"The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her."
~ Marcelene Cox.
~ Marcelene Cox.
We stayed overnight in South Kurdistan on a shopping trip to stock up on necessities. In this case, necessities consisted of tea and fabric for the traditional women's dress of North Kurdistan, the kras û fîstan. Bakûrî Kurds will go to the South for shopping because it's generally cheaper there.
I confess: I'm not a shopper. I become very impatient after about fifteen minutes of looking at clothes or shoes . . . or fabric. In the West, I have to know what I want, know where it is in the store, find it, pay for it, and leave. After a certain period of time, a panic reaction sets in and I feel compelled to leave. My eyes begin to anxiously search for the nearest exit while my heart rate increases and my palms become sweaty. The reaction doesn't end until I'm on the road for home.
I did not inherit the female gene for shopping, the same one that generally instills women with a stamina unknown to triathletes or marathon runners.
On the other hand, I love going to the bazaars in Kurdistan simply because there is a lot to see and they are usually colorful. I could wander through the alleyways of a bazaar for hours, looking at the people and the colors and listening to the sounds.
Below are some photos from the Hewlêr and Duhok bazaars:
These were the biggest radishes I'd ever seen. I don't know how they tasted, but they were certainly big. Personally, I'm a radish fan as long as the radishes are succulent.
Here are some spices and you can see my favorite seasoning in the foreground--the red pepper flakes. There was quite a bit of, ahem, discussion with the shopkeeper over the price of something that someone was buying, so I had plenty of time to linger around here, inspecting everything. The spice shops always have amazing aromas.
Speaking of amazing aromas, here's a pickle shop. These places smell somewhat like curry and it can be off-putting for some people, but I love pickles, and the curry smell makes them all the more interesting! They have much more in these places than simply pickled cucumbers. There are all kinds of pickled vegetables here, as well as olives. My favorite are the pickled beets.
Here's the Duhok bazaar. It looks pretty clean and organized here, but in the food sections it can be just as seemingly chaotic as the Hewlêr bazaar.
This is a general store kind of place. Notice the big bag on the right with the ear of corn printed on it? That was a bag of popcorn.
One of my favorites! These kinds of shops sell nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. They always have the most interesting and tasty treats.