Our meeting with Ambassador Maajar was cancelled for this evening (hopefully to be rescheduled before we leave), but that left us with a mostly a free day to research, take a last walk around town, and pack for Zanzibar. We left a little after lunch and headed over to a local seamstress so that Kelsey could get something repaired and then we walked to Africafe for a cup of coffee and some lunch. After lunch, we made a quick trip to the market again. I didn't buy anything, but watching Gretchen haggle with the people is entertaining.
The market is a bit of an overwhelming experience at first, but I have gotten a little more comfortable with it. When I walk in, they immediately start yelling. There are hundreds of small booths all filled with locally made crafts. There are things made with beads (one entire side of the market is women sitting on the ground making things out of beads), wood carving, paintings, spears and knives, masai shields, and lots of fabric. The booths are arranged in 4 or 5 narrow aisles, big enough for one person to pass down with booths on the left and right. The booth owners are all urging you, in a combination of swahili and broken english, to step into their shop. "Friend, Rafiki, come in...look is free...touch is free." and they will literally block your path to urge you inside their booth. They are harmless and will move as soon as you let them know you are not interested or push against them, but the concept of personal space does not exist here. If you do step into their booth, the booths are dark and narrow and they step in behind you to block your path yet again. The shopkeepers do not miss a thing. If your eyes linger on one thing for more than a second, they are dusting it off and trying to make a deal.
We finished with the market and headed back toward the hotel. Tomorrow, we are headed out to Zanzibar. I am not sure what the internet situation at the new place will be so we have to play it by ear. The place looks nice, but then again, so did the one we were booked at in Arusha. Either way, its been two weeks here and I am glad we are going to have some new scenery. Back to packing :-)