Sunday, June 27, 2010

Efes and Kuşadası: "Come on, Joanne! HUSTLE!"

The 'coach' and his flock in the theatre
In the morning, we took a cab to Ephesus in time to see it open. As the first bus arrived, the tempo began to pick up. One tour leader was even yelling at his party like a football coach with his team a few yards from the goal on the third down: "Come on, Joanne! HUSTLE!" [And, poor Joanne was in, or just coming out of, the washroom for that beauty -- I kid you not.] Turns out that he was the preacher of a prayer group that wanted to have a sermon or lesson in the theatre before the crowds started going through. [And they did make it, for the most part: I think they were winding it up as we went through.]

The library
The theatre
After that, we did a bit of shopping. We learned how Turkish carpets are made, and even bought one. We're hoping it won't cost too much to carry it back on our flight. [It didn't cost us anything, in the end: I took it on our BA flight as a second piece of hand luggage -- Thank goodness we weren't flying a discount airline.]

We spent the afternoon in Kuşadası. [While many of the shop owners were overly aggressive, this tailed off the farther we got from the port. One of these owners was a bit philosophical about it, saying that most of them don't understand that they'll get a lot more business if they just lay back, like him. We chatted for some time, enjoyed some Turkish tea with him, and, importantly, spent more money in that shop than in the rest of the afternoon's shopping combined.] Afterwards, Stephen and I enjoyed a replay of the American loss to Ghana at the World Cup over pints -- Efes Pilsener is excellent, incidentally -- on a great misted patio, while the girls continued to shop.

One of the waiters was an absolute riot: he had this big belly, always smiling and jovial. He'd take my hat and wear it in goofy positions, and yell into our walkie-talkies like the other handset was on the moon. The funniest part was how he kept patting Stephen's not inconsiderable belly: he didn't speak much English, so it's difficult to say for certain, but I suspect that this had as much to do with his personality as any cultural differences. Stephen took it all in stride, laughing and shrugging.

As we were heading back to the ship, a pastry shop caught our eye. Later, our fingers sticky with the sugary goodness of baklava, we reflected on what a surprise the stop had been: I don't think any of us knew what to expect, but to enjoy ourselves that much, particularly after all we'd seen to that point, really says something about Turkey and its people, I think.

Up next: Athens

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