In search of a local craft market in Bata
Well that was a bust from the perspective of taking lots of photos at a local market! Tourism is not obviously promoted here, perhaps because there seem to be a lot of coup attempts so the government doesn't want foreigners swarming in.
The side effect of that is that Bata is like a huge suburb and just as anywhere in the world, suburbia is not where you find places catering to the tastes of tourists.
I asked the guys I work with who are locals for a recommendation for a market and that's where I was headed with great anticipation. Turned out be a street filled with stalls selling cheap imported clothes and cheap toys. Which explains the looks of disbelief they gave me when I told them that's where I wanted to go. I guess 'market' has different meanings depending on where you're from.
To top it off, the car I was in had a huge crack across the windshield on my side, eight stickers covering the top right hand corner and a bird left a flying deposit smack bang in the small open area I may have just been able to point my camera. No chance to take videos of the neighborhood as we drove around.
However, opposite the supermarket where all the expats go there was one small stall selling local wood carvings, woohoo. That local currency was burning a hole in my pocket.
I couldn't take a photo of all their wares displayed across the pavement cause they had sheets of plywood covering them protecting them from the sun.
Here's my wood carving haul.
These are a lovely combination of wood carving and bead art, two of the most prevalent art forms in Africa (that I've seen). I love them they are so elegant. About 12" tall.
These next ones are carved from a really light wood. My driver couldn't translate the name of the wood, so I guess I'll never know. They remind me of Groot from the Marvel movie "Guardians of the Galaxy" but with lips.
OK not all that similar. Isn't this a great pic of Groot though with his relatives in the background. If you haven't seen the movie click on the pic and it will take you to the website.
This mask is only small, about 5" high but its made of bronze so its quite heavy .
And here is the bearded King of the Village. This one is life size, you could put your face inside it if you were a ten old.
I'm quite happy with what I found and that's all that will fit in my bag to go home.
It's more than I bought in Senegal where I had a gazillion choices. I have to say though that what I found here I have not see in Senegal and Cameroon, the only two other African countries I've visited. Most of the craft markets in the larger cities seem to get their products from out of country, which defeats my objective of finding something unique from each country.
Sadly I didn't find anywhere that sold locally produced oils so when I get back home there won't be any soaps made with Equatorial Guinean ingredients. I do have something though that will make them somewhat unique, but that has to remain a surprise.
Well that's all folks. My big day out was for a total of an hour and a half, now its back to work.