Best Places to Shop at the Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

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Goodbye to Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

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Saying goodbye to friends is always hard, but saying Goodbye to the people at Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul is very hard to do. Moses and I went out for our ‘Goodbye lunch’ at the Four Seasons. We went to this restaurant for two reasons. First, he knew I loved it. Secondly, he wanted to get to know the concierge so they could work together. Turkish business is about social networks and trust. Business in Turkey is about who you trust.

Goodbye Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

For Moses, spending time with people is a way to make connections and work with them in the future. Going to the restaurant was a way for him to get to know the people he wanted to work with at the hotel. It was the best goodbye lunch and good for Moses’ business.

Istanbul Turkey, Goodbye to Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

Tribal Economy Dependent on Tourism

Istanbul seems like a tribal economy. This term is a positive word, regarding business relationships built on personal friendships and trust. Consciously, they choose their social network to build their tribe. A person’s tribe, their circle of friends, their social network, determines the level of trust one earns and deserves.

Here is an example. Hopefully, this demonstrates how important trust is for Turkish people and business.

Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

To work together in Turkey relies on trust. Trust is the most important factor because it’s personal, based on family and community relationships. The business owner must completely trust you to work with you. Everything you do should be in the owners best interest and yours, equally.

Trust must be unconditional. Istanbul business operates at a tribal level. Earned and received, equally between people according to their social network builds Trust.

Social Networks and Trust

Personal Relationships built on trust, are not the same as Facebook likes.

  • A stranger has zero trust
  • Friend of a friend has little trust
  • A friend of the family has some trust
  • Your friend’s trust is a deeper trust
  • Trust for a family member is unconditional trust

My observation is that the people in Turkey do business based on their social networks, personal relationships, and trust. Individuals who are part of the social network earn trust. The highest level of business relationship or personal relationship is a family business with other family members.

Back Home Comparison

In the U.S., we do this to a degree, but our mobility affects the depth of our relationships. Social networks don’t use first-hand knowledge. It’s impossible to know personally everyone whom we work within the U.S.  Additionally, some Americans don’t want to work with family or people they know. Maybe America’s don’t want to work with family because they don’t trust their families.

Americans use college affiliation, class rank, personality tests, and other metrics to try to evaluate trust levels. We use things like LinkedIn to increase our credibility to strangers and acquaintances. But in Turkey, people get hired, and business relationships revolve around social networks based on trust.

Trust and Travel

My trips have taught me that trust is hard to measure. Sometimes it’s better to travel alone than with the wrong person. One way to measure trust when traveling is to think about your shared values. Do you share the same value towards money, time and changes to travel plans?

If you share the same point of view, you may be good travel partners. Sometimes partners are with you for a day, a trip or a lifetime. Travel partnerships may work in some locations, but not others. You have to pick the right person and the right place.

Change to travel plans often happen, sometimes for no reason at all. Everyone and everything has a season, and it’s about finding the right fit.

Why does it matter?

When you travel, how you deal with things?

  • I believe in traveling well. To travel well, you have to trust yourself.

Back to the Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

After lunch, we walked back to the shop to say goodbye to everyone. Zeki hadn’t returned from the errand Moses gave him. Moses seemed frustrated.

I went to the spice shop and bought some vanilla, sumac, and pepper. But, when I went to pay, they wouldn’t let me.

“Kate,” they said. “It’s our gift to you.”

Back at Moses’ shop. Zeki was there. He had a cake. It read.

We Will Miss You, Kate.”

                   Before                                               After

Cakes, Food, Istanbul, Tukrey, Istanbul Turkey, Goodbye to Arasta Bazaar Goodbye Istanbul Cakes, Food, Istanbul, Tukrey, Istanbul Turkey, Goodbye to Arasta Bazaar Goodbye Istanbul

Everyone came into the store. All the men from around the bazaar were in on the surprise. Even the Arasta Bazaar retired mayor came for cake.

Zeki – Best Salesperson I Have Ever Met!

They had paper napkins, plates, a sparkly candle and soda pop. I was so surprised because Moses arranged a  lovely surprise party for me. He even had a gift for me. Then Zeki ran out and came back with a gift.

“Zeki what have you done?” I knew that Zeki didn’t have the money for a gift. He gave me a brand-new handbag from his brother’s store. The handbag was exactly the one I wanted, in the exact color.

“You don’t have one that color, and it’s your favorite,” Zeki said. “Will you come back next summer?


Istanbul Turkey, Goodbye to Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul
Istanbul Turkey, Goodbye to Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

 How Could I Thank My Friends? How to Say Goodbye Arasta Bazaar Istanbul

I went into the jewelry store, and the owner gave me a gift. It was a cleaning cloth for a watch I bought. He was a sweet man. The kind man surprised me with his precious gift.

“What should I learn from Istanbul?”

“We are an old country. Change is slow. We are Turkish.” The man paused.

“I am American,”

“Yes,” he agreed, “American, but you are one of us.”

The day ended with me saying goodbye to everyone with a hug. Someone yelled out, “Hey Kate. You haven’t cried. We made bets with Moses that you would cry!”

“I know Moses told me not to cry.”

“We bet you cry.”

“Well, I can’t let that happen.”

Standing in the middle of the bazaar, Moses hugged me, and I hugged him back.

“Give me a goodbye hug,” Moses said.

Holding back tears with a big smile, I gave him a bear hug.

“Goodbye, sister,” Moses said. “I will see you next year. Inshallah”

“Inshallah, next year.”

Walking away without looking back, so he wouldn’t see me cry, my thought was I wanted Moses to win the bet.

Travel tip: Travel with people you trust, give and receive friendship, culture, and social networks. Live by not judging, learn by experiencing.

By the way, I got my ‘bride shot’ in Istanbul that afternoon. More about this later, but it was a very nice way to end my day.

 Good Bye, Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

Happily, I received the best gift. My gift was to be included and to be part of this group of Muslim men, who are peaceful generous and kind. As  Muslims, they gave a Christian woman, the gift of friendship and respect. In these times of fear and anger, it’s good to know real people are working towards peace. One relationship at a time regardless of gender, race, or religion we build peace. Heartfelt thanks to these individuals who gave me some many gifts, and inspired me to share the incredible journey I had in Istanbul.

Istanbul Turkey, Goodbye to Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

Travel tip: Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul is the most honest place to shop in Istanbul when I was there. The Arasta Bazaar is less of a hassle and hustle, quieter and less bargaining.

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, and from City University, Seattle, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour foods.