The bazaars of Istanbul are an endless source of wonder for me. They are so popular with tourists and it’s fascinating to watch them interacting with the stallholders who are trying to make a living from the reduced visitor numbers in 2009. The stallholders can all speak good English and usually have a great sense of humour; unfortunately not all visitors share this trait.

On my second day in Istanbul, I went to the Spice Bazaar after visiting the Suleymaniye Mosque. I was a bit mosqued out already and it was a wonderful visit. if I stopped for two seconds to take a picture I got pounced on. I had just taken a picture of some lit multi-coloured glass lamps when the stall holder of the place where I was standing walked up to me.

“That will be twenty Lira.”

“Really, why is that?” I replied.

“You were standing on my property when you took that picture”

“That’s a lot of money. I don’t have much money.” I laughed.

“You should come into the shop and then when you have bought a carpet you will have even less money,” he smiled.

“No, thank you.”

“Where are you from?”

England.”

“London?”

“No, further north.”

“Business is bad this year due to the globbal cresssssus.”

“The what?”

“The globbal cresssssssus.”

“Oh the global crisis.”

Although it’s called the Spice Bazaar they don’t sell just spices. I was writing down all the things on sale there and I was asked what I was doing by another merchant.

“I have written down everything on sale here.”

“Really? Why?”

“I wanted to remember cushion covers, Turkish viagra, lamps, plates, caviar, silver, carpets, cashmere, sausage, the evil eye, kebabs, linen, watches, belts, t-shirts, frilly baskets, bowls, glasses, jewelry, cups, ice cream, rings, and perfume”

“Yes we sell everything here.”

julian200Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734