal that was laid before me was not cheap.
It always seem to work out in travel that the moment after you pay to stuff yourself full of food is the moment when someone offers you a big meal. Chaya and I ate two huge meals in rapid succession that morning, and returned to the dentists office a touch ill. The food was good, but it was a little too much. We ate most of it though to appease our hosts.
Once back at the dentist office we talked with the son about the basics of life in this stretch of Turkey. He told us that he likes Yiddish women.
I said I did too, and pointed at Chaya.
His Yiddish woman left him though, saying that she could not live in Turkey. She was Russian, and I suppose a life in Turkey was not the step up the ladder that she was looking for. The son seemed to be heart broken.
But he was not the first heart broken Turkish boy that we have met in these travels. It seems to be a part of the ebb and flow of a Turk’s coming of age to have his guts ripped out by a lover.
We talked a little more, and then I asked when he thought the hotel was going to open again. He said that it was open already with a big smile. Chaya and I shrugged and stood up to leave. The older gentleman returned from the restaurant to bide us a good farewell as we shook everyone’s hands, said a bunch of thank yous, and went out the door.
We grabbed our swag from the hotel, dropped our key in the vindicated owner’s hand, and made way for Hasankeyf on the banks of the Tigris River.
Dentists of Midyat with Wade
“Those were the nicest dentists I’ve ever met,” Chaya spoke as we rode out of town.
I had to agree. In travel, bad situations have an odd way of turning themselves around. Our experience of Midyat was ironically enriched because we were locked out of our hotel. Sit back and take the ride.
Travel to Midyat, Turkey
Hotel in Midyat, Turkey