Monday, April 02, 2007

ISTANBUL | April's Fool Day

Today is April's Fool Day, isn't it? This may be why it's happening to me of all days. Mercury is in retrograde, as they say in astrological terms.

There is a strategy employed by some of the businessmen in Istanbul. They accost you, ask questions about you, where you are from, make small talk, and the most persistent of them suddenly act as your guide, offer to bring you to the Blue Mosque, the nearest tram station or whatever you need, and before you know it - they have led you to their shop, and they offer you tea, more chit chat - and you suddenly have the feeling that you are not leaving the store before you buy something.

So I'm a lot poorer in cash but with a kilim of Kurdish design that I rather like. Still, I could have lived without regret without it. I'm just going to write it off as a Turkish souvenir for myself - as well as a lesson.

Perhaps falling prey to skillful Turkish sellers is part of the travel experience? In a foreign country, where your previous knowledge and skills are put to the test - you come face to face with your limitations: that you are really not that streetwise or sharp as you have assumed. Well, I know that. I've always been more book-smart than street-smart. I need to keep my guards up and learn to ask questions. Just asking a few important questions actually told me one of the guys following us was bluffing. Why didn't I think to ask questions earlier?

April's Fool, as they say.


Anonymous said...

Not only do you have a sounvenir you have a story to go along with it!

darkorpheus said...

That's true! At least I have a story to tell - and that's always fun. :)