Warning – Use Caution in This Area of Turkey

No, it’s not that it’s dangerous here, unless you consider an assault on your pocketbook a danger. But it won’t be your Samsung Galaxy smoking – it will be your credit card!

It all started so innocently…

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One moment we were checking out ancient ruins of Ephesus in the area of Kusadasi, on the fertile west coast of Turkey, admiring the remains of beautiful buildings, stone carvings of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, and enjoying a tiny cup of grow-hair-on-your-chest Turkish coffee. And the next, we were being charmed by Mr. Cenk Aknur, of Anaudala, a Turkish rug boutique.

They walked us down the proverbial path, demonstrating to us the age-old rug-weaving technique. Already on the loom, the women knotted and cut the wool with lightening speed, then in slo-mo, so we could actually see what they did! As fast as they worked, even the small carpets still took months to make!

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Next, they showed the technique they used to spin the silk that makes the luxuriously soft silk rugs. We were taken inside to appreciate the various carpets – colors and patterns, wool and silk, large and small, round, runners, you name it. All stunningly beautiful. The quality was literally palpable, as we ran our hands and squished our toes in the pile. One by one, they laid out different rugs. Some they even spun around like a magic carpet to show how the color seemed to change by the direction of the light. Those two poor men must have hoisted and thrown at least 50 carpets at our feet.

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Out came the refreshments! Coffee, beer, wine, raki? (couldn’t pass that up!) Shipping? No problem! It’s free! American Express? Of course! Now my ears perked up!

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Ok, now, I can hear you saying, ‘what were you thinking?!?’ Actually, it was still ok at this point. It wasn’t until I asked (hypothetically, of course) what ‘would one like that cost?’ My fatal error. “Let’s go into this room, where we can talk about it” he said, leading me to a private room. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. My guide intercepted me along the way, offering insight into quality and price and assistance negotiating. (no need, I thought, I’m an old pro.) And my husband joined me after a bit, wondering if we were coming home with a new rug, and where on earth was it going to go?

Now, I’ve made the mistake of making a large purchase overseas in the past and I’ve never lived it down. It wasn’t entirely a mistake, because I have an 8-piece place setting of ceramic dinnerware from Chang Mai, Thailand. And it’s my favorite dinnerware on earth, so not really a mistake. But at the time, I was rather naive and didn’t realize what I was getting into when I placed that order, and I wasn’t about to repeat it this time. The gentleman assured me, however, that it would clear customs without any additional expense, and would eventually make it to my door step in about two months, hopefully by Thanksgiving!

Here’s what I ended up with. I love the natural colors of the wool they used on this one, and it should go perfectly in my house! And we negotiated a great price.

But what was that smoke coming from my purse?

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