Retail therapy - African style!
Moshi Travel Blog› entry 10 of 13 › view all entries
October 8th, 2008 – by: AlexandraQuinton
Ruth, Kate, Sam and I decided to walk into Moshi from our hotel (around a 25 minute walk) as it was a lovely day and the hotel taxi was very expensive. Not only that, but we thought it silly not to do some exercise with a 7 climb of Kilimanjaro ahead of us!
We found our way into town and decided to grab a drink and some snacks at a local café. It was basic but nice, and the drinks were cold.
After refreshing ourselves we decided to go for a walk. We wanted to visit the Hindu temple in town as there was a festival going on that day. We arrived there only to discover that the festival had ended and all the statues had been put away. Disappointed, we left and decided we should get some boring things done such as changing money. We popped into the first bank, Barclays, where we were told we could only change money or cash travellers cheques if we had an account with them. Then we tried the next bank, and they wouldn't do it. So we walked all the way back through town to visit the first bank and had a bit more luck.
TIP: Don't take travellers cheques to Moshi - they're difficult to change and you get a poor exchange rate. Take US Dollars, Euros or British Pounds.
After this, we decided it was time for some lunch, so we heading in the direction of a restaurant we had read about in our guidebooks. It was supposed to serve great African food, and after all the Western food we'd been eating at the hotel, this was a welcome break.
As we were walking along the main street we were approached by some friendly street sellers, offering us batiks, banana leaf art and jewellery. We got chatting to them as we walked along and they seemed really nice guys.
I was talking to one of the men who said he used to work in Mombasa.
Anyway, they asked us where we were off to, and we told them we were grabbing a bite to eat. Then we realised we'd been so busy chatting with them that we'd missed our turning! They told us they knew a great place that they'd show us which served great food. We walked a few minutes further through a really gorgeous lane just off the main street. The ground was deep red and the trees were lush and full of fruit. One of the men picked a fruit from the tree. It was a strange looking brown coloured fruit (and I forget it's name) but he said that when it ripened it would taste very sweet.
We continued walking to the restaurant, (which happened to be our second choice from the guidebook anyway!). We ordered banana curry, dhal and bread. It was great, except the vegetarian curry clearly had bones in it!
When the bill came, we were surprised how expensive it was, but with the help of the guys (who probably got a commission for bringing us) we managed to haggle the bill down. One of the guys was a student at college and had a great portfolio which we looked through.
After we had eaten, classically, the guys wanted to show us their shop which was nearby. As they'd taken us to the restaurant and been so nice, how could we refuse! After all, we had gifts to buy at some point!
We walked a short way further and they showed us their shop. It was an Aladdin's cave of great items! Needless to say we were more than happy that we'd gone there! After finding our chosen curios, we started the fun part - haggling! I started first and got a great price for some jewellery, a kanga, some carvings and a couple of gorgeous batiks.
The others haggled well too and as it started to get dark I realised we had to get moving! We finalised our purchases, thanked them and departed for the hotel. It was a great day!
Upon arriving back at the hotel I got everything ready, made sure people were happy and got a good night's sleep ready for the start of our climb the following day!
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!