Whenever you go to a new(ish?) city, state, or country…there are many new things to try! Food, culture, language, or maybe just slang; there are many new things to explore. But, by far, one of the most important things is
You know what I’m saying! For example, when I moved from South Carolina to Florida, I was able to shop at Forever 21 for the first time (even though that store is now around in my home state, it wasn’t as prevalent at the time). While a new mall and shops from state to state are exciting,I had never seen anything quite as different as experiencing the shopping style in Turkey.
For instance, apparently those shouts coming from the street weren’t fights or greetings, but people selling things. From fish to oranges, carpets to sheets, cleaning products to dishes, the street merchants have it all. If you are at all familiar with Turkey, you know how certain merchants tend to specialize…and the same is true for your neighborhood satıcılar. You really have no need to run down the street to your local BiM or migros for that one thing you forgot to pick up. They’ll make their rounds to your door eventually.
Oh, but when you do go out…there’s the
Not all pazars are created equal, and not all sell the same things. let me tell you about the three kinds of pazars I have experienced so far. For all of these pazars, one overlying rule applies: count your change ;).
If not the most important pazar, it is one of my favorites. While shopping for a purse or shoes is fun, shopping for food is the best…because it’s FOOD! You get to eat it! And shopping for food in Turkey can be an adventure. While grocery stores do exist and are completely doable, you are missing out on half the fun if you skip the food pazar.
Marked by bustling crowds and shouting vendors, the food pazar is a wall to wall produce extravaganza (usually in an open air square)! Along with the ubiquitous fruits and vegetables, you can also find brined olives, fresh made/aged cheeses, a plethora of nuts and snacks, and sometimes breads and yufka. The best part of the pazar is that the prices are lower, and you get to taste EVERYTHING before you buy it. This is a lot like a farmer’s market in the US, only huge. and awesome.
Clothes and trinkets pazar
Unlike the US, Turkey does not have the same laws (or if they do, they aren’t enforced), regarding knock offs. This pazar is your one stop shop for just about anything…sweaters, jeans, sweatpants, purses, shoes, costume jewelry (don’t listen if they say it’s real- it probably isn’t), dishes, plungers, needle and thread, the list goes on and on. What differentiates this pazar from the last on the list is that everything is new.
The biggest benefit (besides the already low prices) of this pazar, is that you are able (and expected) to haggle. These sweatpants are 15TL? How about I buy 2 for 27TL? This may not seem like a big sale, but after your massive shopping haul, it adds up. However, because they are knock offs…don’t get upset when you find yourself repairing seams in a month or two. Its the price you pay (or rather, didn’t pay). You can find some nice, quality clothes…but look closely. Also, don’t kid yourself. Everything is a knock off. Everything!
The flea market of Turkey, the bit pazar has all your random needs. Need the guts of a 1960s radio? I got you. Missing a shoe? It’s here. Lost your king from a chess set? We can work it out. I have no pictures of this one (sorry), because…to be honest…ours is skeeeeetccchhyyyyy! I was not about to pull my camera out to take a photo. Guard your purse and don’t buy clothes- they might have fleas. Everything here is used. Gently or otherwise. But for your bizarre odds and ends, this is the first place to go.
Where are your favorite places to shop (US, Turkey, or other?), and what is your favorite thing about it?