Tag Archives: Shopping

Skeerroom, witgoud en kittiekos

Elke week is dieselfde drie goete op my inkopielys. Skeerroom, toiletpapier en katkos vir ons nuwe katjie. Verlede week staan ek met neute in die hand; gooi dit in my mandjie en vis dit weer uit, en plaas dit beslissend terug op die winkelrak. My inkopielys het nog heelwat items op soos toiletpapier en skeerroom, waarsonder ons nie kan klaarkom nie, en neute was beslis nie ‘n noodsaaklikheid nie.

 

Na vele jare se gekerm oor sonskade het ek my Vrystaat-man niet oortuig om bevogtiger te gebruik. Ga! Eensklaps wat Men’s Magazine, Nivea ‘For Men’ adverteer gaan die lig aan – iewers in my agterkop hoor ek my Vrystaat-man se vermaning, “koop tog net Nivea, want daai Vaselien goete staan nie geskrywe is vir manne nie… “ Ai, Mammie is heel in haar noppies en besnuffel haar Vrystaat-man; diep in die nek, elke kans wat sy kry. Soveel goedkeuring dra die Nivea dat Nivea-se-skeerroom ook op die inkopielysie beland – so ewe in my man se eie krap-handskrif. Barbasol, was seker Noag-se-skeerroom, is op elke rak, volop soos boskak. Nivea se fênsie goete is skaars soos diamante en kos die prys van onwettige nier in diep donker Afrika. Maar my Vrystaat-man ruik blommetjie vars, en Mammie koop, want koop-koop se bêk hang oop.

 

Ek verwonder my aan toiletpapier advertensies – ek bedoel, wie kan daarsonder? Die goed verkoop hulleself, dis tog witgoud, maar enkel laag papier druis in teen my grein. Maar dis ‘n noodsaaklikheid in elke huis, so Mammie koop – smaak my meer toiletpapier as brood.

 

Twee keer ‘n week speel ek tennis by die ‘Lawn Tennis Club’ waar daar nie een grassie groei nie. Ons speel op rooi stowwerige kleibane, en begin ses-dertig in 28 grade celsius en stap nege-uur in 32 grade se hitte van die baan af. Hierlangs moet jy inpas bly met die Akkra reëls en in spierwit bloes op die baan uitstap of hulle weier jou deelname. Niemand lyk pikant in wit nie – boonop is ek drup natgesweet, rooi gesig en kook my brein in die hitte. Sodra ons klaar is glip ek gou badkamer toe en vee die ergste stof en sweet van my lyf af met ‘n klam handdoek. Dis heerlik vervrissend, en natuurlik het ek sommer ‘n rol toiletpapier byderhand in my tennissak wat oopbek op die vloer staan. (Alle publieke badkamers word nie voorsien van toiletpapier nie.) ‘n Klublid stap verby en vra of sy ‘my toiletpapier kan gebruik’ wat sy in die sak bespeur. ‘Natuurlik’ sê ek, en gaan voort met stof afvee. Toe ek terugdraai het sy 5x velletjies nagelaat en is skoonveld met die res van die rol witgoud!

 

Klaar tennis gespeel is ek uit en tuis, stap ek in die koel badkamer in waar my huisfeëtjie besig is om verwoed skoon te maak. Ek vra haar om later weer voort te gaan sodat ek gou kan stort. O weë, terwyl die water warmloop, bespeur ek ‘n berg ‘wit sneeu’ in die toiletbak. Net daar draai ek die stort toe en roep my huisfeëtjie nader en vra hoe nou? Sonder om te blik of bloos verduidelik sy hoe sy die stort se glasblaaie mildelik bespuit met my Vrystaatman se Nivea-For-Men se skeerroom en dan woert warts wegvee met dubbellaag toiletpapier, hoe sy dan die nat bolletjies behendiglik in die toiletbak wegspoel. – en dit laat die badkamer so blommetjie vars en sprankelend nalaat! Vir weke reeds vertel my man my hoe lekker ons badkamer ruik!

 

Vir die tweede keer in dieselfde oggend het Akkra se logika my katswink geslaat dat ek net daar staan en windborrels hap van verbasing.

 

Nou hoe gemaak, sy’s dan so kinderlik trots op haar vernuftige skoonmaak proses, dat al die verduidelikings van prys en bekostigbaarheid haar sleepvoet en dikbek laat. Teen laatmiddag skink ek ‘n koppie tee vir beide van ons en smeer ‘n paar skywe roosterbrood met botter en roep die huisfeëtjie nader. Die voete sleep nog maar die dikbek het ‘n paar bar gesak. Ek weeg bakmeel uit en bly doenig met bakpanne botter smeer toe ek uit die hoek van my oog sien sy is doenig met die oopmaak van ‘n blikkie kittiekos. Ai gônnakie Piet! Voor ek oor die lamheid in my kuitspiere kom, dop sy die piepklein blikkie katkos op haar roosterbrood om en hap smaaklik dat die jellie vanuit die mondhoeke drup.

 

Ek het opgehou tennis speel, ek maak vir eers self huisskoon terwyl ek opnuut adverteer vir ‘n ander huisfeëtjie. Op my inkopielys is ‘grootpak’ neute sommer heelbô opgeskryf.

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Makola market in Accra-Ghana

When in Rome – do as the Romans do!

Annatjie in Makola

Annatjie Maylon loved her first ever Makola Market excursion

There are a few adventurous things  every tourist to Accra (Ghana-West Africa) should venture out and definitely do. Visiting a market should rate somewhere high on your top ten experiences.

 

 

 

Of course it helps if you have access to a bat crazy friend to guide you to all the lovely spots. Just kidding. A healthy dose of humour and an open mind goes a long way into grasping a bit of culture and appreciating West Africa’s smiles and spontaneity.

Fabric Market - Makola

Hilde is famous , we went shopping in the fabric section for West African Wax Prints

Louisa en daniel in mark

Louisa van Jaarsveld and I in the yam market

According to Wikipedia: Makola Market is a renowned market place and shopping district in the centre of the city of Accra, the capital of Ghana. One can find a wide array of products being sold in the markets and its surrounding streets, from car parts to land snails.

 

 

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Space is cramped and very limited. A trader can stack all her goods on a tiny wonky table, and it’s best to point to something that interest you rather than trying to remove it yourself, and risking tumbling her whole display of goods over. So watch your step, keep your dress folds wrapped closely to your legs as not to get it snagged on a jagged edge of a tabletop-shop. Never lean over or against a trader’s goods, and be mindful not to bump things over while meandering your way through the limited walkways. They often kick up a huge fuss and swat you away like a pesky fly –if you obstruct potential buyers’ view while waiting or standing in front of a stall.

Makola gestapel

Goods are stacked high up on small tables

Be prepared to be overwhelmed with the onslaught of a thousand colours and smells. Sanitation is not the first priority, trading is. Initially the market seems haphazard and there is no plan or reason to the layout, but nothing can be further from the truth. Ask anybody where is the textile section, or stationary, of vegetables, or tin section, the timber market, the beading section, the secondhand clothing and the new clothing section, and the list goes on and on…

 

Makola tin market

This is the tin market section where an array of kitchen pots and pans are on offer.

It’s safe, but a bit of street savvy goes a long way. Tourists will be sussed by the quality shoes they wear (try Chinese one-dollar-flip-flops), their expensive watch (leave it at home), their new treads (old worn and faded t-shirt), excessive jewelry just a wedding band is advisable) and all of this will determine the initial asking price. Whatever the initial asking price is, you should offer half of it, and then finally settle on a buying price or “last price” just above half of the first asking price. Walking away if the price does not suit you is another skill to learn quickly. If you don’t fancy the trader’s haggling (they become too aggressive, dismissive or blatant insulting), then the best opt-out of a sale is to state, “in fact I don’t need it, or actually don’t like the colour” and walk away.

 

Haggling for a single item can be done in a minute flat or about five to seven minutes or longer if the item is old or expensive. So be patient, and never try to ‘rush’ through the market. Not haggling is just silly as you’ll end up paying double for everything. It helps to have small notes, and there are crafty pick pockets, so keep your money folded and tucked into different hiding places.

 

It’s extremely hot and sticky.

Gonda koop lap

My friend, Gonda Olivier was hot, but loved the Ghana colourful fabrics

Imagine sitting in the African sun, exposed all day, or having to carry  heavy market loads up and down narrow dusty alleys, someone is going to sweat, bump into you, and everyone will be hot an bothered.

Thousands of people go to the markets on a daily basis. So dress in cottons, buy a bamboo hand fan, women are advised to respect the African culture and wear a skirt, or be content with a clingy and rather aggressive inconsiderate suitor or two.

When the heat becomes unbearable, relax and ask for a ‘minerals seller’ and snap; someone will produce an ice cold Coke or Sprite or Fanta. Sit and take a five-minute breather and just take time to observe the hustle and bustle.

Many people don’t mind their photos taken, so after asking permission, they often strike a pose or surprise you with the biggest toothy smile you can possibly imagine. I understand that some of the older folk or even the Muslim community object, and I respect their privacy. I do get annoyed when traders demand money if they are to be photographed and I flatly refuse to pay up. Two minutes further up the same market alley, someone will definitely grant you some photo shots without demanding a payment upfront.

I hope you have an enthusiastic friend somewhere – ready to take you shopping, and guide you along the busy shopping alleys of an African Market.

It’s a fabulous African experience.