Jacob and I went out today to see the Toi Market. He needed some shirts and heard that you can get really good deals.
We arrived and the place was packed. The shops are about 8ft x 10ft all clumped together in an area that’s a couple acres big. The building is made of wooden pools, corrugated sheet metal, old plastic bags and whatever else people can find.
You can find pants, shirts, bags and other trinkets all at very discounted prices. It’s mostly secondhand and we even saw a bag that had a Goodwill tag on it. The price of the bag was $6.99, but the vendor was selling it for 1800 Kshs; more than twice the price on the tag.
Jacob and I ran into a salesman who walked us through the narrow, rocky and uneven paths to his shop toward the back. This guy was a trip with his Grease shirt and his neverending flow of compliments. We probably went through two dozen shirts as Jacob tried them on. He even went so far as to buy us a couple of cokes, sending someone off to get them. I wish salesmen were this awesome in the U.S.
Haggling is an art form that we both realized we don’t have. At the end of the day though, Jacob was able to get 4 shirts for less than $20.
I found one thing very interesting while we were there. Local people really don’t appreciate you taking pictures without asking. If you look closely in the first picture of this post you will see a fair amount of displeasure on their faces. I later wanted to snap a picture of this kiosk below and people were really mad. I apologized, asked if I could take a picture and then they were ok with it. So, when in doubt, ask for permission while in Kenya.
After learning my lesson I saw a really cool image of this guy cooking fish in oil. I asked if I could take a picture and he said ‘200.’ That’s about $2.50 so I respectfully declined and thus no picture.
When you come to Nairobi, don’t bother with the touristy markets, go to the Toi Market near Kibera as it’s definitely an interesting experience.