an excerpt from my humorous travel
Bright Sun, Strong Tea: (the
previous episode was Life
The next day we took off again in
the Opel and the minibus, heading northeast
the most religiously and morally conservative
town in Turkey. One of the crew members
had come from a village in Konya province,
which would make it easy for us to
shoot the Tourists Stranded in a
We drove to the main square in Konya
and checked into the ambitiously-named Turist
Oteli, on the south side of the
square. Diana and I were assigned to
separate but neighboring rooms, a situation
which had distinct possibilities.
The next day we went to a simple restaurant
to shoot the Tourists Receiving
Bad Service scene.
We were welcomed warmly and graciously
into the modest eatery by the proprietor
and the sole waiter. Nurettin Bey,
the director, had already explained
the project to them, so we got to it.
We sat at a table in the spartan dining
room. The waiter filled our glasses
with water from an uncapped, re-used
raki bottle, the implication being
that it was not purified spring water
as it should be, but plain old tap
water in a bottle of suspect cleanliness.
(In the Tourists Receiving Good
Service scene we shot later, the
water comes from sealed individual
spring water bottles.)
While the camera rolled, the waiter
brought us each a plate of soup. The
waiter, though untrained, was experienced.
He did it normally, naturally, and
well. It was a simple act.
This presented a problem. If the film
was to instruct the Turkish people
in the right way to treat tourists,
it should also show them the wrong
way so they'd see the difference. Nurettin
Bey instructed the waiter to serve
us the soup again, and this time to be
sure his thumb was in it.
The waiter frowned and self-consciously
obliged, looking grim, which suited
Nurettin perfectly. The cameraman moved
in for a close-up of the soup-covered
thumb. In full close-up, the waiter
raised his thumb out of the gooey soup
to let a few globules ooze off and
strike the plate rim. It was perfect.
We didnt even get to eat the
soup. That was the last scene for the
The next day after the filming, we
said goodbye. She was sweet to me.
I was hopelessly smitten with her,
but I got nowhere, and Id never
see her again except in my dreams.
She flew back to Ankara and was gone.
Andy Warhol said that in the future
everyone would be famous for 15 minutes.
I was a movie star for a week. I guess fifteen
minutes in Manhattan is like a week
I boarded a bus for Istanbul.
I had a book to write.
here to order an autographed
copy of the book online with
credit card or PayPal.
from Turkey: Bright Sun, Strong
Tea copyright © 2004 by
Tom Brosnahan. All rights reserved.)
from Bright Sun, Strong Tea
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