The Not-So-High Fashion Show

Trip Start Nov 03, 2008
Trip End Jan 10, 2009

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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hey People

I am sitting in a cafe in Selcuk right now waiting for a night bus to take me to Urgup in the Cappadocia region of Turkey.  I took a tour of this ancient Roman city Ephesus today and what a disaster that was.  We started the tour in a torrential downpour after a brief stop at a souvenir stand to buy umbrellas and rain coats.  Our tour guide was very enthusiastic and stopped for about 20 minutes at each site to tell us exactly how they made it, who made it, when they made it and how they made it, while we stood there almost drowning in the rain. 
My ability to listen was not as great as his ability to talk so when he wasn't looking I escaped the group so I could wander around and enjoy the site on my own.  I went from building to building looking for shelter from the rain so I could take some pictures without wrecking my camera.  The problem with Roman Ruins is that they have more columns than roofs; they are not a lot of fun when it's raining.   I finally made a run for the exit and raced past all the souvenir stands so I could avoid having to have the same conversation over and over with each vendor.  It starts with "where are you from" and ends with "come look in my shop, I make good price for you."  Next time I go to one of these countries I am bringing a chatter box with me.  She can have all the boring conversations with the salespeople and talk their ear off while I look over the merchandise in peace.  Does anyone have a friend who won't shut up that likes to travel?
My group finally finished the tour and found me sipping on warm apple tea in the cafe by the parking lot.   We got into the bus and visited the spot where they think the Virgin Mary lived during her final days before visiting a leather factory. 
Next the guide told our small group in his fakest enthusiastic voice that we would have a short stop at a leather factory to get a taste of important Turkish culture, we all looked at each other wondering what a stop at a leather factory had to do with a Roman Ruins tour.  We reluctantly got off the bus and were shuffled into a decorated room with chairs on each side and a catwalk in the center.  The host gave us all a cup of apple tea and told us we were in for a real treat: our own fashion show.  Loud dance music came on as we all awkwardly sat through what very well could have been the worst fashion show in history: two very attractive Turkish models, one guy and one girl, put on a 15 minute fashion show for us modeling leather coats available at the store upstairs.  They strutted around dramatically taking off and putting on coats as though they were in a high fashion runway show in Paris.
Everyone on the tour just sat there in shock wishing they could get their money back since they had no chance of ever getting that time back.  When the show finally ended, the host held up some pieces of leather and in a loud, angry voice told us that we are not obligated to buy anything and that he was just educating us about Turkish leather in case anyone wanted to purchase a jacket today or some time in the future.  After his lecture he welcomed us upstairs to look at their inventory.  Everyone gave the coats a quick obligatory "once-over" before racing out the exit door.  The prices started at around $400 and for most of us that is a lot of money.  None of us seemed like the type to go on a tour of ruins and come back wearing a $400 that we bought during a 15minute shopping spree in a Turkish leather factory.  What were these people thinking? 
We had another quick stop at a site that was counted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and our guide went about giving us another long boring lecture.  I wandered off from the group again but this time I had a guy follow me trying to sell me a book mark, he did not believe that I was not interested and the only way I could shake him was to rejoin the group and let the guide bore me to death.  I was caught between a windbag and a souvenir salesman - not a great predicament.  When I thought I lost the salesman I broke off from the group once again.  I was looking through my lens about to take a picture and instead of seeing a roman column, I saw a Turkish carpet-style bookmark; the same bookmark I had just escaped from.  The salesman just appeared out of nowhere - did he have magical powers or something?  I raced back to the group and resigned myself to the lesser of two evils.
At the end of the tour the bus stopped in front of the travel agency and the guide instructed anyone wanting to visit a pottery factory to stay on while the rest got off.  I was surprised that the guide didn't get trampled when we all ran off the bus.
Take Care

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radiochick on

Keep your travel updates coming...they're great!

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