Here we sit at the Bedestan cafe & patisserie nestled in a Turkish rabbit warren of hans (shopping districts). Bowls of creamy yogurt in a pool of honey sit before us. I'm slurping mine and I'm afraid my muzzle is covered in yogurt. Sister is much more lady like. We just arrived at the bazaar having zipped over on the tram from Tophane, which we reached by way of a quiet out-of-the-way alley. I love this about Istanbul – in the middle of a city of 15 million you can find quiet nooks of leaf and petal.
It's midnight now and 12 hours have passed since I cheerfully handed Ozgur a king's ransom for my suzanis. The error of my bargaining ways seems crystal clear. What was I thinking? In my zeal to be a worthy bargaining opponent I forgot all about the most important element in all foreign matters of finance: common sense.
But in the end I suppose, when a snake charmer is working his magic with such finesse, you have no other choice but to lay your exposed neck on the gullotine and prepare for the seductive ax to fall. I knew I'd failed spectacularly when Ozgur began to throw free things into the mix along with an invitation to take us to lunch on Monday. "Gifts" he said. No thanks to lunch, but either way I'm going to to enjoy my Turkish suzanis from Uzbekistan.
After many false starts we eventually made it out the semi-correct exit. Down the narrow street we walked passing on the way many shops selling rivets, buttons, industrial looking snaps, pots and pans with floral bottoms, tea and coffee pots stacked high, backgammon sets, sheets, blankets, a gun shop, watches, cheap clothes, pashminas, lace tablecloths and thousands of other kitschy wares.
IN OTHER WORDS exactly all of the items we'd carry out of the Grand Bazaar if were were to meet Ozgar for lunch on Monday. I can see us now nodding yes to everything he showed us…then the balancing act of 2 circus bears as we teetered home on Turkish skates. Oy.
The Grand Bazaar is a densely packed area with more merchandise than is imaginable under one roof. Even with a map, this15th century marketplace left us bewildered. The merchants are persuasive & persistent, some falling just short of dragging you inside their shops. We enjoyed seeing everything, but it really is an exhausting experience. Probably not one I'd repeat. I'd opt instead for the Cukurcuma area in Beyoglu. Seems more our speed somehow. I will definitely save THIS experience for next time. Suzani photos coming soon!
This 30 second video (found it on youtube) is a little taste of the Grand Bazaar.