After about 5 minutes (even with traffic) we arrived at the Bazaar. The cab driver wanted 10 Turkish Lira ($6.50) for the ride. He had a meter but naturally it happened to be "broken" at the time. I was a little weary of getting ripped off at this point, so I offered him 5 TL. What ensued was a little horrifying at the time, but kind of funny in retrospect. He ordered us out of his cab and wouldn't touch my money no matter how hard I tried. Then he started yelling at me. You'd think I had insulted his mother. He kept yelling. I kept offering my 5 Lira. Yelling. Money? More yelling. Money? No, lots of yelling. So I walked away. That's when he decided that my money was good enough for him and finally took my 5 Lira.
So the Grand Bazaar, not to be confused with the Spice Bazaar. It's hard not to compare it to the Khan in Cairo and not because I had just been there. They're both large, sprawling marketplaces but the similarities end there. While the Khan is chaotic and winding, the Grand Bazaar is clean and organized. It had actual pavement and signs with directions to bathrooms! And as you can see, plenty of room to move about.
And the shopkeepers at the Grand Bazaar are far less aggressive, which is both good and bad. It's nice to browse without being mobbed by eager shopkeepers, but the guys at the Bazaar weren't willing to budge much on prices. It's much more satisfying to haggle in Cairo than it is Istanbul.
Hunger Games in Turkish!
Our spoils from the Grand Bazaar:
1) Honeycomb, Clark has a thing for honeycomb.
2) Instant Salep, the "Cold for Days Hot Drink."
3) Ceramic Tiles, no explanation needed.
4) Thimbles, to add to our collection for playing the Thimble Game.
5) A "one of a kind" folio of Noah and his ark. I couldn't resist this one even though it was expensive and the shopkeeper wouldn't budge on the price. An islamicized biblical story? Yes please! Can you tell that Noah's face is covered?
6) Apple Tea, this stuff is served at all the cafes and boy, is it good. It tastes like hot apple juice, not cider but juice.
7) Vacuum wrapped Turkish delight also known as lokum, which I thought I hated but apparently I just hadn't had the right type. We had some really delicious Turkish delight on this trip.
We decided to take the metro home and it turned out to be fairly easy to use. Plus kids ride for free- 3 TL and no abusive yelling!
And the boys thought it was super fun. After this initial foray into the Istanbul metro system, we started using it more often to get around. Including an interesting trip home from the Galata Bridge during rush hour. Imagine a PACKED car (mostly full of businessmen in nice suits) and Ike trying to make it through a chocolate ice cream cone while sitting in his backpack. Clark bore the worst of it, but I'm pretty sure some Turkish businessmen had to get their suits dry cleaned the next day.