“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro
“It’s the people. I get all of my inspiration from the people” – Oliver Mtukudzi
If I don’t visit Zim Zim again in the near future, this is my final post about this beautiful country. Although I covered the highlights of Harare and Gweru in my previous posts, it won’t be fair if I close the Zimbabwe section without mentioning my Flea Market and Mereki Drive-in experience. Lets start with the Flea market. How did we learn about this market? Thanks to our two Zimbabwean High School friends – one is a prospective musician, other is a prospective painter 🙂 The flea market, located just behind the Avondale Shopping Centre in Harare, opens seven days a week and is always busy with customers. The market provides deals, discounts and various products from clothes, gadgets, children’s toys, books to souvenirs like paintings, masks, and fabrics.
From the market, listening my musician friend’s advice, I bought the album of a famous Zimbabwean musician, Oliver Tuku” Mtukudzi. Oliver, with his husky voice is regarded as a legend in Zimbabwe. He has become the most recognized voice to emerge from Zimbabwe and onto the international scene and he has earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond. Quick research about him on the web “Mtukudzi has had a number of tours around the world. He has been on several tours in the UK, US and Canada to perform for large audiences. He also incorporates elements of different musical traditions, giving his music a distinctive style, known to fans as ‘Tuku Music’”.
Moving on…What else to know about the Flea Market? Bargain! You should always negotiate prices, vendors in the market are happy to interact with you and make good deals, if they see that you are interested in their products. Personal experience: a 6 dollar bag became 1 dollar at the end of the day!
Another advice, don’t buy everything you want to buy from a single shop! Once you leave a shop, you will realize all other vendor are all waiting for you. They go on like this “ohh madam, we have been waiting for you, buy something small from us as well. You bought from him, now its my turn. Come come and look inside” and without even realizing you find yourself inside their small tent.
Enough shopping. Now its time to talk about our Zim Gala Dinner! “Mereki Drive-in”, popular open air drinking and braai spot in Harare. Special thanks to our local Zimbabwean driver and his brother who took us there.
This is how it works. You go there with your car. Once you enter the area, young people approach to you, wanting to be your cook or waiter. There are more than 5 butcher shops in the area. You choose one, go in, buy your meat. Then you take your meat to one of the cooks.
While you wait your meat to be cooked, another young boy approaches you and gets your drink order. Then he quickly runs to the nearest shop and buys your drinks. He receives 1 dollar for his service 🙂 What about side dishes? Same story! You order some salad and sadza from another place. Then you wait patiently for your food. Or you enter the kitchen like me…
Or learn how to balance a basket of kitchen stuff on your head like African women. (Carrying on the head is a common practice in many parts of the world, especially in Africa, as an alternative to carrying a burden on the back, shoulders, and so on.)
And finally after all this hard work, here comes your food. You get a table put right in front of your car and a free hand washing service.