Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Turkey Diaries: Day 3 - Wednesday 16 September 2009

You've heard the saying 'shop till you drop' and nowhere is it more true than this morning in Icmeler. The weather is very hot again, and it's a long walk (or feels like it) to the market up the back of town. For it's Wednesday, and that means market day. If the shopping experience so far had been an eye-opener, where the most minimal eye contact kicks off the selling game (and boy can they sell, sell, sell) then Icmeler market is more of the same on a much grander scale.

You could be forgiven for thinking you've been dropped into a market in London rather than Turkey, with all the "lovely jubbly" and "cheap as chips" stallholders banter doing the rounds. It's a good laugh, but it can become quite stressful as you run the gauntlet while everyone tries to outdo each other at selling bags and designer clothes and football tops. Would I even dare to suggest that much of the merchandise on offer may just, allegedly, be of a fake nature.....! It was funny to see the police raiding a couple of stalls for selling fakes - they could have a very long job ahead of them :) The trick of course is to make your fakes look fake - why buy a Chanel bedspread when you can buy a 'Channel' bedspread? Or jeans by 'Viktoria Beckham'?

I didn't take any pictures inside the market as it was just far too congested, and after a while we got overwhelmed by it all.

On our way back down into town we passed the mosque: and at that very moment the call to prayer began, which we heard a few times on this holiday and which was yet another example of being in a totally different culture from our own.

After lunch we finally find a park where we can sit and get some shade for a while.
Back early to the hotel, because this afternoon there was something very special happening: the Turkish bath. Until recently I wasn't aware of what this was all about, but one of the girls from work came back from a holiday in Turkey and completely sold it to me.

We booked this trip yesterday and this afternoon we headed off by mini-bus to a hotel complex in Marmaris, for our experience of the Hamam to give it its proper name.

As this one was aimed at tourists it was a communal experience rather than being segregated into male and female sections, and also the scrub, wash and massage in this instance was done by men. I enjoyed it very much....!!!!

Firstly there is the sauna - I haven't been to a sauna for years, but faithful travelling companion has never ever been to one so it was a totally new experience. You are then taken to another room and you lie down on a big marble slab where you are given a very invigorating scrub down and then washed with soapy bubbles. After this we got some time in the pool before the final part which was the oil massage which was just fabulous!!! After that there was a little more time to unwind beside the pool before being taken back to Icmeler.

On our return, faithful travelling companion decided to try another typically Turkish experience: a Turkish shave! There are countless hairdressers in Icmeler offering this traditional razor shave, but let me say it's quite traumatic to watch it being done, and I was hoping and praying that nobody sneezed or had any sudden distractions!

The Masala restaurant is our destination for dinner tonight. Rather uniquely it does both Indian and Chinese food, we opted for Indian tonight and very good it was too. Can't remember what street it's on, but it is across the road from the Love Boat restaurant which is posh and pricey.

No partying for us tonight, we stop off for a beer before retiring for the night. I am not a beer drinker, but the local beer (Efes) is pretty agreeable for non-beer-drinkers.

Next instalment coming soon.

No comments: