06.01.2013 - 06.06.2013
There is nothing like a bazaar in the United States. The first one I ever saw a few years ago, confused and even frightened me. The more bazaars I see, the more I wish they could replace US strip malls and grocery stores. Maybe I should shop at the Mile High flea market – except that is not a brief walk away – not even a convenient metro ride.
Even the hardware and office supply stores are little stalls or shops at the bazaar.
One of my traveling companions had mentioned they were hoping to buy an European style toilet paper holder with the little metal flap that hangs over the paper roll to keep their cat from scratching at the toilet paper.
I saw a hardware store in the Masalli bazaar, so I located my friend for a "look-see." Of course we cannot speak Azeri and the shopkeepers could not speak English. I did know the word taulet so they showed us plungers, cleaners, and pull chains. Eventually, I stood as if over an Asian toilet trough and mimed as if pulling and tearing toilet paper. I stopped myself in time before demonstrating its use. All the shopkeepers laughed and retrieved the exact item we wanted.
There was only one time I had had enough of the bazaar.
We had just left the cabins outside of Masalli, Azerbaijan for the four hour van ride to the airport in Baku for the three hour plane ride to Moscow. After seven days in the cabin and 15 days in Azerbaijan, I must admit I was ready for a bit of 21st Century and some alone time with the internet. We went only the 3 kilometers to the heart of Masalli when the van stops at the bazaar. None of the English speakers seem to know what is happening.
"Ten maybe fifteen minutes at the Bazaar. No More!" we are told by our hosts. Seems that all the Baku residents wanted to buy fresh vegetables to take home. Forty minutes later the Americans are still sitting on the van, and the hosts and driver are not in sight. Eventually, they return laden with bags of cucumbers and tomatoes. The driver is even carrying an egg flat with about four dozen eggs – which he tries to put on the luggage rack above one of our seats. If you knew how this van careened and jolted, you would understand why we insisted he put it on the seat next to him! I am afraid we really showed our Western nature at this point of the journey.