Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Something about customs always make me nervous. Perhaps its a fear developed from watching too many spy movies. I know I have nothing to hide yet for some reason I always begin to sweat at the beginning of the line. This means that after waiting 20 minutes to be interviewed by a surly looking Turkish man, I am a wreck.

I hand the man my passport and that little yellow card. It must be apart of the chemical in the yellow that blocks memory, I can never seem to remember my social security number. By this time its 1:30 in the morning Turkey time and 8:30 in the morning in Korea. I didn't know if I could answer a single question correctly. This habit of not sleeping on planes and then slurring answers at customs almost landed me in Korean quarantine. The surly Turk opens it and looks me up and down. He glares at me and asks "Kalk?". I slowly begin to process the question. "Kalk?" he asks again this time much louder like he has recognized my name from a most wanted list. "Yeah, Kalk K-A-L-K" is all I can think to say, I'm just glad I didn't go into my Callll-K me on the telephone routine.

After I introduced myself the officer looks me straight in the eye and says "Stand up". Silence, then he repeats himself with no change of expression "stand up". All I could manage was a muttered "I am standing..." It must have done the trick as he stamped my passport and sent me on my way.

The next day I related the story to my friends who had the idea to run the word "kalk" into a English to Turkish dictionary.

Kalk- To demand a single person to stand up.

Who would have guessed the last name commonly mispronounced as cock in English could have its own quasi-popular song by the Turkish spice girls?

And who can forget "Olgan Olgan Kalk Gidelim"?


  1. That's so funny about the name! Crazy!
    Could have had a worse meaning I suppose.

  2. haha, I feel that way at customs too!