The first stop on Sunday's blistering hot bike ride was for pastries at a local bakery and hot chai at the tea shop next door. Both stores were located on the frontage road of the local freeway on the way to the airport. Cars were wizzing by, horns were honking, and the ambiance of the breakfast place matched the scenery and serenity of the ride. It was hot, loud, and dirty. However, there was one good part to the bakery...the right-out-of-the-hot-brick-oven warm pocha, bread-like thing (I know I'm spelling this phonetically and not even close to Turkish) that was melting in my mouth.
There really was not best part to the tea house except that it matched most tea houses I've sat at. It is dominated by men reading newspapers or playing cards and drinking...you guessed it....tea. I washed down the bread with a steaming hot cup of bitter, brewed-to-long tea, the first of 3 cups for the day. I'm really getting a taste for piping hot drinks on scorching hot 95 degree days..yum...
The stop was brief and the group was getting ready to pack up but I needed to find a bathroom. Those 2 cups of early morning coffee plus the litter and a half of water (I told you it was hot!) and the recent addition of the tea were forcing me to speak Turkish. (Usually I just follow the women to the WC but I had'nt seen them make a move.) So, I approached the man at the copper tea machine.
Me: Tuvalet, (toilet) Lutfen.(please)
Man: (giving me the blank stare)
Me: (speaking slower and thinking my accent can't be that bad) Tu-va-let....Lut-fen.
Man: (pointing to the back of the building) Burada. (back there)
I walked in the direction he pointed but I didn't see any WC signs. I did, however, see the typical white door of a bathroom. I gently pushed open the door expecting the worst, a Turkish toilet perhaps. Unfortunately, not only was I not greeted with a toilet, I was greeted with a new "worst", a urinal, not even a Turkish toilet on the floor.
I stepped back and quickly closed the door thinking I'd missed the door for the Bayan. (women) but no. There was only one door.
This confirmed two things:
1) Tea houses are for men. Our male bike riding leaders don't notice how awkward they are for us women to enter.
2) My accent had nothing to do with the man's response to my question.
I'll bet I was the topic of the rest of the day's card tables.....you should have seen that foreign female bike rider....asking for a toilet at a tea house....ha, ha, ha.....that'll teach her from entering our space....