Brandon was in the good graces of somebody, as we started out ahead of schedule, arriving in the Grand Bazaar (with reportedly four thousand shops) half an hour before time. Our first purchase was a pashmina for my mother, which I bought at the first shop we entered, and fairly easily bargained the price down almost half. We dispatched with trivets next, using the time-honored tradition of walking away, and left the storekeeper not quite happy with how things had gone on his side. After the trivets came Christmas ornaments. When the storekeeper asked where we were from and I replied 'Cairo,' he immediately dropped his price almost to my initial offer. We finished off our shopping with a nice bowl, and another good bargain.
To Brandon's amazement, we were leaving the Grand Bazaar within forty-five minutes of our entrance with our treasures in tow. We had enough time left to withdraw money for our hotel bill (which took some time, as Brandon's card was blocked; thankfully mine worked), eat an ice cream cone on the grounds of Topkapi palace, and watch the top-sellers outside the Blue Mosque.
As we rode in a taxi to the airport, we both agreed that the trip was a wonderful success with nary a disaster the entire time. And when our flight was even on time, we wondered what we had done to have the fates smile down on us so kindly. We had an absolutely wonderful time, the weather was beautiful, we were hardly harassed at all, and we never got lost for more than ten minutes. I can't remember a more pleasant string of five days I've had in a very long time.
Which is good, as it's now time to get ready to leave - in less than three weeks.