Bazaar

Bazaar: (n) a market in a Middle Eastern country.Dictionary B

I often comfort myself with the knowledge that if I didn’t do dumb things, I wouldn’t have great stories to tell.

So a certain amount of imperfection, idiocy and clumsiness is necessary to fall under the classification of “a good writer.” (At least, that’s my take and I’m stickin’ with it.)

Many years ago, I traveled to Haiti, and being a novice at such a journey, I didn’t take enough money. After I paid all the taxes, tariffs and incidentals, I ended up with 72 cents in loose change to last me for two weeks.

My lodging was covered and so were my meals, but I didn’t have any personal money.

One of my guides on suggested that we go to the local street market, or bazaar, to see what the Haitians had put together through their creativity.

I don’t know why, but it didn’t even occur to me that these artisans might just want to sell their wares to hapless Americans. I wasn’t in the bazaar for more than thirty seconds before I was completely surrounded by determined individuals trying to sell me what they had built, cooked or grown.

The stuff was beautiful.

They were great salespeople.

But you see–I only had 72 cents.

To the average Haitian, any white man from America is independently wealthy and probably arrived on their shores in a yacht.

So using a word of Creole here and there, I tried to explain that I had no money. This only encouraged them to sell harder, assuming that they were just one catch-phrase away from garnering my business.

They also kept dropping their prices.

Finally, after about five or six arduous minutes of grueling exchange, I pulled out fifty cents and bought a lovely, carved statue. The person who did the work probably took at least four hours to make it, and I felt like a real jerk.

But they were delighted to get the fifty cents, and I intelligently escaped quickly out the back exit from my experience … at the bizarre bazaar,

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