After spending the morning getting the Defender cleaned and serviced, I took a walk to the Zelyony Bazaar, located close to Panfilov Park in Almaty. After our experience with pickpockets at the Black Market in UB, I took extra precautions, ensuring that there was nothing that could be stolen by pickpockets. The small amount of cash that I was carrying was secured away and my Nikon Coolpix pocket camera was kept in my hand at all times. I have read that pickpockets are active in Zelony Bazaar, but I certainly didn’t get any impression that anyone was trying to get close to me. It was a far more relaxed and enjoyable experience than the UB Black Market. I visited in mid-afternoon on a Thursday, at which time it wasn’t very busy. The situation could be different on the weekends when it is busy and a far better habitat for pickpockets.
I spent most of my time in the vegetable and meat market section but also wandered around the other sections. I found all of the market vendors to be friendly. They all call out from their stalls, trying to entice you to stop and buy but when I smiled and gestured that I was just looking, most gave a nice smile in return. The vendors were very accommodating in allowing photography of their products, but most do not want to be in the photos themselves. One female vendor made a joking comment about not wanting to see herself with a startled expression on the Internet (made in Kazakh, but I could understand through her gestures and the word ‘Internet’).
The butcher/meat section was interesting to see. All of the stalls are separated into sections based on the type of meat they are selling. Different sections for sheep, beef, chicken and horse, for example. And there was lots of horse for sale.
The bazaar had a huge variety of items for sale. In the food section, there was also a variety of spices and seasonings, a large selection of cookies, rice, etc.
The large indoor section of the market sold all kinds of household goods as well as clothing and footwear. There are also small shops that provide services such as tailoring and shoe-repairs. If you wanted to buy something, for the one, there’s a good chance you could find it at the market.
For lunch, I had a couple of pastry pockets that are sold from food stalls. They come with a choice of fillings – cheese, chicken or ‘meat’. At only 100 Tenge each, they cost less than 60 cents US and are a great deal for lunch. I only bought one initially (chicken) but enjoyed it so much I went back for another.
There is also a pedestrianised shopping area that runs a couple of blocks on the way to the bazaar, with street artists, buskers, etc. There are several food stalls along the way where you can pick up inexpensive meals. There’s even a McDoner Kebab hut (I guess the long arms of American corporate lawyers haven’t reached this far yet to close him down).
All in all, a pleasant couple of hours spent wandering around the bazaar/market.