Life in ~Turkey

Fri 20 May 2011 15:47
39:35.1N   26:54.9E   Akcay
39:29.2N   26:20.5E   Assos
Istanbul was great.  The Turkish people bend over backwards to help you, I hope we can do that well for tourists when we host the Olympic Games.  We looked at a few carpets on the basis that Jen & Ben might like one for a wedding present.  Itâs very confusing!! The carpet sellers all have the same patter, something on the lines of:  âCome in, treat this as your home.  Please have some tea.  I do not view you as a customer, you are my friend.  You must not trust any of the other carpet sellers because they are all crooks.â  They did actually teach us loads about carpets but made us realise how little we know! 
We left to drive across the Bosphorus and down to the West coast, which got a bit depressing, rather like the Black Sea coast of Ukraine, nasty developments for miles on end.  Last night did not get off to a good start.  We ended up in Akcay and couldnât find the campsite on the map, the sky went black and it rained cats and dogs, so we checked into the first hotel we came to, overlooking a building site.  They quoted us a price which turned out to be per person, you couldnt swing a cat in the room, the internet didnt work, their restaurant was closed and they wouldnt take dollars.  Apart from that it was fab.  The chap redeemed himself by doing a rather eloquent introduction, which involved kissing my hand, then dipping his forehead to touch my hand.  Not sure what is the correct way to respond to that, I must try to find out.
Still on the carpet trail, we stopped in the market town of Ayvacik and visited DOBAG, a carpet cooperative that sells hand made carpets made in villages by local women.  Each village has its own sign and the carpets contain the signature of the makers, mostly in gorgeous blues and reds.  Dobag was started by a German chemist who analysed the natural and synthetic dyes used, taught the technology he learned to the locals and helped them set up the cooperative (according to Lonely Planet) and apparently this has radically affected the Turkish carpet industry.
Tonight we are in Assos, a picture perfect fishing village with many fish restaurants but no nasty developments.  We have pitched our tent in a car park with possibly the best view in the world, overlooking the Aegean and the Island of Lesbos.  We cant get the car out of the car park as there are now 6 cars backed up behind it, but thats a good excuse to stay here for a while.  If we can get out tomorrow we will go and look at the Gallipoli graves.