Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Shopping in Istanbul

Not that I did that much of it...no carpets....

Interestinly a contact suggested that you can buy a carpet there and get the shop to ship it home for you (after you have taken a photo of the shop, the salesman and the carpet); other sources suggest that you might not unwrap the same carpet at home... much like suppliers to EU projects when heavy-duty lino is ordered for a project office floor, and you end up with paper-thin stuff....

In Istanbul there are whole streets specialising in certain types of goods, eg gold, silver, clothes, lights, musical instruments, electric cabling, and so on and so on. Many of the goods are sold in wholesale quantities, even in the town centre - eg a bag of 100 silver bracelets, or, at the side of the road, waist high bags all containing the same wolly hats. There are also many informal little street stalls - I even spotted a microscopic stall selling 'Viagra' and 'Cialis' - no doubt the size of the stall was in inverse relationship with the hoped-for effect of the drugs concerned.

I saw some strange contraptions whose use I could not work out, until I spotted them on the backs of men bent down under loads bigger than themselves. These contraptions kind of extend the back so that the guy can carry a really gynormous load - saves using donkeys and getting in trouble with soft-hearted tourists complaining about animal welfare.

Picked up some spices, some Turkish Delights, lots of dried figs (had a bad do with dried figs as a child, when, in order to keep me regular, I had to eat soaked dried figs for breakfast every morning - yuk!, but unsoaked they are nice), some prezzies but no carpets, harem outfits or fezes!