Thursday, March 5, 2015

Feb 8, Ephesus/ Kusadasi, Turkey

Feb. 8 Ephesus /Kusadasi

The shore excursion we had booked for today was called “Shop and Learn” was CANCELLED

The itinerary said:

“Turkey is a shopping paradise and you should take advantage of it. This is a great opportunity to hone your negotiating skills. You’ll learn about Turkish handcrafts and have the opportunity to shop at reasonable prices. Visit a ceramics art center where you can observe the production process. After watching artisans at work and learning how they are made you’ll have a chance to shop. Stop at a Turkish handcraft village where you’ll learn about the art of Turkish carpet weaving, have a presentation and a shopping opportunity. See fine Turkish jewellery and enjoy time to shop.

You’ll also visit a leather outlet store where it’s fine leather collection is presented in a fashion show and afterwards you can try on various pieces. At the end of the tour stop at the Ephesus Park, a themed recreation of the city of Ephesus with an exclusive interactive show. Back in Kusadasi you’ll have the option to explore the downtown on your own or return directly to the ship.”

Guests must be able to walk ½ mile over rough and uneven cobblestone surfaces.

We awoke this morning after our journey through the Aegean Sea to Ephesus, Turkey. Our tour excursion “Shop and Learn” was CANCELLED so after breakfast we debarked to see what we could find on our own, maybe get lucky and find other tour buses or shopping nearby or whatever.


 Not a prison as I had thought. It was a teahouse, open only in the evenings

 Meanwhile the buffet has lots of places to eat today

 The arcade was empty too

On the pier at the bottom of the ships off ramp were two different modes of transportation besides walking (A) covered rickshaw like pedicabs and drivers for 2 Turkish Lire ($1.00 Canadian) to the end of the pier or (B) a wheelchair with driver/pusher for 3 Lire ($1.50) which I assumed was also just to the end of the pier.

Since the wheelchair guys approached us first, they were the ones who got our business and it was the better choice even if they didn’t speak English as they not only drove us through the port terminal building but kept on going past the duty free shops and out the other side directly into a sort of mall shopping area of jewelry and watches, rugs, leather goods, ceramics, textiles and misc. clothing stores as well as cafes, souvenirs, candy etc. We hadn't even known it was there so that was cool!

 This piece of art was hung diagonally on the wall of a shop and it was pretty awesome

 ah ha! it IS a teahouse

And then….the guys with the wheelchairs stuck with us after we went into a shop they were still there waiting for us outside when we came out. They indicated that we should sit down and off they drove us again in our Turkish chariots until we wanted to go into another shop and they waited outside again and again even while we sipped apple tea served to us complimentary in one little shop in little fancy delicate glasses. At some point I suddenly thought maybe we’re getting charged per minute or per hour or by distance travelled but after speaking to an English speaking shop owner he reassured us by saying our ride was still on our original 3 Lires. We were thrilled for the luxury of drive around shopping and the store owner suggested a tip of up to 10 lires would be appropriate and very generous of us if we were happy their service. So when they drove us back to the ships entrance we gave them each 20 Lires ($10.Cndn) which was double what the store owner said was much more than their usual daily earnings but to our surprise they complained (in Turkish and in gestures) that it wasn’t enough. It made us feel bad because we knew they were in cahoots together and were likely thrilled but had planned to ask for more no matter what we gave them so what can you do.

They didn’t linger long or protest loudly as we were then within earshot of port and ship officials and they quickly scurried off and so we waved goodbye and boarded our ship.

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