Friday, 15 February 2013

Shopping in Kenya - it ain't no Tesco...

I've been helping the economy over here in so many ways... mainly by buying shoes and pretty dresses and African baskets that I don't need (or MORE CRAP as Josh put it).

You are welcome Kenya.

The other day, 3 of us went into Mombasa central and did some shopping. Central Mombasa is pretty mental and attacks all of your senses, it's so damn hot and the traffic is zooming past you, horns honking, motorbikes revving, street children are begging, the sun is shining so hard you can't see and there are people EVERYWHERE.

It's fun though. You just have to know your limits and know where you can retreat to if it gets too much and you want an iced coffee to cool down with before getting involved again.

So the other day we were shopping and we met this guy called Omar who introduced himself as our personal shopper. I recognised him from a previous trip to town where I'd told him I wanted a coconut to drink from and he'd shouted 'I'll get you one!' and ran off into moving traffic and came back holding one with a massive grin on his face.

Hi Omar...

Omar took us all around central Mombasa and patiently waited while we tried on dresses (me and Mandy that is, not Josh) bartered for cheap spices and got chased to the ATM by some VERY good salesmen... all for the princely sum of 100 shillings as a tip (around 80p).

Shopping is hilarious here, the starting price for items is ludicrously high but hold out long enough and you'll get a good price. I find if you act like you're not bothered then the price will be slashed in half, if you show any kind of excitement about an item then they'll know you want it. Act aloof.

We're going back into town today to buy new shows for all the boys at Grandsons project. The only thing that the Sister told us is that if the boys have new things, they are more likely to run away and sell the items on the streets for glue. So you think you're helping, but you might actually be creating a problem, it's so difficult. But I'd rather help and encourage the boys to stay at the centre, so they'll get the shoes in return for staying at the centre for a set amount of time.

Let's go shoe shopping, Josh!

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