I keep strolling through the narrow market streets, past the leopard skin belts, Bob Marley T shirts and even more genuine antiques. Genuine antiques are everywhere.
I’m feeling hungry. I should try some of the street food. Even though I am an experienced traveler, I’m not sure about the food here. Hygiene? Not the best. Not sure about the ingredients either. I am pretty adventurous, but don’t know if I can handle what I see in front of me.
I am at the door of the “Don’t Mind Your Wife” chop bar; next door to the “Dr No Regrets” watch repairers. The Chop bar menu tells me they have the best Banku and Tilapia. It entices me in with the promise of “Madam Moko’s” special Fufu and light soup. Chicken, beef and goat all on the menu. Head, feet, beaks and innards all included.
I should really try something different. “Come on, be brave”, I say to myself. I usually try anything. . Well…. most things. Good thing I am not a vegetarian. Then again, I might be when I finish this little wander through the market.
In my travels I’ve noticed that poor people never waste anything, especially food. Every bit of the animal is eaten or used. Nothing thrown away. Outside the door of the chop bar is a woman selling pickled pork hocks. Pink hocks swimming in brine filled basins. The smell is insistent. I notice a row of goat heads glaring at me, crowned in a halo of flies. Fresh and caked blood covers the table where the Hausa butcher hacks away at small affordable pieces of meat. The Hausa people are the cattle and goat herders of West Africa. Women crowd around the stall pushing and prodding at lumps of meat for today’s meal. Many can’t afford to think about tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.
“Free Gift Tomorrow Enterprises’’ mocks the sign on a hardware store further down as I place my nose against my sweaty sleeve, trying to block the offensive smells that push through the hot air.
No refrigeration here. Everything is bought fresh and cooked that day.
I step over a carpet of caked blood and fur and decide to try “Don’t Mind Your Wife” another day.