A Cornucopia Within a Labyrinth 

It was while dashing through the knotted bowels of a bazaar in Marrakech that I discovered the perfect shopping experience, as I was pursued by a trio of assassins who'd been hired by a local chieftain to punish me for teaching one of his wives the fierce joys of the flamenco. I was encouraged to quickly navigate the turns of the elaborate marketplace else I'd end up collecting a trio of poisoned darts in the back of my neck. And while the assortment of knives in my belt might have been sufficient to dispatch the rogues lapping at my heels, I thought it in bad taste to introduce American aggression into this otherwise peaceable culture.

So I ran.

Past stalls of desert fruits, past tents full of rugs, past legless men in palm tree shadows proffering bundles of hashish from within their robes -- when there, folded like a snake, was a dress made of red veils, a hidden feast within this maze. It would look perfect, I thought, flaring around the lithe form of a dancer. And then I knew exactly who I'd buy it for. Reaching for my purse of gold with one hand and a long dagger with the other, I reflected that for some things, you must know not only the price, but also the currency. And a good marketplace is the secret guide to that search.

Item N§ 47

Bizarre Bazaar.

Specs: 500 exhibitors, a Babylon of fine arts, crafts, gourmet foods, books, toys, clothes, jewelry.

Availability: Nov. 29-Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.,

Richmond Raceway Complex.

Price: $1.50-$7.

To order: 673-7015.

Item N§ 48

Bizarre Market

Specs: Art and often-peculiar crafts and trinkets from local artists with curious visions.

Availability: Dec. 1-24, Chop Suey Books,

1317 W. Cary St.

Price: Free.

To order: 497-4705.

Item N§ 49

Weinstein JCC Fifth Annual Holiday Bazaar.

Specs: Crafts, vintage items, jewelry, consulting, gourmet food, classy motifs.

Availability: Nov. 26-27, 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m., Weinstein JCC, 5403 Monument Ave.

Price: Free.

To order: 545-8615.

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