As we were leaving the shop to return to our car for the journey back to Nouakchott, a small girl ran up and begged us to follow her to her Mother's shop. News had at last permeated that 'tourists' were in town
looking for beads and their shop had been opened especially for us.
On entering the shop, we found a group of ladies, two pretty but shy-looking sisters, their mother,
grandmother and assorted female friends .. all sitting on mats on the floor, surrounded by a variety of local arts and crafts. Most were of the 'tourist fodder' variety, but we were offered a small selection of traditional
aromatic beads, leather, stone, silver and brass items.
It was so hot, that not only were Gabriel and I dripping with perspiration .. so were the ladies. After the initial
greetings and questions of where we were from etc. .. for the sake of moderating prices, I predictably entered my "and are you married?" mode', directed to one of the sisters, who really was very attractive .. and half my age !
Her shyness quickly disappeared and with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes, stated that no, she was not married. Within ten minutes of somewhat hilarious laughter all round .. involving translations from my French into
our future marriage was well on the way to being arranged. Then she mentioned the bride price.
It all became a little confusing after that .. but I think we finally
agreed that if I returned with a price of 12 camels and around 8 million Mauritanian Ouguiya .. the marriage was definitely on !!
-Converted, that is the equivalent of £15,000 / $30,000 .. I wonder how much a camel costs ?
Amidst continuing laughter from all concerned .. and knowing that I had met someone with much greater 'price fixing' skills than I .. we had a very pleasant bargaining and buying
session with her and the rest of her family and friends, lasting much longer than first anticipated.
Gabriel even bought a few new Kiffa beads, which I teased him about later. Having driven long distances to visit
Chinguetti, he had bought new Kiffa beads of exactly the same type and price,
which .. on another of our previous travels
.. he had refused to buy in the town of Kiffa itself !!
Shown above is a selection of the items we bought .. click on their pictures to be taken to the same or
similar items which are offered for sale on the pages of www.africantradebeads.com.
Perhaps we might have found a greater selection of interesting items if we had visited during the
'tourist season' .. but from reports read elsewhere, we might also have been inundated with large crowds of persistent 'guides' and begging children. So perhaps we were there at the right time.