Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Too Little Shoping Time in Swaziland

The Swazi are renowned for their crafts and most of our time in Swaziland is designated for shopping. While I am eager to do some shopping (Christmas shopping as well as a few baubles for myself, you know), our designated stop is at the Ngwenya glass factory, noted for its range of “enchanting African animals, birds and fish, as well as tableware, made from recycled glass that is collected by the children of Swaziland.” Shouldn’t the children be in school? Not exactly what I’m looking for.

But it turns out that the glass is pretty nice. . . if not “enchanting” enough for me to feel the need to bring some home. 
Better yet, but discovered too late, is the row of shops behind the glass shop. 
We shop as quickly as we can, but there just isn’t time to get through all the lovely handmade items awaiting us in Gone Rural, Tintsaba (with its amazing collection of silver and sisal jewelry, some of which really should have gone home with me), Quazi Design (some of this amazing paper jewelry did find its way into my bag), among others. So very many lovely items!

I am not the only one who verbally abuses Roger for the briefness this stop, haranguing him for not giving us enough time to actually do some shopping. He’s conciliatory. Since time is running late, he offers to take us directly to the next shopping stop (a Swazi candle factory and craft market) instead of taking the scheduled stop at our hotel first.

He has many takers.

We expect to not be interested in the candle factory (Lane and I really aren’t big candle people), so begin our visit with the other shops and the outdoor craft market.
I don’t find much I can’t resist in the market, but one of the shops yields a treasure trove of baubles, including a lovely intricate ostrich egg shell necklace and a bunch of bracelets.

We dash into the Swazi Candle shop just as it is closing – what wonderful work!
We still didn’t have enough time, but Nancy managed to snag what appears to be a very large giraffe. (It’s completely swathed in packaging, so we can only speculate.) They are our shopping mascots. 

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