It isn’t even the end of the day and I’m starting writing now, as today was long. Good long – really good long – but long.
We are in Cappadocia (Nevsehir) still. We began our tour today with a visit to Göreme’s rock carved churches. The cave was date from 2000BCE, and the churches we saw were around a thousand years old, and quite fascinating. They were very beautiful. Some have only simple drawings in red ink, and others have elaborate pictures of Christ and the Gospels painted on plaster covers. The ones that had human figures, you could see, have been disfigured somewhat by the Muslims that came through that reason. The reason they do that, by the way, is because it is a sin to paint/sculpt/etc the human figure. To undo this, the entire figure must be removed, or just the eyes, as removing gthe eyes kills the soul of the picture.
We were allowed to wander around for quite some time, and I went a little camera happy. I also found a lovely bracelet for a friend, and the young man who sold it to me pinned a blue eye on me. The blue eye is supposed to be protection against the Evil Eye. I got three today. More on that later.
After this, we stopped at a photo stop, and I wandered around one of the shops. Another man pinned an eye on me.
We then proceeded to the Turkish Carpet Center. Now this, I found very interesting, as my grandmother had a large collection of antique turkish rugs, and a friend of mine also has a house filled with antique carpets. Here, not only did we get to see how they are made, the different types of carpet, and (were supposed to learn) what they’re called. Sadly, I have little memory for the latter, but I did learn the types and – after some discussion, some flattery, and what may or may not have been groping – we bought two.
So, during this tour we first saw the ladies who weave the carpets. Fun fact: if you have ever heard of a rug that was made with a double or single knot, they do not actually double knot them. I they knotted them, they would wear out faster. After the making of the rug, where our guide also spoke about the types of rug (eg., wool on wool, wool on cotton, and silk on silk) and the importance of knots per cm/inch, we were led into the next room where we were shown how silk is produced – that is, from boiling silk worms. Ever wonder what they do with the worms after? Well, from beginning to end, silk worms are collected in their cocoons. They can produce around 2000 feet of thread. 25 steam of that are woven together, and then four of those to make a single thread of the string used in carpets (which, believe me, is still not that thick), they are, however, very strong. Fun fact: silk thread can be used to cut marble.
So, the guide asked for a volunteer and a woman next to him volunteered. He mentioned silk thread would be strong enough to cut off her finger, and she rescinded her volunteering. I stepped up. He put his arm around me, and moved me to his other side.
Now, see, this is where I began to get the distinct impression that Turkish men are worse/better than Italians. Italian men are gropey, and the younger ones are especially clumsy in their groping. I am still unsure whether or not this gentleman was touching me like, you know, a gentleman, or if he was subtly coping a feel. It didn’t make me feel uncomfortable particularly, but see I have a very weird relationship to physical touching. I don’t like women touching me, but men don’t bother me quite so much, so long as they are gentle and gentlemanly about it. Sort of. Like I said, it is weird (aside: I should clarify that I would not let a stranger feel me up if he was nice about it). Anyways, so he brushed the bottom of my back once, and the front of my chest like one would if their hand was falling from a person’s shoulder, or passing in front of you from handing you something – which is was – so no big deal. He hugged me around the waist and congratulated me for being such a good sport. The hug was very close, and when he let go, his hand brushed again. He then showed us into the next room, where he showed us lots of different types of rug, which was very interesting to see. There was one silk rug that was around 6m squared that cost – swear to god – 19,000USD. Seriously. Took almost two years to make, with 169 threads per square centimeter, I believe. So, not just a rug; a piece of art. This is the kind of rug you hang like a painting. Legit.
So he showed us everything, and then showed us the crazy expensive silk one, which is when i knelt beside him to see. Like a true salesman, he was all smiles. He then allowed us to wander around and see all the different types of rug for ourselves. Basically, it was an invitation to shop. And shop we did. My grandmother, being my grandmother, went to talk to him, and spoke of her various rugs, of which there are many. One, I think, is worth more than my entire university education, which is either impressive of scary. I am not sure which. This, of course, impressed him, and she mentioned I had been admiring the silks. He offered to take us personally to the silk storeroom, which is more like an art gallery, to show us a few. For our consideration.
There was one that I had fallen in love with in the other room – it is basically a picture of birds of paradise in a tree done in very, very fine silk. Again, this is the type of thing you hang on the wall, not drop in the floor. It was beautiful. He showed us a few more, but this one was the one I was seriously eying. During his pitch – an equal balance of an appeal to me and to my grandmother, though flattering her through flattering me – he kept hugging me, and brushing up against me. Not so one would notice; if I’d been in jeans, or a thicker shirt, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. But I was in tights, and a cotton camisole and thin cotton top, so I felt it, but it wasn’t intrusive. It was so gentle I could associate it with just passing over me as he moved around. Thing was, he didn’t do the same to grandma. He didn’t get nearly as close. Hence my confusion.
Anyways, he left, giving my grandmother a kiss on the hand, and me a kiss on the hand and a hug, and another salesman finished with us. Grandma asked me if I liked it, and I said I loved it, but I couldn’t begin to afford it, and so she bought it for me. It is beautiful.
I also spoke to the gentleman, and bought a prayer rug for beside my bed. Not even close to a quarter of the price of the one she bought me to hang, but still very nice. It has a nice thick pile and once I put a sticky pad underneath, it will be perfect for chilly mornings.
Well, we are going to be heading out in just a few minutes, so I will finish today’s story here for now. I will continue it on the bus on our way back from the Turkish culture show.