Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kicking & Screaming

Like most men, I’m not a good shopper. Ask my wife. On the extremely rare occasions that she does manage to drag me kicking and screaming to the shops I can be found sitting on a bench with the other bullied men glancing at our watches every ten seconds, muttering darkly to ourselves and then pretending to be interested in our partner’s purchase when she finally emerges triumphantly from the shop several long hours after she disappeared into its sinister depths. I admit I have a liking for window shopping though, but only when the shops are closed and there’s no chance of me accidentally falling into a shop and injuring my wallet.

I do make one exception however – African artifact stalls. I find them endlessly fascinating with their skilfully carved stone and wooden animals, tribal masks, ornate drums and baskets, some so tightly weaved that they can actually hold water. The Zimbabwean artisans are particularly brilliant and one can obtain some beautiful souvenirs from the shops and stalls of Victoria Falls, usually at ridiculously low prices.

I also enjoy looking out for the unusual shops and business names that one can see when travelling Africa’s dusty roads. In Kenya I saw “Riungu Veterinary Surgeon and Butcher.” Don’t take your pet lamb there would be my advice. In South Africa there was “Happy’s Barber and Bicycle Repairs” and in Zambia “Uncle Toby’s Bottle Shop and Undertaker.” Quite handy if you want to drink yourself to death.

Mind you, Africa is not the only place you can see some interestingly named businesses.
Malaysia has the “Kent Turkey Fried Chicken Café” (Kota Bahru). “Soon Phat Restaurant” (Cameron Highlands), and my personal favourite “Phook Yew Communications” (Kuantan). They’re probably a subsidiary of Telstra.

Anyway my fellow shop-aphobics, take heart. You need not fear African shops and markets. Even you will find them interesting and stacked full of irresistible goodies that will grace your lounge room for years to come.

Cheetah Safari
6 Days from $2195 per person
Nairobi to Nairobi
This safari combines game viewing in the Amboseli National Park at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro with big game viewing in the world famous Masai Mara. A stop at Lake Nakuru en route provides an opportunity to see the flamingos.

For more information call me - Peter Emery on 0449 689 447
or email peter.emery@ucango.com.au

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