I’ve been on the look-out for a pair of cute shoes for awhile. Every time I walk to Immigration, I pass a little market where vendors have all sorts of random objects spread out on broken-down cardboard boxes along the path. The first vendors one comes to on the way to Immigration are the shoe vendors. One man has all women’s shoes lined up neatly on cardboard. The next has men’s shoes. The next children’s. Most of them are used, donated from North America. (I used to think they were stolen but have been told they legitimately come from donations sent to Africa from America.)
Today I stopped to try on a couple pairs. One pair fit well and was cute, so I asked the price. Here is the conversation that followed:
Vendor: 380 ($15)
Me: Ha! (handing the shoes back) Why are these shoes so expensive?
Vendor: Okay, 350 ($14).
Me: No! So expensive!
Vendor: Okay 300 ($12).
Me: And if I am Mozambican. Then how much?
(Much laughter from surrounding vendors watching this interaction.)
Vendor: No, no, this is Mozambican price. You think I make American price?
Me: Yes. It’s true, you do. I want a Mozambican price.
(More laughter from surrounding vendors and repetition of phrase “Mozambican price”.)
Vendor: But look, it’s leather.
Me: Yes, it is. They are pretty shoes. But they’re not new.
Vendor: But look, they’re only a little bit used. In America these cost $100.
Me: (laughing) $100?! In America I can buy used shoes for $3.
Vendor: $3? No. They are $100.
Me: Thank you very much. They are pretty shoes, but I am not paying this American price. (Walk away to continued laughter and sounds of the phrase “Mozambican price” from other vendors.)
Now I’m on the look-out for a pair of cute, Mozambican-priced shoes.