Sunday, November 15, 2009

Turkish People

Turkish people are really cool. First of all, they look so different from each other. Secondly, there is this exotic blend of the east and west: are they European, are they Asian? Secondly, they are very aware of the world outside their shores, which is rather unusual. For instance, Vix and Vinoo attracted a lot of attention due to the star they had on their caps (sourced from Shanghai Tang). People used to inevitably stop them with the enquiry as to whether they are communist. And the relationship was not tracked back to China but Cuba! According to them China is not communist, its rank capitalist! (Try saying that to President Hu) And then there would be a big discussion around the history of communism, the religion of Indians, and the connection between Turkey and India through the silk route, et al. Very informed people.

What was most interesting was that they were so chill that they would take the time to talk to you. After getting used to Hong Kong, where time is evaluated in money terms, this was refreshing and reminiscent of an older more halcyon era where people communicated with each other rather than with their blackberries. Their sense of humour is fantastic. Makes business transactions such a pleasure. Fully enjoyed our spice buying session in a shop in the Spice bazaar, and trinket buying in the Grand Bazaar! The shop owner in the Grand Bazaar told us a lot of stories of his experiences in India (he goes once in 6 months to buy gems from Jaipur), and actually took out his passport and showed us the stamps. Also gave us a crystal bracelet each for good luck after we had concluded the sales. Of course that makes you wonder whether he overcharged you so much that he threw in the bracelets for free out of guilt! That’s the only thing I personally don’t like about Turkey: they love to bargain, and everything must be negotiated. Which always leaves you wondering whether you’ve been taken to the cleaners in every transaction…

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