Let me take you to Turkey.
We arrive at the port city of Kuchadarski, pleasantly surprised at its beauty and cleanliness.
I was wondering what it was going to be like on the Mediterranean with all the craziness going on in the mid east.
Never for a moment did we feel at risk.
It did not take long to realize we were not, after all, that close to all the trouble and would not be involved in the Arab- Israeli conflict.
The place is pretty westernized, except for the lunch time prayers Muslim places broadcast to the public. It was the kind of thing you hear on tv.
In the bazaar the shopping is crazy.
There is shop after shop.
The price tags are meaningless.
It is fully expected you will negotiate.
I was looking to buy some sandals, and caught on to the game pretty quickly.
Prices started at 35 Euro, over $60 US.
After saying no to 35, the price went to 25, then to 20, then to 15.
I walked away only to be followed by the merchant with an offer to sell for 10.
I probably should have said yes, but I didn’t, only to play the same game at another shop.
It proves that whoever is willing to walk away from a negotiation wins.
Not any different than negotiating a personal injury case with an insurance adjuster.
These Turkish merchants are incredibly pushy and in-your-face.
They make the New Yorker seem laid-back.
These merchants get paid based on what they sell, so they work it hard.
Creepy at first, but we got used to it.
If sales begins when someone says no, these guys ( did not see many women selling) have the tough skin of elephants.
They are incessant.
And they will negotiate with you regardless of the currency you are using.
These folks have an ability to know where you are from by the way you look, talk,and act.
Not an easy task when you consider they are dealing with folks from the USA, Romania, Italy, Ireland, Bulgaria, Peru, Norway, France, Germany, Cuba, Spain, China, Shi Lanka, Russia, Austrailia, Korea, and Serbia to name a few of the nationalities on the cruise and on the ground.
Goes to show you that there is some truth in every stereotype if you don’t mind being politically incorrect.
The highlight of Turkey, and the trip, was a visit to ancient Ephasus.
This is where St Paul lived and taught.
You might be familiar with St Paul’s letters to the Ephesians.
Well it was cool to be there, at that very Biblical city.
Ephasus was also where the Blessed Mother spent her final days on earth. Her house has been preserved. To get there we took a bus up a high mountain. It was a beautiful and terrifying adventure. The road was dirt and narrow, very narrow. There were a few guardrails, and none of them adequate. The traffic is two-way, but there is not enough room for two cars passing each other. Our Turkish bus driver went way too fast up a mountain that was many times taller than Mount Monadnock.
The injury lawyer in me could not begin to fully appreciate the risks, and it is probably a good thing.
After getting to the summit and visiting the very Holy site it was time to make the trip back down. There was a spring with running Holy water, so I practically bathed in it. If anybody needed to do so it was me. Thankfully the bus driver was driving a Mercedes. That coupled with the fact we were just at a very Holy site, and were properly disposed, made the trip down more peaceful than the trip up.
Conmen are everywhere.
One Turkish bloke tried to convince us he found some ancient gold coins, and we could buy them.
He obviously hasn’t been watching too much tv because he would have been better off contacting Goldline, Monex or one of the other outfits selling gold these days.
He asked why I wasn’t interested, and not being very good at beating around the bush, I told him he was full of shit.
Reminded me of any number of conversations I have had with insurance adjusters over the years.
Well, enough for now.
I’ll be back soon with some more observations.
Thanks for reading.