At Albert Market in Banjul and the Craft Market in Senegambia, you need to have your wits about you if you want to get some wooden tat for less than it costs to drive to Dakar in a bush taxi. The best way to get a good price is to really not want something in the first place. A set of bracelets started off at 300 dalasai (40 dalasai to a pound). Through displaying (quite genuine) disinterest, I cleverly got him down to 50 dalasai for 2 bracelets. I just wanted him to go away and thought the completed transaction might achieve that. Wrong – he followed us all the way out of the market, down the street and to the car. By this time, all the bracelets were available for the bargain price of 20 dalasai.
In Senegambia market the haggling is a bit more hardcore. George managed to get a lovely big wooden monkey for the bargain basement price of 350 dalasai. I managed to get a big African shirt and some African fabrics for 750 dalasai, haggled all the way from 2,000 dalasai (a night in a luxury hotel here), which is still a total rip-off. I did get a nice plate of mango, pineapple, melon and banana from a kindly looking woman street seller. I enquired whether these came from her farm – “no, we bought them at the supermarket”. A snip at 310 dalasai, probably 10x more than you would have paid at Waitrose. But I did get some peanuts thrown in for good measure. But I made some nice friends on the way, including one chap who used to live in Brighton – “loads of gays”.
Karen update: she got back from Senegal with husband Tony in one piece and is flying back to the US today.