Do you believe him? Do you believe them all?
“Where are you from? Ah.. California. I was in Oregon. Eugene. Yes, yes, the University of Oregon. Go Ducks!” Turkish air, Antalya street, tourist restaurant, but Oregon’s mascot. My brother said how he’d gone to U of O as well, and we all shared smiling nods and those lightweight laughs that come out through your nose. Not real laughter, but showing a complicit entertainment. How funny, that this guy had been to the same place! Or had he?
They weren’t quite pushy, but handed us the menu and promised that theirs was the best food in Antalya. It was the same menu as everywhere else, even the same photos, and the customary kabob carnage on its spit, yet we found ourselves considering going back there for dinner. After all, the guy had been to one of the same towns as us!
The question of why that might matter is abstract and psychological enough that I’m going to leave it for another time, probably another species. What I’m wondering is: do you trust him?
Restaurateurs and hoteliers often know a phrase or two in a dozen or more languages, so why not more? It would be really easy to learn a popular city and school, plus some dominant detail. (Ever known anyone who went to U of O? “Go Ducks” is pretty darn dominant.) After all, Yankee hats speckle the globe, people remember Michael Jordan, and I met a man in Malaysia who cried “Go Broncos!”
But it’s also not complicated to buy a ticket, visit friends and family, and look for work in a healthy town. Is it arrogance to assume he hasn’t done the reverse of what I have?
So? Would you go back there to eat?