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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scenes from a Souk...and other foreign shopping adventures

When I travel abroad, I like to shop where the locals shop and see things I wouldn't see here in the states. These pictures of hijab and date merchants (below) were taken in the Casbah in Algiers and the souk in Constantine, Algeria.If you've never been abroad, it might be hard to imagine a place where every road is an invitation to commerce and sidewalks are optional.

But this summer, these traditional markets were harder to find. I had the impression that everyone had seen American advertising and wanted to emulate it.
These My Look is my favorite store name, bar none. But I also saw plenty of familiar American logos where the sign and the store didn't quite match up.

McDonald's was everywhere.

As was Pizza Hut and Burger King, sometimes in the same building.

And I'm not sure where I've seen this guy before, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't at a place where they served chwarma and kebab.

I would love to hear your foreign shopping tales. What was the most unusual shopping experience you've had, and have you ever noticed a store sign that stuck with you long after you left the store? Thanks


  1. OMG! That is soooo funny, Clarissa! These My Look is priceless. And what does the NO FROST mean underneath the chwarma Big Boy??? Oh, and the McCool Pizzeria....fantastic.

    I've been abroad, but nowhere I went had anything quite so humorous. The small villages in Portugal I spent time in didn't care about trying to be American...everything was decidedly Portuguese. In Spain the McDonalds and Pizza Huts pretty much looked like ours, only the food was sooooo much better somehow! And London...well, it was London. LOL! No language issues to result in humorous signs.

    Thanks for the laugh this morning :)

  2. All good questions, Jerrica. And the answer is? I have no idea. Thanks for posting.

  3. That's Elby's big boy in the last picture. How a regional chain like that made it to Algeria is a real mystery to me.

  4. Thanks, Aislinn. I had no idea what he was called. I guess we don't have that store in Idaho. But he is apparently doing well in North Africa.

  5. I'll never forget my first visit to Arbot street in Moscow. As a wide-eyed 19 year old, I didn't know what to make of the shouting and haggling and truckloads of stuff. I bought the mos beautiful handknit cashmere shawl from an old woman making them on the sidewalk, and I would give anything to go back and buy a dozen more - they were only $20!!
    I would love to go back someday, and this time have the time and resources to really explore the city. One familiar sight? McDonald's, of course!!

  6. Hi Clarissa,
    This was a hoot! In our part of the country (midwest) we have Marc's Big Boy--same character. So that's funny! We lived in Germany two different times and, while it's much like America in terms of westernization, it was still different. Little fast food places called Imbisses, served all deep-fried foods: cutlets and wursts and fries. Fantastic. But since we had small children at the time, we didn't always have three hours to sit at a restaurant and enjoy the European leisure lunches--so we (horrid parents that we were) made it a game to eat at McDonald's once in every city we visited. It was fun to see all the varied decorating: Louvre-type statues at the 2-story Mickey D's in Paris for example. And, in Germany, you could always get a McBier. Awesome.

    Fun blog--thanks!

  7. Oh lol so funny, Clarissa. I've rarely been outside of NC, only a few times so far. I'd love to travel anywhere, I'm not really picky lol. I'm so envious of all your travels and you take such wonderful pictures. I always enjoy your posts. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I've only traveled to Mexico when I was a kid and I remember the marketplace was crowded and scary because I kept losing hold of my mom. This looks fascinating and I love seeing the American logoes in such a different context. Great pictures!

  9. I've only been to Mexico and the island of Victoria, Canada. I envy your travels. Someday. . .

  10. Clarissa, I love all your travelogues! I wish I could travel to such exotic places -- before they become too much like what we have at home! LOL