Shopping

Lajpat Nagar

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When you’re looking for clothes or fabric in New Delhi (and who isn’t with Diwali just around the corner) there is only one place to go, Lajpat Nagar Central Market.LajpatNagar

Named for Lala Lajpat Rai (the Lion of Punjab) Lajpat Nagar is an affluent suburb of South Delhi and is probably best known for its Central Market. Lajpat Nagar Market is a very large and crowded market with numerous lanes of shops and stalls selling a range of goods from traditional Indian clothing, jewellery crockery and even trending Western clothing.

Each lane of shops will sell within a focused type of goods, such as costume jewellery ranging from small earrings, “jhumkas”, wedding costume jewellery and bangles of all sorts. Other lanes will focus on traditional Indian attire with intricate saris, salwar kameez, sherwani and more. If a shopper is looking for more diversity, trending and designer western style clothing is also available by simply turning down the proper lane of shops.

Mehndiwalas (appliers of Henna) are very famous in the market and people love to get their hands tinted in the traditional Indian patterns.

Although overflowing with options and treats, Lajpat Nagar market is a place of high bargaining. Be ready to haggle, but remember, the more you buy the better the deal.

Bargains on the Streets

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Street VendorsIndonesia’s street vendors are a very large and profitable sector of the country’s economy.  Some estimates have the sector at about 90 million people or around 40% of the total population.   Aside from food carts and fruit stands on every corner there are independent vendors selling everything you can imagine, much of which you wont even have to get out of your car to buy.  The government has encouraged these entrepreneurs and has designated areas for street vendors throughout Jakarta, some indications are that poverty across the city has dropped by 8% due to this policy alone.  Spotted being sold car door to car door today included; books and atlases, a squirrel, rice cakes and a fully inflated swimming pool chair.

Shopping in Jakarta pt. 2

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Shopping in Jakarta is a study of extremes, you can find bargains on the street or shop like royalty.  Jakarta has some of the most opulent and glamorous malls you will ever see and whether you are searching for high end fashion or electronics you can find it all.  Mall culture in Jakarta is well established and malls are used in some ways a lot like parks might be used in other cities.  One local saying is that “the only parks in Jakarta are car parks” (parking lots) and while there is some truth in this, when the malls are clean, cool and entertaining the AIG understands the appeal, especially on a hot humid south east Asian day.

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Shopping in Jakarta pt. 1

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durianJakarta is non-stop, the city hums through all hours and the streets are full of vendors selling everything you could possibly imagine.  Most neighborhoods have at least one area that is the domain of the street stall and often the area is themed.  Looking for an exotic pet?  Maybe a bat, owl or monkey? Those are found around block M.  Feeling edgy? You can shop for swords and knuckle dusters near Glodok and then relax after your shopping with a fresh Cobra blood cocktail on Mangga Besar (it’s cheaper for Python).  Shopping in Jakarta can be an experience to say the least but the old and the new sit comfortably side by side, in part 2 we will show you Jataka’s malls, a consumer experience that challenges Dubai or Singapore for sheer opulence.

Bats

fruit market

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The Smallest Market in the World

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img_8485Throughout Delhi, wherever you look capitalism reigns. The most notable evidence of this to western eyes is easily the street stall markets that seem to be everywhere you look.  A combination of small sheds, tables and wheeled trolleys using the sidewalk (or road) for their shop space. What really surprises you  is the diversity of shop that is represented in these markets; hairdressers, stationers, electronics and even small manufacturers. AIG have been using a local market printer who’s shed is taken up almost entirely with a large floor standing colour laser printer.  To give you some context of the size of his shop, when he has to replace the paper in Tray 1, he has to step outside.

Chandni Chowk

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ChandniChowkChandni Chowk in Old Delhi was once the grandest of markets in all of India. In 2012 it remains impressive if simply for the density of humanity that push through its narrow side streets and stores.  The AIG, on a mission to Lal Quil’ah (the 17th century Red Fort) for some Sunday culture threw themselves into the human tides and emerged enlightened.

Observation of the day:  a man walking the streets carrying a spear…a real one.  He didn’t get jostled as much as we did.

The Only Thing Stationary in Delhi

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Stationary-01In need of office supplies the AIG ventured out to find the biggest stationary barn in CP.  Much to their dismay “Delhi Stationary Superstore” turned out to be a one aisle corner shop.  There we learned a lesson in the importance of the shopkeeper, the owner had one…of everything.

Shopping in Delhi is a very human experience, most stores cannot be negotiated without help and you come to realize that there is an amazing efficiency in the entire process.  Once everyone expects to ask for help, the shopkeeper no longer has to concentrate on displaying their wares for the customer, they shelve them in a manner that suits their business.  This is why with less than 250 square feet Delhi Stationary Superstore rivals Staples and is the greatest store in the world.