Monday, September 04, 2006


I am not a shopper by nature but in my travels I have felt the need to collect some tangible reminder of my stay. I also have created expectations from family members that they will find themselves presented at Christmas with some strange artifact from a far off land that no one on their block can claim to have. So, the non-shopper, who couldn't be forced to go to an outlet mall at gunpoint, heads to the much talked about Friday bazaar.

I would have like to have found myself in an exotic bazaar like one sees in the movies - Casablanca or Marrakesh style. However, as an American in Kabul, one must settle for the next best thing - a bazaar in secure area. While the surrounding environment in not as authentic as strolling from your hotel to the historic old quarter of a city, where you can explore the narrow alleys and grand open squares, it does offer exposure to Afghan artisans and local crafts from remote cities. I buy a hand crafted knife with camel bone handle, scarves from Kandahar, and a traditional rug. I buy some jewelry made from Afghan lapis, in a beautiful shade of blue, which could have come from mines that provided it to the Egyptian pharaohs.

I never knew I had so many friends in Kabul. Every vendor is my "good friend." Because it is morning I am offered the special "morning price" or "my first customer price." Both, I am told, are very good prices. I speak to other shoppers who tell me that the same line is used in the afternoon for excellent "last customer" prices. I haggle, as required, but not to extreme. I walk away at least once from every sale and get the next lower price. Everyone is happy.

Packing my loot for the trip home will be daunting but a problem for another day.


Post a Comment

<< Home