Today, Asha took me toe the Tais Market, which are traditional woven cloths. According to one website I found :
Tais are traditionally made for ceremonial occasions and/or given as tribute in traditional ceremonies so there is no traditional custom of selling or buying which is why at local markets you rarely see them for sale. There are two main types Male or Mane and Female or Feto, The Mane Tais are usually quite large piece of woven cloth with tassles at each end, These are tied around the waist and worn like a sarong, The Feto Tais have the ends sown together to form a tube that you can step into and wear like a dress.
The strange thing about this market was its tiny size. The way I'd heard it talked about from other expats is that it is _THE_ spot to go for tais., but it was small and relatively out of the way. It was clearly marked with roadsigns to lead the way (a rarity here!) and evidently erected in cooperation with USAID and the Ministry of Tourism. Yet, it wasn't very impressive. The best thing it had going for it was mass - atleast 20 shops piled together in "traditional" corregated metal huts. I guess USAID provided the metal? I dunno. While certainly handy for "tourists" (in this country, its mostly development/UN folks), it kind of sucks for the vendors. I always felt a bit bad for vendors in this situation, because unless they all agree on a bottom price, there's no incentive for shoppers to buy from them and not go to a neighbor.
I also bought a moon-shaped crown, on which I can't find anything but this picture to help me explain it. It's the thing on the woman's head in the top picture. Cloth, you can get anywhere in the world, but a half moon/horn crown is something else entirely. Will search around tomorrow when I have more time to discover what on earth it does...
After leaning my pant leg on some wet table varnish (which is now a permanent part of my wardrobe), we left. The work days are going fast, but soon I will be left to my own devices to organize an entire graduation in a language I don't speak - so I'm doing my best not to panic.
Tonight, I'm going out with my colleague who is leaving and will hopefully drink my cares away, wake up and the entire graduation will be over.
Wish me luck!