Markets in Kabul

by Dual Income No Kids on October 5, 2007 · 0 comments

Markets are one of those places that are both similar and very, very different depending upon where you are in the world. That is certainly the case here in Kabul.

Today I explored the local military market with a colleague. The draw is that it is highly secure and your guaranteed not to get harassed too badly. I would have gotten a pictures of the sign that said deadly force will be used if necessary, but it also said that no photography was allowed either.

After being in Afghanistan for a week it was certainly the largest numbers of armed men I’ve seen in one place. As luck would have it there were also plenty of bullet proof vests to choose from.

There were gems of all kinds available as well as plenty of silver coins and such. You could even find Iraqi money with Saddam on it. Unfortunately most of the gems aren’t cut very well. You could likely get it recut and end up with a very good stone though. There were also plenty of silver inlaid pieces, the old guns where the most interesting. A pistol with a barrel for each bullet, sort like you would picture in an old Western movie.

Bartering still works the same. Everyone there spoke English so it takes some of the fun out of haggling. The same rules still apply in being willing to walk away until you get the price you are looking for. I only bought a couple of scarves but managed to talk them down a third of the price. I managed to get them for $5 rather than $30 in DC before I left.

Pirated DVDs are also huge, given that the military likely spend a fair share of their time watching movies and the like. I could have gotten the whole Alias series for $40 when I considered getting it stateside for $150 before coming here. Your average DVD is $2, but even that can be negotiated.

All in all a very fun outing, even if a bit surreal with all the military folks about. I took the trip as a scouting opportunity so when I’m interested in buying I can know where to start from. Also, never fall for giving them a price first. Always wait for them to offer it to you at a ridiculous price first, you are better off.

I know it is a bit off topic for your general finances, but I figured that folks might be interested in what it is like here. I’d love to hear your favorite market story.



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