My family and I recently returned from a three-week trip to Pakistan to attend a cousin’s wedding. We were also able to stop in Istanbul for a couple days, which was a great addition to the trip.
I love traveling and visiting foreign countries. One of the best parts is being able to shop in a new environment for things that will be unique back home.
I’ll talk about shopping in Pakistan later, but this week is all about Istanbul.
We, of course, spent time at the big tourist spots in the gorgeous city: the Blue Mosque (pictured above), Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia (pictured below).
Now, I’ve been to Marrakesh, which also touts a huge market, or souk. It’s an open market with dozens and dozens of lanes filled with vendors selling everything from trinkets to clothes to home goods.
Anyone who has traveled in a foreign country knows that you have to prepared for people shouting out at you about their wares as you walk through the bazaar. I think that’s the best part. The markets are so lively.
The one thing I’m horrible at, though, is bargaining. I think I’m constantly converting the costs into dollars, and, in comparison, it seems like a great bargain. I’m sure the shop owners are thrilled when American tourists who don’t have bargaining skills come by.
I was able to get a few items, mostly gifts for friends. My sister also found a cute sweater that would have been at least $20 to $30 here that she was able to get for $8.
And if you’re into jewelry, there’s no end to the number of shops hawking earrings, rings and bracelets. I love getting at least one piece of jewelry from every country I visit because it’s nice to have a little reminder of where you’ve been and to have a unique item to wear.
I definitely feel lucky to have been able to shop at the Grand Bazaar.
Next week: Shopping in Pakistan!
Pop Culture Hijabi is a weekly column by Nadia Malik. Malik is a former newspaper reporter based in Chicago who’s now making her way as a freelancer. She spends entirely too much time watching TV and reading pop culture, fashion and TV blogs. She also occasionally consumes serious books and news. No, really. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org with “pop culture hijabi” in the subject line, follow her at www.twitter.com/nadiamalik or simply leave a comment below.