Tuesday, April 7, 2009


On Sunday morning we went to an African market (there are no pictures, as I did not have the courage to take out my camera, maybe next time). It was huge, dirty and very loud. People running, people selling, people buying, children walking all about the place, no shoes on, and the smells, the smells of Africa.

You can buy everything there but you ALWAYS have to haggle, even more so if you´re white (at some point Jandro gave up and I guess overpaid but can you blame him in this heat?). Oh, have I mentioned we´re white, by the way? Very distinctive feature in a place like this. Among hundreds of people, we only saw three others whose skin was not the beautiful colour of pure dark chocolate (I´m not trying to be poetic, I just find those people truly beautiful).

We were looking for some things for the bathroom and at one point we went into a shop (a big stall really) which was full of little children, 3-year-olds maybe. When we were walking out they blocked our way and one of them looked at us boldly and stretched out his hand in the international gesture of "pay if you want to cross". They learn quickly here.

As we wanted to buy bed linen, we stopped in front of one of the stalls that offered some. Immediately a man appeared and offered to show us the best bed linen ever. We agreed (when I say "we", I mean Jandro, as I´m unable to communicate out here - unless you count my helpless smiles) and followed him. He led us through the market ("Oh my God, we´re going to get completely lost!") and down some stairs into a dark alley, where black men were impassively sitting by their goods, smoking ("Oh my God, this is how we die!"). We started feeling uncomfortable, so Jandro said something about lumière and we turned back. The man did not give up, however, until we took a look at his fantastic, American (he assured us), bed linen. I think we left him thinking that it was a good argument, because after he repeated "American" a dozen times, we paid him.

We also bought a local treat there, manioca (see photo). It´s the basic food here, like potato for us. They cook it, make a kind of very thick paste and wrap it in the leaves. Then you eat it (cold) as sidedish but it doesn´t have much taste I´m afraid. Nevertheless, that´s what "God has given them to eat", as the seller informed us.

Anyway, I loved the market (in spite of the complete lack of hygiene and in spite of being called "white" every five steps) and I hope to go back with my camera (or, more specifically, to pluck up the courage to take it out of my bag). And also to buy some material for my African dress. :)

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