Today we went to the craft market Somboudinne. This is an artisan's market where you are expected to barter. I suppose you don't have to barter, but then you end up paying ridiculous prices. The exchange rate is about $1 to 500 CFA's. For example, I wanted a wooden thinking man. I didn't think that it would take twenty minutes to get the guy down to 5000 CFA. He started at 30,000 CFA and I was like, "Dude, who do you think I am?!" We went back and forth and back and forth. I said, "I don't think Obama would appreciate the way you are trying to rip me off!" He laughed and agreed to my final price, which was still too high, but I made it through my first bartering experience semi-successfully.
I think he liked my American bad ass attitude because he asked me to marry him. That's two marriage proposals here in two days. The first one was yesterday at the restaurant where we had lunch. The owner of the restaurant pulled me aside. Here is our exchange:
He said, "I just want you to know that I am looking for wife. You can come here or I go to the United States. I can cook. I am successful."
I replied, "I am happily married and very much in love!"
He sighed and said, "Do you have any single friends?"
Our in country coordinator has said that it's just a cultural thing, not sexual harassment. This all makes me miss Nate so much. He would get a big kick out of these crazy men asking me to be their SECOND wife. Ha! Sorry fellas, but I've got a hunky man who wants me to be his one and only and that's all I need!
Watching people make their goods with their own hands was awesome. There were different sections of the market, like wood, leather, and silver. People make their goods right next to or behind the booths. These are pieces that people buy from Terrapin or World Market in Kalamazoo without knowing where it comes from. That's why it was so cool to see people making them. If there is something you want, just leave me a comment and I will try to get it for you from the market. We are going back so I will take more pictures soon.
I had a little bit of an upset stomach today and my jet lag caught up with me but I am feeling better. I got to talk to Nate on the phone which made me feel really emotional. I was surprised because I thought that I was fine, but I think feeling sick today made me feel a little homesick. It was good to hear his voice.
Tomorrow everything in town is closed, so I am going to wander the streets, get lost, and find my way back to the hotel without too many vendors coming up to me.
Peace and love,