Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Shopping in Cote d'Ivoire

I have complained about the lack of cheap souvenirs in Cote d'Ivoire. And I stand by that. Souvenirs that should cost $1 run $6-$10. And they are usually pretty shabby. And completely unoriginal. One factor is Ivoirian money being tied to the Euro - a plastic butter dish that costs $2.50 in the US runs $10 here. Also, I'm sure the lack of tourists contributes to the lack of quality and origniality as well. You can get a very badly carved giraffe with no problem - but there are no giraffes in Cote d'Ivoire (could be why they are so badly carved). Meanwhile, this country is lousy with all types of geckos and lizzards. Yet, there are no gecko-themes souvenirs to be had.

But, if you want to spend a bit of money - minimum $15 to start - you can pick up some nice things.

I got this pot at an embassy-sponsored craft fair. All the vendors were high end.

I hadn't seen anything like it in the craft-vendors on the Road to Bassam.
I also got this ceramic turtle from the same vendor.

I use him to keep my bedroom door open. He's not particularly "native," but he is cute. I don't remember what these cost me.

Today we had another embassy-sponsored vendor in, and I loved all of his stuff! I walked in and saw this seat/traditional pillow and just had to have it.
Original asking price, $70.

I was told the animal is an antelope. Note, no horns.

But I was told his was an antelope too. Note, horns.

I think the vendor knows the word antelope.
Anyway, this one's original asking price was $30.
I got both for a little less. If I had walked away and come back in a half hour I probably would have done better. But I am a lousy bargainer.

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