Last year I managed to find the huge Gypsy market outside Sophia in Bulgaria and it was a real treat, both in terms of Photography and actually buying random, interesting, obscure stuff. This year I found the market in Skopje. It took me some time to locate because it was previously close to the city centre but the authorities deemed fit to move it from sight (directly in front of the US embassy...) and pushed it to an industrial area well out of the city.
I was happy to locate it and the had the same excited feeling upon entering it as I did last year in Bulgaria. Gypsy markets are the bees feckin' knees in my book. Not only because here one can observe amazingly random characters and find incredibly random stuff for super cheap but because of the whole idea of them. Recycling all kinds of stuff that others don't want anymore, old men refurbishing things that we in the 'West' would just throw out. Old ladies frying burgers in the heat, men drinking beer and laughing in the shade. Kids running amok amongst the debris.
Of course people say 'but don't bring your camera, there are thieves!' and i'm sure there are, like there are anywhere but I can honestly say I feel totally at ease in places like these, I find people smiling, I usually end up chatting to most of the place, via my amazing co-pilot, translator and fixer, Angie.
I was very tempted to buy an old accordian for a nomadic Irish busking mate of mine who'll soon be in Skopje. 600 Denars, around 10 euros for the accordian but I aint dragging an accordian around for no-one.... I know where to find it if my mate wants it!
Me and Angie bought perfectly good adidas runners for €6, an hand carved wooden pepper grinder for €2, and a set of hand enamelled clay pots for cooking the Macedonian traditional bean dish 'Tavce Gravce' for 50 cent but we broke one on the way home.
Gypsy boys winked at me, old women smiled. People were happy for me to take photos and usually ended up laughing and although usually I have no idea what's being said I kind of get it anyway. Long live gypsy markets! I'd happily spend my weekends trawling through the mountains of stuff, seeking the gems that still can be found, after all, it's all about the hunt.