If you have seen my post about the Calis Beach market, you know that it’s big bad elder brother, the Tuesday Fethiye Market is something that you won’t be able to get away from during your time in the resort. The Tuesday that we went exploring the Fethiye market, the mercury had reached a boiling 38°C and we were getting right royally roasted, even during the short walk from the bus stop into the “tent city” that the market is.
The market was abuzz with activity as we stepped into it. We would have gone but five steps when I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye and the very next second a hawker, who I could swear wasn’t there two seconds ago, jumped out of the shadows and nearly grabbed the missus. She then launched into a sales patter in broken english about how her dodgy looking astrological beads were world famous and that we must buy one each for love, wealth and relationships in life. We tried to thank her politely and move on but the woman was on a mission that day. After five minutes of saying no to her and not making her very happy about it, and edging slowly towards the next stall, we got ready to do a runner. All of a sudden the hawker stopped, looked over our shoulder, beamed out a big smile – showcasing teeth that clearly hadn’t seen a dentist in years, and vanished behind us. Curious, we turned around to see what’s happening and she had already latched on to an elderly couple that were clearly as shocked as we were a few minutes ago.
We moved on quickly lest she changed her mind. Few more stalls passed us by. Some of the freshest fruits and vegetables I’ve ever seen. I bought some dates and the missus bought some cherries and honey roasted nuts. She was going on about buying a leather handbag (“you know baby, the reeaallyy original ones from Turkey!”), but the Indian genes in me would have none of it. Too many fake Chinese made “original Parker pens” in my childhood have made me very cynical indeed. We had a look at a bunch of clearly fake leather hand bags before I convinced her to purchase one from a sale back in the UK. I spent the next ten minutes distracting her from the eager leather goods shopkeepers we suddenly seemed to be attracting, while trying to calculate the quickest route out of the place.
Another interesting aspect of Turkish shop life is that of offering free tea to a prospective customer. The idea is to make one feel obliged to buy something from the shop. I can be ruthlessly shameless when I want to be and some of those shopkeepers who wouldn’t take no for an answer when forcibly offering us tea, pretty much regretted it afterwards. A half hour long chat about the local culture and places to see, about families and friends, plenty of tea and no purchase at the end of it. Serve them right to feign friendliness 😀
All in all, it is an experience worth having. However, it does take some amount of social intelligence to make the most of the situations that present themselves there and I can see many folks getting flustered and disillusioned by the experience. Don’t worry, treat it like a game, take nothing seriously and remember that you are there to have fun! That’s what the locals do.
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