The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

The Lost Tourist as Herself

Today is my dear Mother’s birthday.

I spent a few hours with her–talking about life, reminiscing about youth, and reflecting on how grateful we are to be so close. It reminded me of another mother and daughter tale form my early days in Istanbul.


(And Happy Birthday, Mom!)

Istanbul tram, Istanbul travel, Taksim

The Nice Thing About Strangers

Mothers walking with daughters needed time to assess whether to engage strangers, especially strangers who smiled too much and managed to turn up lost just past the auto repair shops in Şişli. The young mother and her daughter always walked the same route, but on that afternoon they happened upon something new: a wayward tourist asking directions to Taksim from tea-drinking men who likely hadn’t spoken to a foreign woman before and certainly didn’t know how to simplify their instructions.

One man walked the tourist to the street and pointed to the start of the route. Then he added such a series of “left turn, right turn, straight on, over and under” that although it was the young mother’s native tongue and daily path, she herself would have gotten lost. Meanwhile, the tourist nodded politely without comprehension and the confidence faded from her still-present smile. After excessive thank yous, the…

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11 comments on “The Lost Tourist as Herself

  1. anyone4curryandotherthings
    November 4, 2013

    happy birthday to your Mom! Carina

  2. niasunset
    November 4, 2013

    Happy Birthday to you mother! Blessing and Happiness, love, nia

  3. ksbeth
    November 5, 2013

    happy birthday to mom, great post ) beth

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      November 6, 2013

      I appreciate it, Beth! She had a nice day, and she’ll be happy to know someone is reading the blog. 🙂

  4. gardenpinks
    November 5, 2013

    A wonderful post and reminded me of the kindness shown to me in Germany by the proprietor of a cafe who, upon learning that I needed to get to Hameln (approx 20km away) and had no transport, escorted me to his Mercedes carrying my luggage and stowing it in the boot of the car then drove me to a small train station. He then made sure I had purchased the correct ticket and left me at the station. Neither of us spoke many words of the other’s language but I appreciated his kindness hugely.
    Hope your mum had a wonderful birthday.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      November 6, 2013

      Hi my friend, I love your story. It’s so wonderful when we find strangers who offer us their time and compassion.
      Mom had a lovely day. Thank you!

  5. Robert M. Weiss
    November 6, 2013

    Happy Birthday to your Mom! I, too, am lucky. My Mom is 89, and Dad is 91.

  6. Patty B
    November 7, 2013

    Birthday Blessings to your mom!

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This entry was posted on November 4, 2013 by in Travel.

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