martes, 4 de abril de 2017

When to bargain and when not !

The general European conception about dealing with the middle eastern is that they should bargain or haggle for a better price. In Europe you have price labels, taxi meters and no-one argues with them they take it or leave it. In Iran like many other third world countries sometimes labels lack, there are no taxi meters and you could end up paying much more that what is due. So here are some useful tips. If you want to buy a rug, carpet, jajim or kilim then try not to buy it in Isfahan. Try the big bazaar in Tehran first and buy from a whole seller. Here you should bargain a little perhaps for a 20% reduction. If going through the labyrinth of hundreds of narrow alleys in the bazaar is unattractive for you then try Shiraz, Qom or Yazd. You are much less likely to be ripped off. If you have seen something you like and it happened to be in a shop in a touristy area of Isfahan then bargain hard and long. A family staying with us came across a rug they really liked. It happened to be in a shop in Isfahan. The seller quoted 6000 usd. The family had a friend abroad who was a carpet dealer so they took a picture and send it to him for consultation, the verdict was : 2000 usd maximum price ! They bargained hard and got it for 2200 usd! I AM NOT JOKING. Getting a taxi for a long ride: bargain a little, make a counter offer of some 10-15% less and if the car is in good nick then get into it, road safety in Iran is abysmal. When never to bargain (or at least almost never): when I quote a price :))) I work hard where no-one has ever done anything like it before and believe you me it takes a lot to organize things and make sure they run smoothly. This is not Austria where you can pick up the phone and get a guide who speaks Khalkha dialect! Many locals have had to be convinced that people do actually prefer to walk rather than sit in a crappy car and see the trash along the road. The latter is not called hill-walking or trekking! Thank you! Especially to Anje and Dino for prompting me to write this post. Happy trekking!!

Isfahan-Qazvin for the Valley of Alamut

There is a bus from Qazvin to Isfahan at 1300 hours and one from Isfahan to Qazvin at 22.00 hrs. Qazvin is the nearest city to the valley. Enjoy your trek!