by Yaryna Kobryn –
My passion for local markets lead its way through the street markets in Asia – each of those reflecting the peculiarities of culture and daily lifestyle of the locals: the hustle of floating markets in Bangkok, Thailand, the charm of night markets in Luang Prabang, Laos, the chaos of markets in India and the horror exhibits of the market streets in Hanoi, Vietnam – all of them have their unique, authentic atmosphere, reflecting the local life itself – and serving the mirror of what people cook, what they eat, how they communicate.
Therefore the first moment I stepped into the Turkish bazaar, I had the only thought: the life is happening here. You can feel it miles from the market itself – the loud shouts of the sellers lead your way to the bazaar – so you just follow the increasing mixture of noises and exquisite smells – from citruses and bread to spices and fish.
The market has its own dynamics, both coherent and chaotic in its nature – as the flow of people move from the stall to stall, you, immersing yourself in this crowd, feel a part of this intuitively structural movement that forms and then disintegrates by the end of the market as instantly as it was created. And, making your way through in an attempt to reach for a piece of cheese or olive to taste, you have nothing to do but to sway yourself among the people, multiply feeling your bag or your entire body stuck between the crowd. The market stalls, resembling more of the exhibitions with their pyramids of tangerines and mosaic of fruit organized on the stalls, both allure and admire, and make the one feel a true local life.
Besides a deeply aesthetic feeling of harmonic chaos around, the bazaar obtain a deeply practical feature: everything here is a waaaay cheaper than it can be anywhere found. 1kg of grapefruit for 0,30 Euro, 3 kg of tangerines for 0,80 Euro, 2kg of carrots for 0,50 Euro, 1 kg of oranges for 0,35 Euro – all these prices make the head goes round and you don’t realize what happens t ill you find yourself by the exit of the market with around of 10 kilograms of fruit in your hands.
After bazaar experience, food shopping cannot be the same, I assure you. Buying 2 apples or oranges in the supermarket the same price as 1kg of them on the market? No, thank you, I’ll better get to the local market for the conversation with the vendors, nodding and smiling to their Turkish (having no idea what they are talking about) mixed with the attempts to bargain – another inherent feature of the bazaar itself that kicks you out of any kind of comfort zone which has been ever left in you. Felt like begging at first and taking great efforts to step over one’s own feeling of uneasiness and self-pride, the practice of bargaining brings a special flavor to it with the time, opening the way to interact and connect with others, as if setting another junction point with the local culture itself.