Part of me hates to share this little secret, but I am a blogger and therefore an open book and not sharing this little treasure would eat away at me until I did.
While in Israel my husband and I left the babies with my in laws and went treasure hunting for the day. My husband would probably call it junk shopping but he knows how much I love it so he plays along and even enables me.
He took me to Jaffa shook (market) a few city blocks of market stalls selling a variety of wares. Touristy stuff like handmade judeica items for your home, jewelry, clothing, scarves and old metal candle sticks and a section that is more flea market/yard sale than souvenir market.
Mid century modern furniture lining the streets, piled high in some spots and layered ten deep in others. There was wood, vinyl, metal and plastic, bright colors and faded stain. I asked for prices on a few items I was dreaming of bringing home and even before the negotiations (haggling is an Israeli national pastime. If you pay asking, you paid too much!) the prices were good.
After I stopped drooling over the furniture we turned the corned and there were rugs, as far as I could see. They were beautiful vibrantly colored hand knotted wool rugs. Vendor after vendor of the softest rugs.
And that’s not all. As I’m walking along in the scorching heat, wishing there wasn’t more to see so we could get back in the car with the wonderful air conditioning, I see a cloth, unfolded laying across some rolled up carpets on the sidewalk. I opened it, it was a hand embroidered Suzani textile. They are hard to find and very expensive. In the US they can cost between $600 for a small and $1500 for a king size. As I was admiring the cloth the shop owner told me the price, 1500 shekels, or $375, a great price. Still a lot of money. He wasn’t fluent in English and I am not fluent in hebrew, so in my trying to explain to him that I want to pay a fair price I just can’t spend hundreds of dollers on a bed spread, he kept lowering the price. Eventually he was going to sell me the beautiful textile for $120. The problem was, if I was going to spend $120 on one of these textiles I would have wanted to open every single one that he had in his shop to pick my favorite.
And I know, knowing what I do of Israeli shop keepers, as soon as I picked my favorite the price would be at least double and the whole haggling would start again. So I told the shop keeper that one day I would be back with enough money to buy all the Suzani textiles I can.
A girl can dream.