Thursday, December 1, 2011


On Thursdays and Fridays, its market day.

The Bodrum market is held in a large, semi-covered parking garage about half the size of a football field. Hundreds of vendors set up tables or plywood on sawhorses, or spread their goods and wares on carpets, or hang them from the rafters.

Hundreds of people roam the aisles of fruits and nuts and vegetables. But when I say nuts, I mean there are entire stands dedicated to nothing but nuts. Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds. Nuts in shells. Nuts raw. Nuts chopped. Nuts salted. Nuts sugared.

The spice vendors offer veritable painters palettes of powders. Some course, some fine, and pepper bundles hanging on ropes.

There are stands with olives of every kind. Stands of baked goods. Stands of figs, of olive oil, grains, honey in jaws, honey in combs. There is a whole row of cheese vendors.

There are crammed crates, brimming bags and sacks, baskets, jars, plastic bins, wooden boxes, all full, all fresh, all harvested, picked, plucked, packed and trucked to these stands.

The vegetable farmers have varieties of greens we have never seen before.

“Some kind of kale or chard,” I say to Jennifer, pointing to one crate.

“Some kind of seaweed,” she says to me, pointing to long, slim but plump fingers dangling from a vine-type of branch.

There are hundreds of vendors here. How can each make enough money among so much competition? Some hawk. Some hold out samples on plates or on scoopers. One guy is holding out a huge head of cabbage to the older ladies passing by. All attempt to make eye contact.

The sunlight filters through the corrugated metal roof and illuminates the dust in the air. The sound of a thousand shouts, calls, mumbles, and general chatter mixes with clatter of scales and coins, the swish of plastic bags being swung open and bills being slipped from hand to hand to wad to pocket.

Along the edge of the market are small restaurants. Kitchens, really, with no space inside, and so they have tables and chairs in the market just outside their doors. A kebab place. A Turkish coffee and tea joint. Servers from the tea shop ferry back and forth from the shop into the crowd with large trays of hot chai, delivering relief to the vendors and returning with chattering trays of empty glasses.

Yet, despite the din and the churn of commerce, the pace of all is steady. Natural. Almost calm. 

1 comment:

judymac said...

Be a bit wary of bulk spices, this warning comes via the Turkish daughter-in-law of a friend of mine. (usually lots of little bugs etc.)