Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shopping in Nairobi

Friday I didn't work. For the first time since my arrival, I played the role of tourist. We (Samantha, my new housemate, Esther, and I) went to the Village Market in Nairobi. I was able to arrange for a ride that morning through Alisha, one of the elders at church. Village Market was not quite what I was expecting. It was like a resort. It had multiple levels, a variety of stores, and a huge Nakumaat (which is like Wal-Mart but you can seriously buy anything in one stop from a stove to toilet paper).  Most importantly, the upper level contained the Masaai Market where they sell arts, crafts, jewelry, etc. We were warned that to be successful at the Masaai Market you have to price bargain which I hate doing. So if someone offers you something at 1500Ksh, you say 1/3 of that price and meet somewhere in between. Honestly I was a little timid in the beginning. The sellers were constantly yelling, “Sister! Sister! Come over her. I give you good price.” Some would even grab you by the arm to pull you towards their merchandise.  I was trying to be stern, not smiling too much, trying to not seem like the sucker American. The funny thing is I spent so much time telling Samantha tips about bargaining and she proceeded to bargain better than I ever could. We met up with Esther (the other housemate) who gave us a few more tips and then we were set. I didn’t buy much...a few pairs of earrings, a couple of bracelets, salad spoons and bowls. Nothing big. We then walked around the mall itself (mostly looking in on all the very wealthy stores like art galleries and diamond sellers). After that, we took a small break for lunch. The lower level of the mall contained the food court which is an outdoor area with huge trees, water falls, and umbrella tables. It felt like we were in a different country. There were numerous types of food to choose from like Italian, Indian, Turkish, African, and German. There was even a pastry shop which was shocking since desserts don’t seem to be a key component of Kenyan meals. We walked around a little bit more, took a few pictures, got a few more deals at the market then called it quits. It was a nice, day and a good chance to get out of Kijabe.  Now it's back to work for the last few days.
With Samantha and Esther at Village Market

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