Last night, while looking for an internet cafe, a carpet shop owner let me use his computer. I told him that I wasn't interested in buying carpets and he didn't try to sell me any. While chatting I told him that I was Serbian by background and once I was finished using his computer, he took me to meet his Serbian friend. Coincidentally, she happend to be married to the owner of the hotel I'm staying at. We talked for a bit and now I seem to be getting pretty good treatment there.
In the morning I decided to walk around Selcuk. This town is built on top of ruins! There's an old aqueduct running straight through the city, and a castle and St. John Basilica on a nearby hill. The basilica is where St. John the Apostle is said to be buired. Also, within the town border, are the ruins of Temple of Artemis, one of the seven ancient wonders. There's nothing but a column left standing, but still it is quite a feeling to be on the ancient site.
Ephesus, which is within walking distance of Selcuk. I went there with a bus though, part of the tour package I purchased in Istanbul. The bus picked me up at 9:30 along with six others doing the same tour. A couple from the U.S., another from the Czech Republic and a mother and daughter from Australia. I didn't get to talk to them much during the tour as I was running around the ruins of Ephesus like mad, taking lots of photos. But we did talk lots later, as the tour was finishing up.
Ephesus was just incredible. A lot of the ruins are still very much intact. It was like going back in time. There are streets, two theatres, a library (which is said to be the third biggest in antiquity), temples and tombs. I took over 300 photos at this site. We had a guide as part of the tour, but I'm afriad I didn't listen to very much, I was just in awe of the site. At the exit the locals put on a play of ancient times for free.
Just like in India, no tour is complete without some marketing. Our tour guide took us to a carpet shop where they shed some interesting information on carpet making followed by a bit of a sales pitch. It was interesting to see them spinning silk from the slikworm cacoons, but I wasn't sold and neither were my touring friends.
We then went to the top of a nearby hill which is believed to be the site where the Virgin Mary was taken by John the Apostle and where she lived out the rest of her life. The site is very beautiful, surrounded by lots of trees and very isolated. It was a refreshing stop after the busy ruins of Ephesus.
After that it was another sales pitch, this time it was interactive. We were taken to a "fashion show" where models displayed the latest in Turkish leather goods. Half way through the show I was asked to participate. Wearing a stylish leather jacket I made my way down the runway to the laughs of my touring friends and "I'm too sexy" by Right Said Fred playing in my head. There are some photos and if I get them, I will post them. We were then taken to a leather shop where they tried to sell us jackets at 600-900 dollars. Right!
Now I'm back in town. I spent a little bit of time watching locals play backgammon and then made my way to this internet cafe. So far this is my favorite place in Turkey.