Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bazaar successes and Romit

*First and foremost, I have posted a bunch of pictures on Facebook and made the album public. You can check it out by visiting my Facebook and looking at the public album titled "Goin' to Dushanbe".

This is probably going to be a long post, mostly because I couldn't get to the internet this weekend and a lot has happened since my last blog post! I'll try to keep it in chronological order.

After class, Behrooz and I went to the bazaar nearby our university. I was hoping to find one or two t-shirts and some underwear (needless to say, I packed very lightly for this trip). What's interesting about Tajik culture is how much peer-pressure store owners like to put on potential customers. The first thing you'll notice when you walk up to someone's merchandise is how quickly they hound you and tell you how good their merchandise is. This makes "window shopping" relatively difficult to do in the bazaar.

Anyways, I found a few stores where I liked the shirts, but finding my size can be difficult. They usually only have M/L (Tajik men are small and most of this stuff comes from China). Usually, I would find a shirt I liked but they wouldn't have the size I needed. Eventually, I found a nice, plain orange shirt. They had my size, and then the fun part started! We had found out beforehand that in this particularly bazaar it was possibly to haggle down to about 75% of the price they initially tell you.

When I initially asked the price of the shirt, I was told it was 45 Somoni (~$9). I counter-offered 30 Somoni, and instead the store-owner told me it was 40 somoni. I asked for 35, and she agreed. It was pretty easy! Afterward, I wandered around until I found the right size underwear and had a similarly successful experience.

On Saturday, we headed to Romit. Romit is about an hour outside of Dushanbe, in the foot on the mountains and next to a glacier fed river. Many Tajik families visit Romit as a weekend getaway spot. Our group consisted of students, teachers, and some of the teacher's families. We found a nice spot next to the river, and our teachers started preparing food for us. Romit also has a pool, so a few of my friends and I swam. The pool is filled from the river, so it was suppppppperrrrrr cold. After swimming, we went back to our camping spot and ate a ton of osh (you can read about osh here). Afterward, I napped. It was great!

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