Sunday, November 23, 2008

Market Day

Sunday is Market Day in our neighborhood. Actually, it's one neighborhood over, since our neighborhood is too high-class to have a street market, but it's only a 10-15 minute walk away, so we make that market our own. The neighborhood that holds it is a largely immigrant neighborhood -- you see more Africans here than anywhere else in the city. One of our Turkish friends told us that many of the people living here are asylum-seekers, trapped in limbo while waiting to find out if Germany, France, or somewhere else will accept them. But most of them end up staying for years, marrying Turks, having children, becoming a semi-invisible part of the landscape of Istanbul. It is an interesting and friendly neighborhood, and we really enjoy visiting the market!

Since it is such a regular part of our weekly life here, we wanted to share the experience with our friends and family as much as we can through the blog. Usually, a group of three or four of us walk over in the mid-morning and spend and hour and a half or so browsing and buying. It's a wonderful sensory experience. There is so much to look at, to smell, to sample. Plus the salesmen (all men) are constantly hawking their wares with loud cries of "Bir milyon, bir milyon, bir milyon" (1 million lira), or trying to out-sing each other, calling attention to their superior cabbages or tomatoes. Here's a short video that gives just a hint of what it's like:

You can purchase literally anything here -- from fruit to fish, perfume to pants, toys to textiles -- if anyone sees something interesting in the pictures that they want as a souvenir, speak up! And the prices are amazing. The childrens' clothes seem to be an especially good bargain, although of course we have not bought any. But if those of you with kids want us to pick something up (probably not great quality, but good enough for running around and playing in) let us know and we will send them back to the States with the next "courier" that comes to visit (shipping them would probably make the savings disappear).

The fruits and vegetables are fresh and cheap. Since we don't have a kitchen we are a bit limited in what we can buy, which is a shame, but the dairy and spices are also good. Here are some pictures of the yummy produce:

Cabbages as big as TWO heads!

Foy: Do you know what kind of beans these are?

You can also buy fresh fish, right from the Bosphorus:

And cheap housewares:


(check out the fake Converse -- they didn't even try to make the insignia look real!):

Textiles and lace:

even underwear:

Just to give you an idea of the range of things that are available (and the wonderful prices), I thought I might share what we bought today:
1 pound of tomatoes
1 pound of cucumbers
1 pound of oranges
1 pound of lemons
2 pounds of grapes (the last of the season since it has started freezing here?)
a quarter pound of fresh cheese
a container of hazelnut-chocolate creme (for breakfast, yum)
a vegetable peeler
a long-sleeved undershirt (for Candace, so Nonnie can stop worrying)
a pair of wool socks (also for Candace -- they have the Evil Eye on them!)
a utility towl (for Peter's art projects)
a packet of raw indigo dye (also for Peter, not sure what it will be used for yet)
10 packs of purse-size kleenex (it's that time of year)

All of these cost us a meager 17 lira, which converts to just over $10! Wow! (at least I think so!)

Heading Home from the Market


Dan N. said...

It might be interesting to see how much saffron costs. I'll check at the grocery store when I go. Probably today. I would guess it is *way* cheaper there.

I may have to have a pair of Cornerfe shoes! Do they use European sizing?

Candace said...

Answer to Dan: Yes, they use European sizes for shoes. Clothes are a bit different, but then none of the clothes at the market have sizes marked in them! Also, I don't think they sell saffron at that market, but they do have it at the Egyptian Market. It's expensive, but cheaper than in the states (and better too). But for really cheap saffron, you can always go to the source -- Safranbolu, which is a few hours drive from here. I would like to do that while we are here. -Candace

Anonymous said...

candy,Hey! How can you shop in such a crowd? There is certainly a lot to choose from.Glad to hear you are getting some warm clothes. I don't know a lot about prices here except gas is $1.62. Can you beat that? I haven't heard about California.

Shop Wisley, nonnie


Love, nonnie

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan N. said...

A gram of Spanish saffron was about $12 at the local grocery store.

SundayST said...

That looks like so much fun! And great deals. I think I would trade our current grocery prices for a market like that even with the crowd. (Food prices are skyrocketting here, it seems. Maybe the kids are just getting hungrier and therefore harder to keep full, so I'm buying more. Haha!)

I bought gas for $1.57 yesterday! I am such a happy camper! (I had to use my "10-cent off per gallon" discount to get that price, but since I was filling the tank, it seemed like a good time.)