Day 7 (lunch time)
Temperature: 16 degreesWeather: warm sunny day =======================
From the motor coach, the magnificent views of snowcapped Mount Erciyes, also known as White Mountain, were seen all the way to a large building where the motor coach came to a full stop. I was happy at least to be able to take pictures of the Mount without any hassle and hustle of the bus constant movements.
Interestingly and according to history, Mount Erciyes, a volcano heavily eroded, may have erupted as recently as 253 BC as depicted on Roman era coins. "No immediate danger for it erupting now" I said to myself while thinking about this morning's bird omen as I followed Daghan inside the building.
We were at a Turkish Carpet Center! A representative who spoke excellent English and looked quite sharp with his clean brush cut and black suit on welcomed us in. Daghan introduced him as being another distant cousin making us laugh in the process! No resemblance here!
We were ushered to a room where several women of various age groups were busy weaving colorful carpets of different sizes and patterns while sitting comfortably on padded cushion benches. Some of these hand-made rugs were in silk, others in wool or in cotton.
Introductions once finished, the representative went on explaining to us the process of carpet weaving. Demonstrations were given, questions were asked and we all walked around observing the women weave their masterpieces. Sitting down myself, I even tried to weave one, unsuccessfully of course but at least I can say that I tried!
In another room, we were demonstrated the process of silk-making which turned out to be quite interesting because, I confess, I knew absolutely nothing about! Cocoons were placed in a large water tray in preparation for unraveling which afterwards, a single thread was formed. Several of these threads were then combined together and with the help of the spinning machine, simultaneously created a strand of silk from these cocoons.
So for once, I listened attentively to all of the details given about the process. I even held a cocoon in my hand…… until I found out that silkworms were inside them. Yerk! Needless to say, I didn’t held it very long as I quickly threw it back into the basket with an air of disgust! I was quickly reassured however that the silkworms were dead from having been previously placed in ovens which killed them without damaging the silk of the cocoons.
I must have been the guinea pig of the group because once again, I was the lucky person selected….at least I thought I was…..and told by the representative that if I was able to break a single silk thread, I would be the proud owner of a silk carpet….a small one of course, free from the factory!
Hurrah! I was the envy of everyone around…..I was ecstatic… “Nothing to it”, I said to myself while thinking which carpet to choose and which room back home to place it into! This is how much sure of myself I was!
Feeling quite confident, the silk thread was given to me! Everyone was looking…this should be an easy task! And then I tried to break it! No luck! Tried again by bracing myself! Several more attempts were made without any success! Was this a trick? Was I fooled into believing that I could do it! Quite disappointed, I handed the thread back while seeing my dream carpet fly away.
No, this wasn’t a trick! This is how strong the silk thread was. Unbreakable! He should have asked Michel or maybe, they purposely chose only the small people in order not to give any carpets away! Michel laughingly said that I was a bad looser! :-(
The factory showroom looked like a huge gymnasium and had many beautiful hand-made rugs all around it, different sizes, different colors, different material, and of course….different prices! We all sat around the room on wooden benches. Lunch was included, our treat from the factory (now was there a catch here) which comprised of Turkish pizza (much to my delight but not for Michel), and a hot beverage. And then, the show started.
Carpets with displayed one by one on the centered floor! We all gasped at the beauty of them. Now, no pressure buying! I was ecstatic, I wanted one! A silk one for that matter! The show continued for a good half an hour in which afterwards, we all got up and wandered around admiring them.
From that time forward, many salespersons were in the room following us around. Since I had expressed an interest in one particular silk rug, a salesman was determined to sell me one no matter what the cost as he followed me everywhere I went. Now…no high-pressure tactics here!
Well, I did fell in love with a beautiful small silk carpet but I had a price set in my mind which I even increased to a maximum of 1,000 US$, the total amount that I was willing to spend.......but the carpet being 4,000 US$, regardless of its beauty and since they didn’t want to bargain…...I did not buy it. At least, I had my picture taken with it and sure enough….I was pleased with that! Michel was now able to breathe! It was 1:30pm when we left the shop.