Published: June 21st 2012June 16th 2012
My Rickshaw Driver!
It's a bicycle. Weather very hot, legs very sore. Take the rickshaw!
Saturday 16 June, 2012.
I slept really well and was up early having breakfast in the Lido outdoor café at the rear of the ship by 7am. I hadn’t booked any shore excursions, but decided to go ashore and hit the bazaar that the port of Kusadasi is famous for. As I came off the ship there were many men on the dock with bicycle rickshaws begging for customers. ‘Just one euro, just one euro.’ So I thought hang it, they obviously need the money. I hopped aboard (see the pic) and off we went, but I don’t think they can be allowed to take the rickshaws through the customs area to get to the road on the other side and Mr Rickshaw had a mate waiting with a wheelchair. Oh boy, I thought… not the wheelchair! I did as he pleaded and got into the wheelchair. We went at full speed stopping occasionally for Mr Rickshaw to fix the footrest that kept falling down. He was constantly reassuring me that he would get me to the market as promised and it would be only one euro. The last time the footrest fell down, I
think he thought I blow my stack and not pay him. Anyway after pushing me towards his cousin’s carpet shop and his other cousin’s leather jacket shop trying to get me to buy from them he asked me what I wanted to buy. ‘Genuine leather handbag, are there any shops that sell handbags”. Yes, his other cousin has a leather handbag shop. “But you sure you don’t want leather jacket madam?” “I’ll hop out here thank you.” I said. “Wait, wait. I take you to handbag shop.” And he did. I gave him two euro and he almost kissed my feet. In the handbag shop the quality was rubbish with only the trimmings in leather. They offered me the obligatory Turkish coffee and tried to upsell me to genuine buffalo leather. After what I’d seen, I didn’t trust the products or the salesman quite frankly. I declined the coffee and the handbags… much to his disgust.
I moved around the bazaar not daring to look sideways for fear of being harassed. I would dearly have loved to have had a look in some of the Turkish rug shops, just to check out the workmanship. I believe these
Flying the Flags
Turkey, Middle East.
days mainly only small rugs are being made in the old ways as the big ones just aren’t bringing in the money needed to cover the hours of labour that goes into them. I lot of people from the ship bought rugs and had them shipped home. One couple from California paid under 20 euro for a long wide hall runner. Amazing price, but again to ship to Australia would be double what it costs to ship for USA – just like the Italian wine. To ship just 6 bottles cost something like $150. Just not worth it unfortunately.
By the way, talking about Italian wine; I had bought a bottle to take home as a gift and had very carefully carried it around in my luggage for two weeks. It was confiscated at the security gate when I left Italy for Greece. Sorry Steve… you miss out buddy. It was a 2003 Vino Nobile Reserve bin. I had a taste at one of the wine cellars in Montepulciano and knew you and Jane would love it. So I dearly hope that the clerk on the check in desk of Aegean Airlines took it home and appreciated
it. Just to explain, I was carrying it in my hand luggage and security suggested that I go back out to the check in desk and try to catch my main bag which had already been checked in. I did this, but it was too late… it had already gone out to the plane and the luggage was closed. Apparently you are not allowed to take large quantities of liquids through security. So I gave it to the clerk/flight attendant. She was genuinely very sorry and I was genuinely very upset!
Anyway, back to the bazaar at Kusadasi; I found a little shop with an attendant that wasn’t pushy, so did all my shopping with her and was happy with my purchases. Then I decided to hop on a local bus to go there and back to see how far it was… not far! It did a 20 minute circuit taking tourists to a place called Ladies Beach. See the photos. This is a resort town and definitely not indicative of a typical Turkish area. However, I was able to see in the distance some typical housing. It’s a very pretty part of the world.
Back on board the ship for lunch and a rest before the next port of call this evening; Patmos.
There are more photos below