Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 11, 2011

Today was a decompression day – our last day in Blantyre. We slept in had a leisurely breakfast buffet and wandered around the property for most of the morning. As with most hotels there are shops and kiosks on the grounds. There was one shop here with a variety of local and international goods. The young woman running the store was articulate, knowledgeable and very helpful. With her help we bought a number of local items.

Late in the morning we decided to go out to the market and see what there was to see. The market we went to was only a few blocks from the hotel. Our friend Happiness (we had encountered him the first day we were in Blantyre) recognized the Canada cap I was wearing and was our guide through the market – he just insisted we visit his stall before we left. There were no other tourists there so we had the attention of ALL of the merchants – all at the same time – putting items in our face and in our hands – pulling us towards their merchandise – telling us they were broke – and eventually arguing with each other about how they should speak “one at a time” to us.

We did see a number of things we liked and then the bargaining started. Merchandise that started at $100 US frequently ended up being bought for 1000 Kwatchas. Helene had never experienced this before so she stood there in a little bit of awe as I bargained. The toughest part was to keep her from saying “don’t forget I really, really want this item.” It didn’t make for good bargaining when they knew I was a soft touch for my wife.

However we did get a few things that we like and although we probably overpaid we were happy and Happiness and his friends were happy.

Dinner at the hotel restaurant and an early bedtime and we ready to start our way home


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