Tea and a show
There are some unique things about this part of the world and how they do things. For example, I needed some rope to mark off some pits, etc on an existing location. Off I went to the Sanayii ( industrial area) of Kesan. I went to a general hardware store I’ve been to several times with lots of assorted goods, including 3 or 4 sizes of rope. That store is a story in itself. It is completely lined with shelves from floor to ceiling all filled to overflowing with stuff. The otherwise clear floor space has aisle type shelving 4’ high likewise filled to overflowing with stock. Hand tools, power tools, drills, calipers, welding equipment fasteners, cable, and all manner of other hardware items. All a little warren of aisles and stock. There is only one aisle in the store wide enough for two people to pass comfortably- right in front of the main counter. All others in the store are single lane only. A couple you have to back out of if you walk into. At some point, they decided their premises were too crowded and they rented a store front two doors down and proceeded to fill it with other goods like hoses, pumps, pipe fittings (all low pressure and either plastic or galvanized). The second store has no cash, and is often unmanned. It is monitored by CCTV cameras located high up on the walls and displayed in the main store.
Because I’ve been there before, the clerk that speaks some English bustled out from behind a shelf and did his level best to help me. With the English he knows and the few words of Turkish I’ve picked up we usually determine what I need, whether or not they have it, and what it might cost. I selected a braided rope of about 8 mm (3.8”) dia. With my admittedly limited Turkish, I managed to ask how much it cost. The reply set me back somewhat. “25 Lira per kilo”. Per Kilo?!?? Really??!? Yes, really. Well how many meters per kilo? I don’t know. I will ask my boss. He says approximately 30 – 35 meters per kilo. Well, I need 200 m. Out came the calculator and an estimate was punched up. After the estimate calculated and agreed to, the show started. The manager of the store called for assistants and had them tote the spool of rope outside onto the sidewalk. Meanwhile, the assistant with the smattering of English brought me Chai to drink while my order was filled.
The little crew commenced to take a short tape measure (5 m if I recall), and mark off 50 m on the sidewalk. They laid two loops between the two lines off the spool to make 200 m. After cutting 200 m off the spool, they carefully coiled up the rope in a large, loose coil and tied it off with twine. Then they brought the rope into the store, cleared off the old style balance scale and then the argument broke out about where the weights for the scale were. All Turks speak loudly and rapidly. If two Canadians spoke to each other like these guys do, I’d be changing into my striped shirt and reaching for a whistle.... Finally, the weights were located, the rope coil weighed, and a lengthy explanation given of how to put it down with the knots in the twine securing the coil on top and uncoil it in this direction just so to keep from tangling it. I finished my Chai, paid up, and opened the hatch of the car so one of the assistants could load the coil and the other small items I’d bought, and fled.
For those who don't know, this is what 1 1/2 kilo of rope looks like...
Surprisingly, barbed wire is sold by the Kilo too. Not in the 80 rod roll like at home. Asking how many meters is likely to net you a blank stare. The shop keepers in the two shops I asked didn’t know, even roughly, how many meters were in a 20 kilo roll of wire.