(oh my g)Osh Bazaar!

I’m really pleased with my little pun. Really, though, it perfectly describes how I felt after visiting Osh Bazaar: OMG

It’s frenetic and fast-paced, made up of cramped and narrow alleys lined with stall after stall selling anything you could possibly want or need. There’s little logic to the way the stalls are organized, except that it seems like items are grouped together. It’s handy to know that when you want to buy, say, a chainsaw (you know, for example), you can find all of the chainsaw sellers in the same place.

To best compare prices?

Farrell and I ambled down to the bazaar with a vague notion of trying to find a cupcake tin. And Soviet Era kitsch. Maybe some sort of fantastic flea market find.

Ehh…nothing of that sort was found.

What did we find?

Spices. By the bulk. Bright colors, a thick cloud of earthy scents. So that’s where you’ve been hiding!
Cheaper and better quality produce. Narodni supermarkets, for all of their 24-hour convenience, can suck it when it comes to fresh fruits and veggies.
Endless encounters with chubby Kyrgyz babies. That place is ripe with cute.

Ehh, and a lot of mundane, everyday items that weren’t really all that special. Oh, look honey, we’ve stumbled upon to the Home Depot section. What? Another stand to buy mini souvenir yurts?

Even to catch a glimpse of something interesting, like a burlap sack of fluorescent orange saffron (probably cut with flour. I know we’re closer to the source but come on, it’s never that cheap), it was difficult to dawdle and not get swept up in the massive current of people who moved with a bit more purpose.

Also, the cardinal rule of markets, showing interest in something invites the seller to harass you. Somewhere between the blurry lines of the fruit and animal feed sections there was a man standing next to a cardboard box in the middle of the street, motioning for people to check out the goods.

It was a box of puppies. Puppies, people. There were puppies for 50 som, a teensy bit more than a dollar!

This girl doesn’t pass a chance to gawk at adorable things of any kind (as I’m sure countless Kyrgyz parents of newborns have discovered upon passing me on the sidewalk). Then, of course, the man gets his sales pitch ready and frantically yells and waves his hands at us. In the states I could probably pet one, pick one up and tell it how cute I think it is, say “No thank you, my landlord would have a fit! Plus, I already have a cat.”

All I could do here is smile, shake my head and leave those poor little puppies in the straining cardboard box in the middle of a mucky bazaar.

When we finally escaped the bazaar, Farrell had a hankering for some shashlik, Kyrgyz-style grilled meat, for lunch. I guess something about spending so much time immersed with the locals had gone to his head, and we headed to a place without an English menu for lunch.

We’re already planning a shopping list (and practicing our vocabulary!) for next weekend.