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Istanbul shopping 'til you drop

sunny 32 °C
View My Intrepid adventure around Turkey on JanelleK.Woods's travel map.

Today was all about shopping. It was Rachel's last full day in Istanbul and she had a list of things to buy. Not relishing going to the bazaars by myself I decided to tag along.

I think the trick with shopping in Istanbul is to not try and get the best price because you honestly have no idea what that is. The idea is to just get YOUR best price. Whatever you are willing to spend. That way you don't get upset when you realise that you paid double what someone else was willing to give you.
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I, for instance had no intention on buying ceramics...well I bought some. I had been interested in a lamp but never intended in buying one...I did. Oh and the guy who sold us the lamps, he asked if we were sisters (we look nothing alike). And he assured us that all Australian girls have blue eyes 'I've seen it on facebook'. The authority on what Australians look like obviously!

Rachel and I got thoroughly lost more than once and I managed to purchase more scarves - honestly, you can't have too many! I'm going back to an Aussie winter afterall. Hey, Rachel bought a hand sewing machine! Something I'm sure I've seen in the Innovations catalogue. They started at one for 25TYL and ended up offering 2 for 15TYL. She bought one for 10TYL.

We finally found the spice bazaar and bought some Turkish delight to take home. Vacuum packed an all!
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Oh should I share some of the lines? Yes.

'Oh spice girls!'
'You dropped something. My heart'
'Hello my darling'
'Can I ask you something small?'
'Just one moment, your father must be a jeweller'
'This is a good place to spend you money'
'You from Japan?'
'I guess, Australian? Holland? American? etc.'
'You like Turkish boy?'

and so they go on.

Where was I? Oh, we were shopping and very very tired and hungry. We finally found our way back to somewhere we recognised and walked into one of the really touristy restaurants to have a gozleme. Yes we were tired but this restaurant was the worse yet.

Firstly, the prices were outrageous - but we expected that on the main strip. Then when the food arrived it was pretty pathetic. It wasn't spinach it was silverbeet. I don't like silverbeet. The cheese was pretty hard to find and poor Rachel ended up with literally just hot sausage. They hadn't cut it properly so Rachel asked for a knife. They refused to give it to her because 'you eat with your hands'. Then the music started. Oh, the music! Soooo loud! Four instruments and not what we wanted to listen to for our break from the crowds. But it gets worse! I asked for our bill just as the band stood up. They evaded us like they didn't understand what I had asked for. Then I realised what was happening and my patience disappeared. Especially when the band stood right in front of us playing a whole song and gesturing for us to give them 5TYL. I shook my head. Then they played another song!!!! The bill arrived and I saw they had already included a tip in the cost so I shook my head again to the tambourine man and happily received a dirty look before they moved onto the next poor table.

Back to our room for some quiet and for Rachel to try the impressive effort of fitting everything she bought into her small pack. Did I mention she bought a carpet in Cappadocia?

Out again for dinner we found a little place with a very very attentive waiter called Genge (however you spell it). Again for some reason the attention was on me. The young Genge kept telling us jokes but had to tell us he was being funny because we couldn't understand what he said. It was very amusing. But the best part...

...as seems to be tradition we were given complimentary tea at the end of the meal. And I mean apple tea (aka tourist tea). I really can't stomach it any more. It's just too sweet. So when it came out and it wasn't just a small glass but basically a mug of it I was distraught. I didn't think I could drink it and would it be rude not to drink it? Clearly my brain was in fine form as I had an inspired idea. When Genge wasn't looking I would just spoon it into the iced tea can I had had earlier. So little by little I spooned the very sweet drink into the can. That is until I realised that it was really heating up the can. Genge came back to the table flirting and talking (really it took no input from us to keep the conversation going) and then it happened. He reached across and cleared the table. When he picked up the can his face registered confusion but he kept talking. We pretended, with difficulty, that nothing was amiss but his confusion continued until finally he stopped his flow of words and exclaimed that the can was hot. How did it get hot. I admitted that it was me. Rachel pipped in to say that it was too hot and I was using the can to cool it down. How that would work I don't know but he seemed to accept it and even praised me for being a clever Australian.

Leaving the restaurant was hard work as he pretended not to understand what 'can I have the bill' meant but eventually he let us go with a hand shake and a kiss on both cheeks. Such a bold boy for 18 years of age! And the end of a day that was rich with laughter!

Posted by JanelleK.Woods 07:58 Archived in Turkey

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