Published on December 2nd, 2013 | by Ann Rickard1
If you haven’t been lured into doing something you had no intention of doing or going somewhere you didn’t want to be during your travels, then lucky you.
We like to think we’re experienced travellers but we’ve succumbed to the lure.
“We are already well carpet-educated,”
There was that time in Phuket when we got roped into sitting for three hours in a hotel conference room with a pushy bloke selling time share. He got us there by having a stooge on the street who promised free drinks if we just “dropped into that big hotel over there and picked up some brochures to take home to Australia”. (He didn’t lie, there were free drinks: watered-down lemonade.)
Then there was another time we were lured into receiving a spot of “carpet education” in a casbah. I can’t remember where it was but I do remember labyrinthine streets crammed cheek-by-jowl with carpet shops, each one with a swarthy bloke standing at the door, cigarette dangling from the mouth, enticing us in for tea and carpet education.
When you are inside such a carpet shop, your host having sat you down carefully among a squillion beautifully displayed rugs, a tray of sweet mint tea on its way to you, you feel an uneasy obligation to stay a while and be carpet-educated.
“How did we get lured in here?” you might silently ask as the tea is poured and a gaggle of people appear from behind rolls of carpets and begin unfurling them on the floor in front of you.
You nod seriously, sip the oversweet tea and make appreciative murmurs about the wonder of the loom, the quality of the weave, the standard of the dye, the marvel of thread.
You gasp at the exhausting number of hours it takes to make just one rug and pretend to believe in the merits of a genuine Turkish rug over a fake one, all the while searching your mind for a suitable way out of the situation without spending several thousand dollars on a rug you don’t want.
So, when we toured the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul earlier this year, we resisted the many calls to step inside a carpet shop.
“We are already well carpet-educated,” we told the hundreds of men standing in doorways beckoning us in with offers of bargains and love. Instead we let ourselves be led into the leather shops for sweet tea and leather education