Salesmenship 101 – Turkish Style

Port of KusadasiWhat a vibrant, colourful city! Jennifer decided to stay on board as she hurt her knee tripping over a cement planter and she had already been to Kusadasi. Jo-Ann and Yordie ventured off the boat. I had a leisurely breakfast and decided to take a stroll through the market later on.

Like many of the other villages/towns we have visited the streets and alleyways are narrow. What is different about Kusadasi is the colour, aromas and how loud everyone speaks. They are whistling and shouting all the time. I sauntered up the market street where colourful baskets, rugs and leather goods were hanging. It is almost eerie as you see mostly men and very few women with the exception of those who are working on the looms. Men in pressed dress shirts with their black hair slicked back seem Colours of Kusadasi, Turkeyto have this sixth sense you are coming. They walk out of their storefronts and motion for you to come in. They almost hypnotize you with their hand motions waving you in.

Their sales tactics are as follows: 1) ask you where you are from, if you answer, you are possibly hooked 2) get you inside their store and place the product in your hand, you are possibly hooked 3) when you say you are not interested, they ask you what price you want to pay.

This is where the games begin. They really want you to barter, and if you are the first sale of the day, this is good luck for the salesperson. I found it all fascinating. I met a gentleman who lives in Kusadasi half the year and the balance in Montreal. This is where I love travelling. Getting to know new people and their stories. Mahmoud was very engaging and even though he was not pushing his products on me, trust me, a sale was definitely on his mind. We spoke of what life is like in Turkey and especially in Kusadasi. People of all faiths live in harmony here. He has a home and he rents out rooms. There were 3 different nationalities and religions living under his roof. This is all so different from what we read about in the papers.

I did get ripped off for an iced latte at Starbucks 6.50 euros and the only reason I stopped there was for the free wifi. The wifi wasn’t working so i went next door to buy another coffee. This time I bought a Turkish Coffee. Heck, when in Turkey, right? It was thick, black and delicious if you like strong coffee it is worth a try. It was served in a little cup similar to espresso served with two pieces of Turkish Delight as a little treat. I would definitely have another if I’m ever back.

The internet was strong for the first time on this trip. I was 2 days behind on my blog and I really wanted to Skype with dad. I did catch up on my blog, but the Skype was not to be. Being 7 hours ahead and having to be back on board to sail to another port leaves you small windows of opportunity. When I bought the iced latte at Starbucks, they gave me change in Turkish lira. I took that and tipped the owner of the cafe where I used the Internet. He was so grateful he offered to give me a private viewing of his Prada and Michael Kors purses on the 3rd floor. I think made the right decision by not going. Dad would have had to buy me back for at least a herd of goats. Hey, I’m worth it!

One thing they do warn you about are the knock off designer purses and shoes. There at almost every stand. It is crazy. I politely thanked him and headed back to the market where I continued the dance of the salesmen. It was just that, a dance. “Hey lady, where you from? Australia? Quebec?” I would say “Canada” and then it would be “Come in and look at my goods, I give you good price. I have the best.” Store after store this happens. It’s like the whack-a-mole game at The Exhibition. Little heads pop in and out.

I saw Jo-Ann and Yordie in my travels and they said it felt weird, and I could understand that. The aromas are different than anything many have experienced. Musty odors from carpets, leather, etc. but so beautiful with vibrant colours and spices. The constant badgering of the aggressive salesmen would definitely be annoying. I loved it!

At the local spice store I bought some Turkish Delight (rose, lemon and pomegranate), traditional Turkish spices (sumac and a meatball spice) along with apple and Turkish black tea. Back to the ship I headed to begin the next journey to the island of Patmos, Greece.


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