I always take my time and walk along the rows before I start buying the day’s purchases. I look over the fruit and vegetables and causally ask a few vendors their prices. I have found that the lettuce and radishes are cheapest in the back where the vendors have their produce laid out on plastic tarps and crates. The apples are freshest in the front where the vendors display their shined and washed fruits and vegetables on recently renovated stalls. Women bustle around, hardly appearing burdened by the large bags they have hung over their arms. The men with carts yell “tachka, tachka” to warn you that you have about two seconds to move out of the way or else you will be run over. I pick up one of the apples and ask the vendor the price. “15,000 manat per kilo,” she says ($1.05). “No,” I say. “Give them to me for cheaper.” “12,000 manat,” I suggest ($0.84) and eventually she settles for 13,000 manat and I save a fraction of a dollar. Sometimes I evesdrop on Turkmen shoppers to hear the prices the vendors tell a native. By now I know the going rate for tomatoes or oatmeal, and I scoff at an inflated price and move on. The cell phone card lady greets me with a familiar “sen” used for friends, and she asks about my work. Every week I buy the same card from her, and when I skip a week she asks me where I went. The oatmeal lady lives in my town, and she gives me a good deal on a kilo of oatmeal that lasts me almost a month. The moneychangers incessantly ask me in furtive murmurs if I want to change dollars even though I have told them from the beginning that I only have manat. As I walk around I can hear people whispering, “she’s American” and this echo around the bazaar has become familiar along with the squawking of the birds, the pounding of heavy feet, the yelling of greetings across aisles and the crinkling of plastic bags as they are handed to the customers. Every Monday I take my reusable bag to the bazaar in Turkmenabat and try my hand at bargaining away at my shopping list.