I hate you, I love you

Thursday Sept. 16

Today we went to the market in Side. It was a maze of sweaty, stinky people who love to smoke. The market sold primarily knock-off clothing – including Bench, Louis Vutton and Prada (apparently it’s not illegal to sell knock-offs). There were also tons of silver, turquoise and these little symbols called the Turkish eye, representing protection.

Matt and I were looking for a glass mosaic lamp to send home, but we didn’t find one we liked. Instead, we bought a funky Aladdin-looking lamp. They tried to sell it to us for 70 Turkish Lira, but Matt got him down to 20. I can’t bargain – it makes me feel really guilty. But the guy loved us after we bought it and tried to sell us the rest of his shop for “good price.”

We also visited the fruit market, which was beautiful. It was full of spices and freshly picked veggies, almost all of which was sold by elderly women.

So far, I’ve made a few observations about the Turkish people. They are very kind but very loud. They will shout for your attention, but if you say no they just thank you and let you carry on.

But before you walk away you need to take a business card – they hand them out willy-nilly here.

(Actually, we’ve only seen one instance contradicting this – we continued walking past one of the men who was trying to get us to eat in his restaurant. He was extremely kind until he realized that we didn’t want to come in. Then he said, “I hate you.” Their choice of phrasing is interesting – all of the waiters here will say “Thank you, I love you,” after they take your order, to both men and women.)

Second, the Turkish women are the work labourers. We saw quite a few women in the fields working at 5 a.m. on our way from the airport – the cab driver said all the women work very hard while the men drink chai tea. (We realize he was giving us a very broad and opinionated overview, which we don’t take as the facts.)

And third, they like to pretend they are a different nationality. Because Side is a tourist area, they want to know where you are from so that they can sell you their items in your language. If you do not reply, they will keep asking. “German? Scandinavian? England? Dutch?” We told one man we were Canadian and he said we were the first Canadians he has ever met.

But more often than not, the men try to pass themselves off as being English, saying things like “Hiya!” and “You alright?”  Or they will drop the names of English grocery stores, like Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s to pretend they sell those items – which they don’t.

Other random observations:

– The men in town love using a gallon of hair gel and riding their mopeds with their shirts unbuttoned.

– The driving is insane – cars will speed in both directions down a one-way street. And they love to honk their horns – a lot.

– No one wears deodorant, and apparently, it’s not sold in Side. It’s a bit odd for such a hot, sweaty place.

– There are stray cats and dogs everywhere.

– Pop is very expensive. It was $7 for two Pepsi’s. Therefore it’s cheaper to drink alcohol than soda.

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