On Bazaar day in Lac Carré three weeks before Xmas, I decided to spend the Yuletide Festivities with friends in Budapest.
Easier said than done.
I soon discovered that the only way still available for me to get to Hungary’s Capital City in time for some Magyar-language caroling was on a fourteen-hour flight on Turkish Airlines, including a four-hour layover in Istanbul – too long for vegetating in an airport lounge and unfortunately too short to nip into town to visit Istanbul’s famous Grand Bazaar.
I love bazaars! (The word means Covered Market).
The Istanbul Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops or stalls in a total area of 30,700 m2 attracting between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. (Wikipedia)
Bazaars can be found all over the Middle East and North Africa.
It seems to me that bazaars are really precursors of our shopping centres, except that the bazaars are more fun.
A souk, on the other hand, is an outdoor market in a Muslim country. The most spectacular souks in the world are perhaps in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Souks are similar to bazaars, and can be found throughout many parts of North Africa, Western Asia, and the Middle East. They are part of the culture of Middle Eastern countries such as Morocco, Qatar, Libya, Tunis, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jerusalem.
But let’s not forget about Khan el Khalili the famous souk in Cairo, Egypt. It’s truly fascinating.
So is the Empress Market in Karachi, Pakistan, built in Queen Victoria’s days.
Our “bazaars” are indoor flee markets situated mostly in church basements organized mainly for charitable purposes and relatively boring.
It’s hard to find such a bazaar that is fun, but I found one in Lac Carré in the basement of the church on Pisciculture Street (what a lovely name for a street and what a pity that the fish farm after which it was named has been closed). It is run by six charming elderly ladies who really know their business. They are highly organized: the very wide range of merchandise offered for sale is displayed in carefully classified order and the ladies know precisely where everything is.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, SINCE THEIR CLIENTELE IS MAINLY LOCAL, THEY KNOW AND REMEMBER THE NAMES OF THEIR CLIENTS. VISITING THEM ALWAYS TURNS INTO A FRIENDLY MEETING – SORT OF A FAMILY AFFAIR.
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I WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY AND, ABOVE ALL, A HEALTHY NEW YEAR!