So when I thought of the Grand Bazaar, I had visions of the Disney movie Aladdin. I envisioned, wrongly, people plying their wares like individual infomercials calling out features of their products in five languages and so on. Well, I was partially correct, but mainly wrong.
The guys (I didn’t see that many women trying to encourage me to shop at their shops) spoke several different languages and would greet me in about four of them. I tried to become Spanish, but then they switched to Spanish like changing a gear in a car they’d driven for years. I tried every trick in the book to blend in, but I soon discovered that few Turks actually shopped at the Grand Bazaar. But I digress.
The Grand Bazaar was established by Mehmet II following his conquering of the city in 1453. I liken the Grand Bazaar to the biggest flea market I have ever been to. I joked to a few folks from
As soon as you enter the Bazaar, you are greeted by the smell of people and the buzz of electricity as people bargain. Walking around trying to get my bearings, I got hopelessly disoriented and found the same row of shops over and over again until I found my way around. But I did make some friends. Some guy named Mehmo helped me find a pair of jeans, and I became John Clark, a Californian who lives in
While hard bargaining is not my forte, I got suckered into buying a pair of "designer" jeans because the guy I was negotiating with met my price after I tried the pants on. But they are a nice pair of pants. I can’t wait to go back. The hustle and bustle and energy is contagious, and I want to try my hand at bargaining again--but I will bargain harder this time.