Monday, October 10, 2011

Istanbul 3

Not many pictures from today, but plenty of memories and STUFF!

We got up early and headed back to the Grand Bazaar to wheel and deal after grabbing a quick coffee and pastry (we learned our lesson with the weird lasagne the last time!). On our list for the day were treats for our offices back in Mexico, gifts for family and friends, and GOLD! Autumn's birthday gift this year was a spending free-for-all for one new piece of jewelry. We browsed, got lost, turned around and tracked down all shopped 'til we dropped.

The jewelry stores were out-of-control-crazy-stuffed with glittering diamonds and gold. Our first inquiry turned out to be a $4000+ diamond ring that was a little out of our price range, but we finally found a reasonable shop, and Autumn even haggled them down to a lower price. We got served tea as a reward for her bargaining skills and chatted with the owner while another guy ran off to go have the ring sized. The owner let us know that the high price of gold was ruining his business and that India is the second largest consumer of gold and jewelry in the world, which lit up Autumn's eyes with delight. For those of you keeping track, Italy is number one and Turkey is number three. We finished our tea, paid and moved on to the next shoportunity.

We picked up a few other items including a 100% genuine magic lamp and then went on to shop for some artwork. We found a great store right away, but wanted to check out our other options. After more browsing, we went back to the first place and started negotiations. The sales guy we were talking to gave us a price of $1200 Turkish lira for the picture we were looking at, but the guy we talked to that morning had said it was only $800 TL. I casually mentioned this and he glared at the first guy and said, "He doesn't know what he's talking about! He works in the jewelry department!" (NOTE: This store only sold art, no jewels). So, we said, "Ok, oh well," and then he was like, "I guess I could sell it for that." Score again for haggling!

That last transaction pretty much wore us out, so we left the bazaar and stopped for our last doner kebab before going back to the room to pack up and get ready to leave. Our car picked us up, and drove though the vertical cliff-alleys / cobblestone "streets" of Istanbul back to the airport. Our final Turkish purchase was a surprisingly great travel book on India at Duty Free.

Unfortunately, our strike of the day in Greece was the air traffic controllers, so our flight was delayed a few hours. When we finally got back to Athens, we headed straight to bed to rest up for our Peloponnese road trip the next day.

 Doner kebab rollup!

 NOTE:  Taco flavored Doritos are apparently a Turkish specialty that is not available in Mexico

Even the parking pre-pay machines at the airport were on strike in Athens! 
Pretty much par for the course there.

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