coins-s.jpg Have you seen the film, Never Pass This Way Again? I saw it, maybe over 15 years ago, a true story of an American woman who was at one of Turkey’s ruins where a persistent boy tried to sell her a figurine. She finally bought it and at the airport, customs officials there said that it was an antique and exporting it is against Turkish laws. She was put in prison.

It happened to me! I didn’t go to prison, but at St John’s Basilica in Selçuk, a portly man with a mustache approached me and said that he had found coins at the Ottoman fortress just behind the Basilica. He wanted to sell them to me for $25.

I remembered this movie and politely declined. He was insistent and I told him that I would take a picture of his coins instead. He followed me everywhere around the ruins of St John’s Basilica. Previously, a man dressed in a blue shirt had asked me for my entrance ticket, which was strange since the Basilica was walled. I had noticed him with a group of Japanese tourists huddled together not far from the entrance. I also noticed a brown-haired young man in shorts, darting around the columns and broken walls, stalking me in a sort of way like a hawk does with its prey.

Then and there I let my imagination go wild: After I would buy the coins, the man in the blue shirt would come to “arrest” me for it, then the man in shorts will serve as go-between for me to “purchase” my freedom. It appeared like a scheme to defraud naive-looking tourists like me.

I ran out of the Basilica.

Never Pass This Way Again