Desertirebis Bazari, Tbilisi
Jun 1, 2018
My incurable fascination for bazars meant a visit to the Desertirebis Bazari was a must. Named for the deserters from the army who sold their arms at this spot, it has reputedly grown since its inception into a chaotic jumble selling everything from produce to clothes to haunches of meat to cheeses and everything in between. Just the sort I like to wander in. An easy ride in the metro and a short walk and I was plunged into the bazar.
Not quite the wild jumble I’d anticipated, this bazar has some semblance of order; probably a leftover from Soviet days. Outside the covered building were the produce sellers – bright red tomatoes lie piled next to peppers and bunches of greens. Sacks of potatoes form a makeshift bed for the seller intent on his cell phone. Pickled vegetables lie in trays, any potential buyer urged to sample them. The colorful heaps of spices strike a contrast to the murky glass cases teeming with crabs and fish. A man sits in a corner busily sharpening knives while carrying on a conversation.
Inside the building, white rounds of cheese send up a pungent aroma next to vats of butter. Rows of the churchkhela, the nuts encased in solidified grape juice, the quintessential Georgian sweet hang like curtains amid edible sheets made of dried fruit juice. Sections of beehives are held up for inspection, as rows of natural honey are arrayed on shelves. Slabs of smoked salmon tempt as do jars of caviar.
A refrigerated case contains piglets while at the butchery below, a customer haggles over a haunch of beef. Clothing to meet all sizes and shapes hang from the walls in yet another section, interspersed with stalls of bling. Glitter is the name of the game here, the shinier, the better.
Georgians are among the friendliest I have met – eager to engage in conversation, and even more than happy to be photographed. I am going to have to get a minimal vocabulary soon so I can begin to torture all whom I meet.