Subject: Re: Bargain Shopping
Hi Ziners The world abounds in great markets for shopping. Here are a few of my favourites.

The Night Market in Chiang Mai, Thailand, has great bargains. A lot of the clothes we buy in North America and Europe are made in Thailand, China and India and some of them find their way to the Night Market. Pashmina scarves sell for as little as $10.00, brand name jeans for $7.00 and there are also beautiful Thai offerings.

The Ya Bao Lu Russian Market in Beijing was an experience though I hear it doesn't live up to its reputation these days. Ziners who have been to Beijing in the last year or so may have more information on this.

The stalls alongside the Duomo in Florence and on the Rialto in Venice ( offer quality leather goods amidst all the souvenirs. Don't be put off by the fact that they are being sold off of tables or hanging off the bridge - the mark-up is that much lower. The designs in Italy often can't be found elsewhere. I have a gorgeous leather bag that is over 10 years old and, through many fierce Canadian winters, still looks like new. I paid $40.00 for it. A leather jacket that I bought for $300 was selling in one of our upscale stores for $1000.00! But my best find was a small shoe store on a sidestreet off the Duomo in Siena. The window displayed what appeared to be orthopaedic shoes but when I went in I found a wide variety of bargains. Don't be put off by the window. The red leather shoes I bought for $35.00 always raise comments when I wear them.

Isle sur Sorgue in Provence has a weekly market - I think it's on Sunday. There's an antiques market - one of the largest in France - and other vendors also set up stalls along the Sorgue River (it's more like a creek). The fabulous Marseilles olive oil soap is $4.00 for a huge bar (here in Toronto it sells for $10.00-$12.00) as well as the classic lavender soap of Provence.

In Taxco, Mexico, we bought beautiful wooden tea boxes that I use for jewellery. If you know about the quality of silver, you can also buy pieces for a fraction of the cost elsewhere.

In Chimayo, New Mexico, we purchased beautiful rugs at Ortega's Weaving Shop. Because we bought more than one, we were able to negotiate a discount. Chimayo is a centre of weaving in New Mexico. When in New York City, visit Century 21.

Finally, this is not a bargain but a shop that I love. Hove Parfumeur in New Orleans, 824 Royal Street has been around since 1931. Hove makes its perfumes and colognes on-site. The staff is knowledgeable and the epitomy of Southern hospitality. They will ship anywhere in the world - ask for a sample kit to find out what perfume or cologne best suits you. I have been buying from them since the early '90's.

Now if only we could find a discount wine seller in France, Spain or Italy. Suggestions? Lucy, Toronto