Friday, September 4, 2009

The Bazaar

I am sure you have a mental image of a Bazaar in your mind; small mud built structures amongst winding small streets or something similiar.

Our bazaar on Camp Shaheen is not necessarily like the model bazaar. It is a group of tarps and tables with various stuff for sale and occurs every other week or so. The sellers of carpets, wooden boxes and jewelry are regulars. Of course there are the knock off brand electronics, movies, and sunglasses familiar to any servicemember for sale as well.

The hardest part is the price negotiation. If I were buying something that I was remotely familiar with, such as a toothbrush, I would have an idea where to start the process. But I really have no idea what Afghan goods go for around here. If I become too frustrating, the shopkeeper usually has me just name some price. I usually try to start with an amount which is low, but not insultingly low. I would guess that I am still not starting low enough though. By the time it is over I feel like I must have gotten a good deal, but then the shopkeeper smiles a very big smile when we conclude the purchase. It really makes me think I have been taken to the cleaners. That and they usually throw in something free at the end. Perhaps they just want to make sure I am a loyal customer and will come back to them next time?

There are some who stay away from the Bazaar and prefer to spend money on stuff at the limited exchange on base. I know from experience that part of our job here is to spread our wealth around the world and stimulate their economy. It is also a nice break from the monotony of life on camp.

1 comment:

  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/04/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.