Confession: I have a few Achilles heels in my life. They’re nothing serious, but I’m a sucker for the following things (in no particular order):
- Henry & Miles
- Leather (preferably black)
- Shrimp scampi
- Shrimp linguini (Red Lobster & Olive Garden, please!!)
- Cookies & Cream and mint chocolate chip ice cream
- High-quality framing
There are a few more, but I won’t bore you. However, when I went to the bazar on Saturday, I discovered that I might have a new one… handcrafted knives?? Who would have guessed? I mean, who doesn’t think that African machetes, complete with a leather handle and sheath – all handcrafted, mind you – are cool? Who wouldn’t want one hanging on one’s wall? I think what got me was the leatherwork (see above). The one I bought on Saturday is made with brown leather – they had a black one with the same design, but it didn’t look as nice, and I didn’t like it as much. Oddly enough. There were actually a few booths/vendors with leatherwork, but only one had machetes.
And the jewelry. THE JEWELRY!! It was everywhere, in all shapes, sizes, materials, and quality. But the booth that caught my eye was the Touareg silversmith and jeweler from Niger. Beautiful creations made of silver and ebony or silver and precious stones such as lapis lazuli, amber, jade, etc – and they were all exquisitely engraved by hand. The artist in me went nuts, and I just had to inspect many pieces closely. SO AMAZING! And so pricey. Most necklaces were over $100, and earrings started at $30. But I just couldn’t pry myself away from his tables, so I bargained with him and purchased a silver/ebony necklace for a much more reasonable price… I wasn’t about to hand over the FCFA equivalent of a Benjamin Franklin-Ulysses S. Grant duo, despite the fact that it was all handcrafted.
My last purchase wasn’t made at the international bazar – I bought it at the Indonesian ambassador’s house. Every year his wife invites women from Indonesia to come to Dakar and bring their silks and hand-dyed linens/cottons, jewelry, and sculptures. Then she opens her home to a select audience. People can come and see how the cloths and designs are made, and of course, they’re welcome to buy things, as well. It was really something to learn the process of drawing and dying the designs on the fabric. Depending on the size of the fabric and motif, it can take up to 1 year to create one piece of material suitable for sale. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take my camera. Big mistake. I didn’t buy any fabric or pre-made clothing (Indonesian women are tiny, so the dresses would have only gone around my thigh), but the jewelry caught my eye. Once again, see above. So yep, I came home with this. It looks quite beautiful on!
So there you go – a glimpse of what types of gifts I buy myself….