Traveler learns her name has a different meaning in Istanbul

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Natasha Basley and Alisa Rotenberg spent a semester abroad studying in Prague. When friends planned a spring break trip to Turkey, they tagged along. As Natasha introduced herself to people, her name elicited snickers and giggles.

“In my country, there is a certain type of woman that we call Natasha,” said a carpet store owner.

“Do you mean like a prostitute?” she replied.

She told Press Play, “I guess apparently in the 90s as the situation in  Russia was getting very difficult, a lot of Russian women had made their way down to Turkey to sell, I guess, services. And that certainly had not been in the guidebook before we headed to Turkey. So when I said, ‘So my name means prostitute?,’ he said, ‘Yes, that is the kind of woman we call Natasha here in Turkey.’ ”

So back at the hostel, she started telling people her name was Natalie.

Natasha “Natalie” Basley and Alisa Rotenberg. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

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