Hey Lady! Guidebook! Only One Lira!

May 9, 2011 at 9:24 am 1 comment

No matter where we go in Turkey, one thing is a constant: Someone is always trying to sell us something. Most of the major sights—whether it’s the Blue Mosque in Istanbul or the ruins at Ephesus—have vendor stands nearby, where you can buy things like evil eyes (a Turkish amulet intended to ward off evil spirits) and scarves and key chains.

Even when we get off the bus in some relatively rural location, like the ruins of the Temple of Diana in the town of Selçuk, vendors appear out of nowhere bearing guide books, strips of postcards (“One lira, one lira”), old coins, and wooden flutes. They are very persistent—you can shake your head “no” and they’ll still follow you as you keep walking.

(The photo above is of one of the Penn State travelers, Carol Buettger ’58, doggedly attempting to ignore a postcard vendor at the Temple of Diana ruins.)

At dinner at an outdoor café along the waterfront in Izmir the other night, we saw strolling vendors hawking everything from cigarettes and cigars to some sort of weird blinking thingie that looked like a bow tie—the idea was to wear it on your head. Presumably this would be after consuming three or four Efes Pilsens.

One afternoon when we were relaxing aboard our gulets (yachts) off the southern coast of Turkey, a small motorboat approached, and it turned out to be vendors trying to sell blankets. An hour or so later, another guy in a motorboat came up in hopes of selling us ice cream. According to the advertising posterboard he carried with him, he even had three flavors of Ben & Jerry’s—but when I pointed to them, he said with an apologetic shrug, “Only Chunky Monkey.”

The next morning, the same boat that was offering blankets came around again, this time with one person on board cooking pancakes and the other person selling them.

Oh, and outside the ruins at Ephesus, one of the stands proudly advertised “Genuine Fake Watches.”

Tina Hay, editor

Entry filed under: Alumni Association. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

The Ruins at Ephesus Tina Almost Buys a Turkish Carpet

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