Thursday, October 21, 2010

A 6-S-ful Holiday


We have had a good holiday so far, in spite of some rain and a bad cold.  We had more than a week of sun, sand and sea, enjoyed swimming, sleeping and SHOPPING.  Turkey is a shopper’s paradise, especially in the tourist areas, starting with the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul where you go for gold and silver jewelry and for carpets.  The resort area of the Mediterranean coast on both sides of Antalya is wall to wall resorts close to the ocean and wall to wall shops “across the street” like a giant strip mall that runs for miles and miles. 

In our area, the vast majority of tourists are Russian or Ukrainian and every shopkeeper speaks Russian, though I did find a couple who also spoke English.  The stores feature the products for which Turkey has a reputation and a commercial advantage.  Leather and furs; textiles such as towels and related, clothing such as jeans and related; grocery stores selling fresh fruit, tea, coffee and Turkish Delight; souvenir shops with everything from water pipes to hand carved chess sets and restaurants selling real Turkish food for when the resort buffet starts to look the same day after day.

Valya and Elena, from Mariupol, had come on the same flight as we did and also stayed at our resort, so we had someone else besides ourselves to talk to for the first week.  Tanya and the two “girls” hit it off immediately.  Tanya spent the week with them, shopping up and down the street, about 1 km in each direction.  And I didn’t have to go.  Best part.  They harassed, cajoled, terrorized, flirted and negotiated with the Turkish men in all the shops along the way (Turkish women are rare in retail) driving the hardest bargains they could.  Because it is end of season, bargains can be had.

They found Turkish bath and massage at half the price of our hotel.  They found Ali who will pay us $50 per liter bottle of good Ukrainian vodka next time we come (we can bring four bottles between the two of us).  They found a tour to Pamukkale at $18 under the price quoted by reputable tour companies. 

Tanya found a lovely leather coat that started at $2000 but quickly came down to $600.  By dint of tough bargaining Tanya got it down to $450, after several trips to several stores, playing one against the other.  I went with her when she drove the final bargain and paid for the coat.  The store did alterations on the spot; including an extra button hole for which no matching button could then be found.  Another $10 had to come off the price and there was no backing down on Tanya’s part.

I said to the guy, who also spoke excellent English that eventually Tanya would give him money and go away but I was with her forever.  He laughed at that.  

Tanya, Elena and Valya: Shopaholics Unanimous

12 comments:

  1. While your beloved Tanya is a charm, indeed, I would not want to be doing business with her. She'd probably want everything at least $100. under cost.

    She is, however, a tonic for your pocket book.

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  2. I admire women who know how to haggle.

    I just read a book about neo-Nazis in Germany, and went on Youtube to see if I could find the guy who wrote the book. Low and behold, there were all these (recent) Russian neo-Nazi films in which they beat, shot, and beheaded foreigners. I wondered if maybe these Hitler fans were a bit weak on their WWII history. Russian fascism, I could understand, but Russian neo-Nazi fascism!

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  3. RB, all it means is that it takes longer to spend it all.

    Snowbrush, there are so called neo-Nazis in USA and Canada too. I really haven't studied Nazi philosophy nor ideology enough to know how "NAZI" they are or if they are just xenophobic thugs.

    Putin has been encouraging nationalism in a big way.

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  4. Of course, there are Nazis here, but Nazis regard everyone who is not an Aryan (an Aryan being a western European from the higher latitudes) as a member of an inferior race who is good for nothing but involuntary servitude. This would include most Russians, but it would not include Canadians and Americans of "Aryan" ancestry.

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  5. In that sense the Russian neo-Nazi's would view any race but Russian the way the German Nazi's viewed anyone who wasn't Aryan. Lovely chaps.

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  6. But they adore Hitler! Students are advised to stay on campus--and in their rooms as much as possible--on Hitler's birthday. Yet, Hitler planned to enslave them. I just don't get it. Fascistic Russians, I can understand, but neo-Nazi fascistic Russians strikes me as an oxymoron.

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  7. I meant that foreign students are advised to stay on campus.

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  8. The issue you're missing, Snowbrush, is that both Communism and Fascism are dictatorships.

    We often think of "right" and left" as being on a line. In fact, they're on a circle. And ultimately, right-wing dictatorship and left-wing dictatorship meet on the circle.

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  9. They ignore the fact that Hitler would have murdered 1/3 of all Slavs, enslaved 1/3 and driven the remaining 1/3 behind the Urals.

    They love him because he hated Jews, Gays, Gypsies, miscellaneous types such as mentally infirm and all the other people that they hate and would like to kill such as people from the Caucasus, Muslims etc.

    These people serve Putin well in that they can be turned loose on anyone he considers a threat, but leave the Kremlin in the clear.

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  10. Actually, Rob-bear, I'm quite aware that both systems are dictatorships.

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  11. Blog Fodder said: "They ignore the fact that Hitler would have murdered 1/3 of all Slavs, enslaved 1/3 and driven the remaining 1/3 behind the Urals."

    Or maybe they're just that ignorant. Also, neo-Nazis are infamous for rewriting history, and then elevating their rewrite to the level of holy writ that no worthy comrade would ever dare to question.

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