Thursday, March 31, 2011

72 Dollar Cleats

Playing in the rain

Two updates so close together? Yep. It’s happening. I have to write an update RIGHT NOW because I need to tell you about our day.

So there we were, sitting at home. Taylor got invited to go play soccer again at four pm, and he needed to go buy a pair of soccer cleats to play in. We arrange everything to go, Kasavubu shows up to come with us, and it starts raining. Boo. We decided to wait it out for a bit, eat lunch, and then hit the road. We are finally on our way and we arranged to meet our friend Dominique downtown. The traffic on the way is absolute fujo (chaos) and it takes us about 20 minutes just to get there. Cops were stopping cars, there were cars stalled, it was just nuts. After a long while of this, we finally arrive at the place we are meeting Dominique (who had been waiting for us for a bit). We start walking around looking at the shoes and we don’t have much luck. Dominique suggests we go to Kadutu market, which is a taxi ride a little ways further. This market is very crowded and apparently has a lot of thieves, so Kasavubu called Brenda to see if it was okay that he took us there. She said yes.

Kasavubu found a taxi and we get in and discuss the price. The driver told us he would charge ten dollars for the ride up there, wait for us, then the ride back. Taylor talked to him to make it very clear what it was going to cost, five dollars up, five dollars back, ten dollars total, no more no less. The driver agreed. Off we go.

We get to the market and it is just awesome. I love it. So crowded and busy, people are all over the place. Kasavubu leads the way, Dominique and I follow him, with Taylor behind us. They are keeping an eye on us, and we are keeping an eye and both hands on our bags. We have to go down some long, uneven steps where people are selling things on both sides. They are touching our arms trying to get our attentions, “Muzungu! Muzungu! Madame! Mama!” They really wanted me to buy their socks.

We get to the shoe section, if you will. There are PILES of shoes we are looking through, and we only found one pair of cleats that might fit Taylor. These shoes look worn and used though, so Dominique suggests we go down another level. There are newer looking shoes down there. Kasavubu told us this might be hard because Taylor’s feet are so big. Haha.
We find a few more pairs, finally. After much debate and bartering, Taylor, Kasavubu, and Dominique talked the lady down to 12 dollars for the pair that Taylor liked. I sat back and watched the show. And it was quite a show! We attracted a crowd of people around us. And I’m sure they were all giving their input, it’s just the African way. Anyway, 12 dollars. Sold. We start to make our way back up the long, uneven stairs out of the market, trying to avoid making eye contact (except Taylor, of course, who was saying Jambo to everyone who made eye contact with him) with the people shouting and touching us. We find our taxi and our taxi man and try to get out of there. When we get into the car, I start to dig into my purse for our cell phone, but I can’t seem to find it. I ask Taylor if he has it, he checks, doesn't have it. Dominique checks her bag, Kasavubu checks his, I dump mine out and check again… it is nowhere to be found. So we go over our day. Last time we used it was when Kasavubu called Brenda to ask for permission. He told me he gave it back to me. I don’t remember him giving it back, but that really doesn’t mean anything because I’m a bit of a flake. If he gave it back, I either put it in my pocket and it got stolen at the market (not likely, becauseTaylor was watching like a hawk), or I held it in my hand and left it in the taxi when we got out. So we check around in the taxi. Nope. But then I start to remember that Kasavubu got a phone call in the market, and when he was on the phone, I checked for mine and didn’t find it it right away so I just gave up. I don’t think it was in my pocket. So my assumption is I left it in the taxi and the driver maybe picked it up. We ask him, he doesn’t say anything. No clue where that phone is now. And it really stinks because we just put ten dollars of minutes on it the day before. Dang it! We try not to worry about it too much, because that doesn’t help. We just accepted the fact that we owe Ed and Brenda a new phone. Sigh. Too bad. We start to pull up into town again and decide to go home so Taylor can change, I can grab the camera, and we can go to his soccer practice. The driver pulls up to where he wants to let us out and we get out to pay him. Taylor and Dominique each give him a five and we start to walk away, but the driver stops us and tells us we owe him another five. What?! No no no no no, we agreed on ten. Here is where the drama starts. The driver was saying that we took too long in the market, so we owe him extra. Dominique is saying that the driver never told us he would charge more and we aren’t going to pay more. Taylor made it very clear in the first place that it would be ten dollars TOTAL for the drive there and the drive back. No more, no less. He would NOT give up. They stood out there arguing about it, and of course, a crowd starts to gather. He starts telling the neighbors the situation and Dominique is snapping her fingers in his face trying to get him to just talk to us, not everyone else. Taylor and Dominique are both refusing to pay, and I figure it’s about over, plus I have to pee. So I run inside real quick, come back out and Kasavubu has stepped into the yard for a second, pulled out money and went back out and paid the man. Taylor and Dominique don’t like this, but it happened and he drove off. Kasavubu was saying he was a thief and a robber and wasn’t going to back down. Even after they paid him, he was saying he was going to call the cops. No he wasn’t. Plus, we were right. And five extra dollars is expensive in this city. We got ripped off. We paid Kasavubu back, and he went on his way. So as much fun as we had, those dang soccer cleats ended up costing 72 tiring dollars. Let’s do the math. And really, if any of you know me, I don’t do math. So I didn’t actually figure this one out, it was my husband. So here we go… 12 dollars for the cleats 10 dollars lost on the phone 25 dollars for a new phone 10 dollars for more minutes on the new phone 10 dollars for a taxi ride 5 more stupid dollars for a taxi ride TOTAL: 72 dollars. For a pair of African cleats that are a little bit damaged. Phew. But the day isn’t over, and in fact, gets a lot better. Taylor runs in to change for his soccer practice, Dominique and I sit and stress. Haha. As soon as he comes out and is ready to go, it starts to downpour. And I’m not talking just a quick rain, it was a MONSOON out there. Just insane. Taylor runs back into our bedroom to look out the window and he can’t even see the back wall of the yard. Taylor then says, “I have to go out there.” Naturally. And, with a little convincing from Dominique, we join him. The backyard has two steep hills in it, one on top of the other, so after we ran around for a bit, we decided to slip n’ slide down the hills. Oh, so fun. Although, I think we may be feeling the effects of that later. But it was great. We were absolutely soaked and filthy by the time we got finished. Oh, and freezing. Oh, and also, just the day before, I had a fever. I probably shouldn’t have been out in that cold rain. But whatever, worth it.

Dominique and Bonnie

When we finished playing and taking pictures and what-not, we came inside to get dried off and dressed into warm, clean clothes. We had dinner plans that night at Mama Kindjas with Joel, Liz, and Lewis. They picked us up around 6:30 and we head off to dinner. Such a good dinner, too. Between the six of us, we ordered two fish,  three orders of fries, four orders of goat, one chicken, an order of ugali (that doughy, bread-like thing Taylor is crazy about) sombe (green leafy sauce stuff), tomatoes, and fried bananas. A lot of food. Oh, and guess what? The fish had their heads still on them. Guess what else? I ate them. And they were delicious! Taylor thought they looked disgusting, but little does he know. They didn’t give us any silverware, so we ate everything as finger food. Holy cow it was so good! Ripping the fish off the bone with our fingers… mmmmmm.

We went to bed exhausted and happy, and I was way too full from eating too much. But all in all, it was a really good day.

The fish, before.
The carnage


  1. Wow! Dominique played volleyball at Lewis Central. Small world.

  2. HAHA That's what I was going to say too!! Also I'm proud of you for eating a fish head. :) Love you my sister.

  3. Hahaha that's awesome! Can't believe you ate that Bon! So proud of you. And so glad you're having so much fun. My guess and with my background of watching Law and Order:SVU, the taxi driver stole your phone. Crime solved. You're welcome.

  4. Wow, that was some good drama! Great photos of you in the rain!