Saturday, November 12, 2016

Buy It Here: Fabric Shopping

It's my fourth day wearing black.  I'm in mourning, you see - my home country appears to be on the brink of burning to the ground.  Maybe I'm exaggerating.  I'd love to be wrong.  When I saw my Dark Lord and Master on Facebook yesterday morning, I hit him up for some words of comfort.  As usual, he answered with a thoughtful, well-written analysis, and it made me feel a little better (admittedly, he's a man who considers Chinggis Khaan to be one of history's greats and a personal hero, but since I'm surrounded by people like that, it didn't actually take anything away from what he had to say).  Still, I'm concerned.  I almost wish I was going home, so that I could fight the thing that really worries me - the ignorance and hate that has already started rearing its ugly head, if Twitter is to be believed.

But I'm not.  If I can't get my dream job, I'll stay longer, or go wherever I can, if they've already replaced me by the time I give up hope.  In that case I'd like to leave something behind.  Guidance, let's say, for the next person who comes along.  So I'm going to try to write some find-it posts.  Last time I showed off my sewing projects, so it seems apropos to start with where to find sewing stuff.
I use a lot of special stuff for my plushies that was brought from the States, but obviously I can't fit all the yards and meters of fabric I need in my suitcase.  Summer taught me that if I'm home, I should start and finish looking at JoAnn's, because they literally have everything.  Unfortunately, Mongolia doesn't have JoAnn's.  Or Michaels.  Or even a freaking Hobby Lobby.  What it DOES have is Naran Tuul - aka, the Black Market.  Not that kind of black market.  This one is legit (a fact that I already mentioned when I wrote about it my first year)...when it isn't on fire (yes, that's happened, fortunately in the early morning while no one was there).  And amongst the many, many things that are available there is fabric.   There are two similar blue-roofed buildings in the Black Market.  The fabric and associated supplies are in the left hand one, if you're looking from the front.

You have to do the proper mental preparation before you go to the Black Market.  It's crowded, and busy, and there's not a lot of space.  People will push past you, and if you try to be polite and wait for people to get out of your way, you'll be there a long time.  There are also pickpockets, so you have to be aware of your surroundings (and for the love of everything good, if someone offers to take you there, don't give them panic attacks by having your passport on you!)  But it's my best suggestion for one-stop fabric shopping that doesn't involve getting on a plane (I left Korea nine years ago and I still miss Dongdaemun).  They have a variety of fabric, buttons, ribbons, thread - most of what you're going to need - and bargaining is sort of expected.  For me, the drawback is that it can be really dirty.  The fabric market is covered, but not fully enclosed, so all of the coal dust/dust/other pollution stands a chance of coming into contact with your cloth.  Most of the fleece I bought there I just washed once and it was fine, but I bought some pale pink this fall that I ended up using most of my supply of Goop to clean...and it still has some nasty spots.
There are other options, of course.  One is the variety of small shops scattered around, called "boos baraa" ѲС БАРАА).  There are a number of these on Baga Toiruu, up the street from the Flower Center, past the stop light and on the other side, but I've seen them in other places as well.
The ones on Baga Toiruu seem like to function like the fabric market in Shanghai - you can actually get clothes made there.  And by clothes, I mean deel.  And by fabric, I mean silk deel cloth.  Four-plus years I've been here and I still haven't had traditional Mongolian clothes made for me, but when I stumbled into this shop, I almost did it that day.  They had Hello Kitty fabric.  Hello Kitty isn't really my kind of anime, but she's one of the few cartoon characters Babysis has any attachment to, thus, Bunny loves her.  It is possible that Bunny loved my new Hello Kitty skirt so much that she demanded I bring it to dress up at the family reunion this summer - you won't know for sure because I've censored the photos, but let's just say that when a three-year old tells her favorite aunt that she only gets to see twice a year to bring her "tutu," it happens.  I haven't given Bunny a deel yet, mostly because Babysis wouldn't appreciate it, but this might be the year.  It can't possibly be worse than the glitter-covered Rapunzel dress she got from me last year!

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