>Weekly Bazaar

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All over Turkey, there is a bazaar setup in a different part of town or the city everyday of the week for the residents of the neighborhood to do their weekly shopping.  Tuesday is the day for our local bazaar in Ortakent.

We went to the bazaar today with Bostan, my mother-in-law’s helper from Turkmenistan, who has become our cook/housekeeper for the duration of their stay with us, a character similar to Charlie’s housekeeper in the popular sitcom, ‘Two and a Half Men.’  We entered  the bazaar with a carefully organized plan of attack.  We had only twenty minutes and so much variety to choose from and a very long list..  My husband went to get our breakfast supplies from the dairy suppliers while Bostan and I went to the fruit and vegetable stands.

I love to go to the bazaar; it is not only the best place to get the freshest and highest quality fruits and vegetables but also very inspiring and stimulating.  These bazaars are a feast for the senses, the bright colors of the produce, the wonderful smells of the spices floating in the air along with the entertaining cries of the vendors turns any shopping expedition into a grand adventure.  The vendors pile their vegetables or fruits in a very artistic fashion and the greens and reds of the peppers, the deep purples of the eggplants lying next to the light green of the zucchinis is worthy of any artist’s palette.  I love to pick up and smell, especially tomatoes, before I buy them; they are usually still warm from the sun and smell so sweet.

The sellers are specialized according to their specific produce.  The vegetable vendors usually have peppers, eggplants, green and pink beans, zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers, and whatever vegetable that might be in season.  Then there are the vendors that sell fresh herbs like mint, dill and parsley along with salad greens, scallions and carrots, almost like a salad buffet.  The onions and potatoes stacked up high reminiscent of  Monet’s ‘Haystacks’ might also have braided bunches of garlic to accompany them on the tables.  Melons and watermelons also get their special vendor who are usually at the entrances of the bazaar, maybe for the convenience of not having to lug them around the whole place.  Fruit vendors are very generous with their offerings of a taste of their juicy, delicious peaches, plums, cherries or grapes to any passerby with hopes of seducing them to make a sale; I am the biggest sucker when it comes to this.  I usually can never refuse any food offered and then I feel obliged to buy from that vendor; this is usually no hardship since the offerings are all so wonderful.

Bodrum’s bazaars are also famous for their 100% cotton, natural textiles but we didn’t have time to check them out this time since we were in a hurry.  I will probably indulge in another bout of serious shopping for towels and tablecloths this Saturday at the Turgutreis bazaar.

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