Fun n games at the Maasai market

Just a quick blog to bring mine up todate.

Yesterday, as we had no more training to do, we decided to take a leisurely breakfast, spend some time chilling in the secluded, wooden gardens of the camp……the atmosphere of which was added to or encroached upon (depending on your point of view) by the Hallelujahs and songs of praise accompanied by a live band coming from the church across the way……whils n ot really my cup of tea I give them A* for stamina and stickability……they were still going strong after 3 hours.

Eventually, we caught a cab into town and were dropped by the Maasai market which was being held in the car park of the City’s Supreme Court. We were to be accompanied by our young friend from Ruiru, Kris Mbogo, who often comes with us on our training workshops. Of course as it was Kris, and Kris is always late, so 15 minutes after we arrived and 75 after he said he’d be there Kris turned up all cheerfulness and friendly as is his way.

We went for lunch first and found a rather nice Tratoria which allowed us a cheap but nice lunch and more importantly 2 not so bad double esspressos, which one of the comforts I most miss on these trips, so this was a treat.

After lunch we ventured into the market and Kris was immediately accosted by one guy who tried to explain that he would be our one guide through the market and that he would secure the best prices for us. He was immediately followed by several others who were intent on taking everyone in seperate directions in order to ply their trade on what they thought were unsuspecting Mzungus (white folk) and in this context what are known by conmen here as ‘Marks’.

I was happy to play along for a while as I ensured we all stayed together so that nothing untoward would happen. However, by keeping this group of conmen together they all started poking, proding and getting in our personal spaces. People who know me know that this is not the best thing to do with me and my hackles started to rise until eventually I had had enough and told them all to clear off! Or words to that effect! The original guy, who had a bit more about him, still tried to ride my ire by congratulating me on doing a great job of getting rid of these ‘bad men’. His attitude changed when I told him that that meant him also and that we were capable of walking through the market on our own. At this point he asked where we were from — he had identified us as Americans — once he knew we were from the UK and clearly possessed some street-wise he departed in high dudgeon muttering about his preferences for Americans who , and aplogies to any US friends reading this, have more money than sense in his eyes! 😉

Of course, this did not end the stream of beggars and stall traders eager to give their new ‘brothers & sisters’ from the UK a very special price……. a price that they would give to no-one else you understand. Lol. If you can think of those David Attenborough nature programmes of seals and sea lions on an overcrowded beach, with gulls and other assorted marine life all biting & snapping aggressively at intruders encroaching on their territory and squarking at passers-by at the top of their collective voices — then double it — and you start to get an idea of what the Maasai market it like. Great fun but definitely not for the over sensitive or gullable because they will be relieved of their cash and anything else that takes their fancy in double quick time.

We all came away enjoying the experience and with what we considered were bargains whilst the traders still made a profit…..just not as big a profit that they thought and the best thing was that the conmen knew they had been given short shrift! 😉

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