“How much are these?” I ask, pointing in wander to the glass-beaded lamps that reflect different colors of light on the Turkish square.

“Sixty euro” the man replied briskly, as my heart plummeted.  I couldn’t afford sixty euro, no matter how much I wanted one of those lamps.   I got a nudge and a whisper from one of the “chaperones” on my trip, “you can get him to go lower, barter.”  Fear gripped me, I was not, at the time, a very assertive person, and the idea of bartering had my stomach tied in knots.  I watched in desperation as the chaperone walked away; I was on my own.  “twenty euro” I stated.  The final price was 30 euro.  The blue-white lamp I took home hangs in my kitchen today, and is one of my favorite things I’ve ever bought abroad.

I was in a bazaar, in Turkey.  I visited many shops, only buying a few things.  One place we went was a rug shop.  There were beautiful rugs hanging from every wall, and piled up head high.  Two men ran the shop, and three women sat by the entrance making the rugs.  The men offered me apple tea, which was delicious, as I shopped.  I came home with two small rugs, for 50 euro.

I was proud of myself for bartering down 50% of the asking price.  Looking back now, I know that because the cruise ship was in port, prices skyrocketed.  And it was expected that people barter with the salesmen.  If I went back today I guarantee I could have gotten both of those rugs for no more than 15 or 20 euro.  But you live and learn.

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