We are not shopaholics by any account, and we’d already made two large purchases, but I was looking for a new wallet, and if there was an off-chance of finding one, I would take it. So we headed for the Grand Bazaar to have a look-see, and to feel the atmosphere.
Walking in, there was the compulsory security check and immediately after that, the first salesman. Already toughened by experience, we walked on without seeming interested in any products. We found a sign directing towards the leather goods part, and started twisting and turning through the aisles. We found nothing of interest, and ended up in a restaurant. That was quite convenient, since it was lunch time.
Not knowing the names of different dishes, and especially not being able to pronounce anything but kebab properly, makes it quite difficult to choose sometimes. This time we were quite lucky, since it was obviously a lunch restaurant, and everything was on display. The warm welcome from the waiter and his explanations about choose and sit down, seemed rather ingenious.
We had hardly sat down, when our orders appeared on the table. Speed and customer turnover are essential during lunch. We enjoyed a couple of dishes containing lamb, vegetables, mashed potatoes and rice. Very satisfying. Having finished, I had time took look around a bit more closely, and that’s when I saw what I’d classify as truly authentic. No gas burners on this kebab. And the cook didn’t use any electric cutters, he had a three-foot knife to carve the meat.
With a full tummy, it was time to hit the shops again. A lot of shopkeepers shouting their offers later, we stopped by one stall that seemed to have the proper kind of leather wallets.
The shopkeeper was either lazy or not local, since we stood there feeling the leather for a full couple of minutes before he even bothered to come and greet us. I found something I thought I could buy, but we couldn’t come to terms over the price, and he wasn’t really trying. I made him an offer but he stood by his marked price, until we were about to leave. Only then did he make a counteroffer, which I countered. But his response was in no way energetic or interested and I got the feel he really didn’t want to do business with me. Boring. So we left, and I’m stuck with my old wallet. So much for pressure selling and haggling in a Turkish bazaar.
Winding through the alleys and aisles, we took left and right turns until we found an exit. Which wasn’t the one we wanted, so we turned back in, and eventually found the right exit. If I was in a hurry, I’d probably find it a bit difficult to find my way around this place.