While in Istanbul, there are many entertaining things to do. Shopping with your Grandma is just one of them. But where to shop with your Grandma? There are many places all throughout the area of Sultanahmet, including the Grand Bazaar, the Arasta Bazaar (right by the Blue Mosque), and many stores on the street. Although it is hard to find cheap places, you just gotta keep searching,
a place three stores down from an expensive place can be half the price. My Grandma and I encountered this in the Arasta Bazaar. There were some items that she liked, so she had me bargain for them. (She doesn’t really like to bargain. It’s also hard because she dosen’t know the exchange rates.) I got them down from half the original price, but I still didn’t feel like it was a good price.
After the goods were purchased, we went 3 doors down to a shop that had the same things. We asked for a price and they were one third of the original price of the first store! This made my Grandma sad. She went back to the first store and said, “Shame on you! Right down the street they’re a third of your original price!” not in a mean voice, but I still felt a little embarrassed. Then the shop owner said, “I don’t want you to be mad, I want my customers to be happy. The man down the street is not a good man. He wants to be mean and put me out of business. I say one price and he makes a lower one.” I thought, “So why does that matter?” He gave my Grandma a bracelet but she was still pretty disappointed.
If you’re looking for big shops with lots of items, then you should go to the Arasta Bazaar, but if not, go to the Grand Bazaar. It’s my favorite. There are hundreds if not thousands of little stores with lots of different things, while the Arasta Bazaar only has around 20 shops. Right before we went to the Grand Bazaar, we went to the Hagia Sophia, so the non-shoppers were forced to go to the Bazaar with us. Grandma, Kieran, Dad, and I are the shoppers; the rest are not. While we were trying to find what to do with the non-shoppers, Grandpa got a cramp so he had to rest his leg. He found a nice wooden box to rest his leg on. After he was done resting the shopkeeper came out and said, “What is this?” putting his foot on the box. “This shop is my pleasure. What if I put my foot on your head? My pleasure!” Since my grandpa is 6’6″, the thought of the small man getting his foot up there was real funny.
A few minutes after this happened, the shopkeeper across the path explained to us that the man was going through a divorce and that he’s not getting many sales, and not to worry about our Grandpa. When we decided there was no where for the non-shoppers to stay, we let them go back to the hotel, including Kieran. Dad told all the shoppers to get in a picture and all the non-shoppers to get in a picture. Kieran was tired and wanted to go back, but he wanted us to know that he was a shopper, so the last words he said before he left were, “I’m a shopper. I just don’t want to shop. Because you know what I want, an onyx elephant”
So the shoppers and non-shoppers went their own ways. The shoppers went deeper into the Grand Bazaar, while the non-shoppers left the building. As we trekked deeper into the bazaar, there was one set of items that really caught my eye, knives. If you’ve never been to my house before, then you probably don’t know what I have in my room. Well, I’m going to tell you. I’ve got a samurai sword from Japan and a knife from Spain. I want to have a collection of knives and swords from all my trips, but all the cool ones in the bazaar were over 200 dollars!!! It’s because they were made out of silver, but I didn’t care about the silver. I cared about the design on the silver. I didn’t care if the knives were steel. I wanted steel. But we couldn’t find any good ones.
My Grandma also had her eye on mutiple things, but because they are presents for family at home, I don’t think I should type what they are. But when she found the ‘items’ she had me and Dad try to get a good price. One store didn’t have a good price, so she left the small room. The exit was very narrow, and on the way out, she knocked over a little bowl. She just walked away. I wondered why she didn’t turn around and help the shop owner. So I went up to her and whispered, “Grandma, you just knocked that bowl off with your bag” She had no idea what she had done. She ran to the storekeeper and helped him pick it up. She also said that she would pay for it, but the shopkeeper told us that he doesn’t work that way. Out of guilt Grandma decided to buy some of the small bowls like the ones that she knocked over.
Then we went in search of the cheap part of the bazaar where someone told us we could get sweatsuits for 5 dollars. So we went to the place that he told us to go, outside the grand bazaar, left, and follow the path. We didn’t know that he meant sweatsuits, ugly clothes, and ‘ritual’ outfits. So we left there and went back into the Grand Bazaar. We found some fun presents, so look out Luke and Harry. We also got presents for all the other cousins. When we were inside the bazaar, I found a very nice knife. I got it down to half the price, so Grandma called it my birthday present and payed for half. Dad payed for some, and I payed the rest. So now it is sitting somewhere (hopefully safe) in my Grandma’s house. But we couldn’t find Kieran’s onyx elephant. We found one that we thought was onyx. The man said it was, but it was glass. The man said “What? It’s real fake onyx. You want to buy?” We left him and his fake elephants but the stores were all closing so we had to leave the bazaar.
It looked like we wouldn’t be able to get Kieran’s elephant, so we took the tram back to the stop closest to our hotel. It was really close to the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. On the way back we ran into a pretty big window, and in the window was an onyx elephant. We ran inside to get it. It was half the price of the bazaar, but it was a no bargaining store. We thought it was a good price and figured that we wouldn’t find another one, so we bought it. It was the last sale of the night. We were tired so we set off for home where all the non-shoppers were waiting for the shoppers to return.