My second day in Turkey was met with a sweet surprise as I awoke to an email reply from the Turkish doctor. It turns out that he, too, tried to wait for me near the baggage claim area for 45 minutes, only to leave when he couldn’t find me. He asked me to email back my phone number, and that he would like to see me for a couple of hours before heading back to the area where his parents lived to celebrate Mother’s Day, the next day. There was no mention of time so I just replied back and went along with my day.
Although I thought about the Blue Mosque from the day before, I decided I wanted another type of stimulation–shopping! The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest covered bazaars in the world with over 3,000 shops. I was told that I must learn the art of haggling or bargaining, and that I should never pay the initial offered price. I’m not sure how you practice this concept but I thought I would give it a try. Immediately upon entering the Bazaar I was met with a friendly guy who offered me some Turkish Delight. I wasn’t ready as I just walked in and I was overwhelmed with stimulation. Shop after shop, sparkling jewelry, designer handbags, leather shops, trinkets of every kind, rugs, carpets, shoes, more leather shops, more carpets, more handbags, sparkle, sparkle, sparkle, more, more, and more of everything! On top of that every man tried to be friendly and talk to you to lure you in. I’m not sure what the word is for sensory overload, over stimulation, and sheer delight all at once but I am sure whatever the word is, it originated in Turkey.
After testing my skills at haggling, I ended up buying a gold and white sapphire charm of Fatima’s hand as well as two silk pillow cases. I only bought the pillow cases, although beautiful, because the guy just wouldn’t let me go. He even walked me to the bathroom, waited for me outside, walked me to his cousin’s shops, and tried to sell me a rug (hilarious, I thought, as I pictured a large Turkish rug inside my small, modern Chicago apartment–it would stick out like a sore thumb and I imagined people walking in and thinking, WTF???) When I was REALLY ready to leave the guy, he motioned for the other guy to close the door. Here is where I got a little scared. He took me to a small room with a couch. We sat, he offered me tea (again) and then after some small talk he asked me for my number! I didn’t offer so he gave me his and asked me if I liked music (I’m crazy about music). He wanted me to meet him somewhere that night so I can experience some Turkish music. Still unsure, I just told him I would try. Then, after I got up, feeling a bit uncomfortable, he gave me a hug to say good bye. When we detached our bodies he went further and tried to kiss me! I knew then that I wouldn’t meet him that night. As I left I wondered why Turkish men were so aggressive. Except for the Turkish doctor, of course.
Here are just a few pictures from the Bazaar: