Tuesday, November 26, 2013

To market, to market.....

Now is the time of year to make many visits to the malls and large box stores that encircle the edges of our city. Once inside there is Christmas music playing to get you into the mood for buying. Glittery decorations are hung with care from the ceiling and the earnest cashiers smile and ask you if you have found everything that you wanted to find. I used to think that I liked walking around these malls, if I had nothing to buy. I liked to watch the shoppers and perhaps look for opportunities to make some grumpy shopper happier. This year however, I am quite content to stay away from the large stores unless I have some very deliberate thing to buy that can not be found anywhere else.

One of the largest malls in Winnipeg
 Just before I left Iraqi Kurdistan in June I passed by  the celebrations for the opening of a brand new mall along the main street of Sulimani.

I felt sad, although, I guess I have no right to feel that way. Why should not the Kurds of Sulimani be able to have malls just like I have in Canada? But, I feel sad because I know what the advent of such large, glitzy places of enterprise can do to the little shops. They are forced to close down and thus all we have left is to go to the big franchise shops on the outskirts. [An example of this is the closure of 3 family hardware stores on Henderson Highway near to our house. Now we have to travel several miles away to the large box Rona or Home Depot to buy tools or nails. And they only come in plastic wrapped containers. And I must buy the amount that is packaged rather than the three nails I really need,]
I don't want that to happen in Iraqi Kurdistan. The tiny shops in the bazaar/souk/market contain the real life, contact and bustle of people. I try to find excuses to walk down to the bazaar especially around 3:30 pm on a week day. That is the time when people start getting off work and the bazaar suddenly bursts to life. The vendors with carts come out of their hiding places and set up shop. And the population of Sulimani flock to the streets and bazaar lanes to find new goods and used goods and fresh meat and produce for the evening meal.
So I have some photos of this time at the Sulimani bazaar. People who were pleased to have me take their photo and others unaware. The exchange of paper Iraqi dinars for Turkish seasonal produce,  goods made in China, and even occasionally something grown locally.
 For meat or pets? But I have never seen one escape.
You won't find these in the winter time.

 500 ID per kilogram (let's say around $0.40)
 This man gave me a free pomegranate to take home for my mother in law. Ymm! pomegranates.

The tea man sets up his wares on the sidewalk.
Fish for supper?
These village women bring items grown or collected in the rural areas.
 These are a berry that grows in the spring: eaten green and when it is ripe and also made into prayer beads. It is good for a queasy stomach too.
 Another spring vegetable- ginger-(hard g's). It is the root of a very prickly plant.
This salesman was very proud of his immature chickpeas.
The vendor sits in front of the "Large Mosque" creating and selling strings of prayer beads.
And if you are feeling a bit hungry there are street food sellers willing to sell you something good to eat. These are large pods of beans boiled and then sprinkled with sour sumac.


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