Busy Fabric Market!

Field Trip fun! We decided to go explore one of the main markets in our area.   The first thing we saw as we parked were rows of fruit and veggies, and LOTS of yams! The market has one main road which you can see in the pictures.  It is crowded and difficult to navigate.  We were holding tight to our younger children so they did not get lost. Even one glance away and you could lose sight of the people you are with due to shoving and crowding and people shouting at you to buy their goods.  We were focusing on buying Nigerian fabric so we didn’t stop until we got to that section of the markets. There was plenty else around to distract us, included fresh plastic containers of raw and bloody meat, deodorant, jewelry, shoes and all kinds of sweet dough things being carried in boxes on vendors heads.  We finally arrived to the shop through a tiny unlit alleyway and we could  not all be looking at the fabric together.  There was room for about – 1-2 people at most…and definitely forget it if you don’t like anyone in your “space” because that just isn’t happening. We took turns looking and then continued to shop around at a few more cubicles where we had to be single file and you could mostly stand, and just turn around in your spot to shop.

What our pictures can NOT show is how hot it was, how we were sweating, and how the smells from all the people, the wares, the meats,  foods, the vegetables and very large garbage dumpster practically sitting in the very middle section of the market, all meshed and mixed together to make us decide that we had had enough for one day and let’s get in our air conditioned car that has the air freshener hanging off the rearview mirror!

As we made our way back to car we continued to see many curious sites and sounds.  The metal bowl of big, round fresh kidneys, a little boy with a huge bandage on a very large growth off his neck and someone with him trying to collect money, and young toddlers and children sitting on dirty shop floors where their families were doing their trade.

Most likely we will not rush back to this market.  Once again, we were reminded of a simple appreciation of  what so many people take for granted – clean, air conditioned shops that carry all the necessities,  with big parking lots and shopping carts to carry all you need.  And while the market actually seemed to be a “one stop shop” we fondly were thinking of the states and Walmart.  Somehow we don’t necessarily crave all that “atmosphere and personality” all the time to get the shopping done! 🙂

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Traveling through Tropea, Italy and enjoying lovely hidden alleyways.

beautiful alleyway in tropea italy

We had a wonderful family reunion in Tropea, Italy and found so many lovely views and sites it was hard to leave and only be left with our pictures.  We were exploring through the towns and came upon this beautiful site.  We hope you enjoy this view as much as we did!

Fishing in the Lagos Lagoon

A very cloudy day during the rainy season.  The fishermen are out in their boats regardless of the rain. For some reason we still love to see the boats and watch the fishing, no matter how many times we have seen it before.  It has to be done everyday, to survive and make a living.fishermen in the fishing village

Ukutula Lodge in South Africa and walking with the lions.

For our Thanksgiving we decided to spend our weekend with the lions at the conservation center called Ukutula Lodge in South Africa.  It was one of our favorite family experiences we have ever had!  The lions are rescued and separated by ages so you can play and feed the baby cubs, then the next older group you can play with and chase around.  The next older group of lions start to get rambunctious and a bit more aggressive but with an aid we are still allowed to be with them.  Once they are older you can take an early morning walk with the larger lions with a trainer along.  It was an fabulous time being with these amazing cats and see how quickly they grow and change.

We spent all afternoon touring around and seeing the full grown lions and lioness and learning about which ones had just had babies and how they would usually mate.  We spent the night in cottages on the property and grilled our dinner and around the fire played games and went swimming.  We could hear the roar of the lions throughout the night and even though we knew we were safe, it was quite eerie.

Elephant herds in Kruger Park in South Africa

When we went to visit the one of our favorite parks in South Africa, Kruger National Park, we encountered a herd of elephants crossing the road.  We stopped to watch them and enjoy their playful companionship with each other.  They were all headed in the exact same direction – straight to the watering hole. This was extremely delightful to watch and our family spent a long time observing the rapport of the different herds that were joining to  bathe, cool off and play in the watering hole.

Gardening – Nigerian Style

Around the corner from our house on the side of the road, a lady named Patience sells handmade pots and Linus the gardener sells plants. In the video, Linus helps get our plants into the pots we just bought. And that is the extent of his job! Everyday as we drive by, both vendors sit there waiting or selling plants/pots to passers by. But there are also hundreds of other vendors who do the same thing – selling lemons in wheelbarrows, or loaves of bread on their head. Also caught in the video is a lady carrying her baby on her back, and the goods she is selling on her head. In many ways thes people live simple lifestyles. Linus, our neighborhood gardener helped us get three new plants to put up onto our balcony with new handmade pots – all for the equivalent of 30 dollars!