Saturday, May 8, 2010

A place to shop...

Kinshasa: where donated clothes go to die. Well, or sold on the streets.

If the jeans above look familiar, they probably are. And if you happen to be in the market for some 1990's tapered, stonewashed, mom-butt jeans, then you are in luck. Kinshasa is a place where all nostalgic fashion mistakes can be relived. That is, if you are lucky enough to find the right size. And if you don't mind your clothing purchases tinged with street dirt and burning trash smell.

T-shirts are another hot item. I think we have seen 93% of all t-shirts ever created worn on the streets here. Fake FBI t-shirts. "I'm kinda a big deal" t-shirts. UCLA Law t-shirts. Boca Raton t-shirts. We've seen it all.

Once, I even saw a Columbia Association t-shirt (from where we lived in Maryland) on a woman who worked a fruit stand. I tried to take a picture but, once again, the woman wanted me to pay her $100 USD. I offered $5. Then $10. Both were refused. I almost took the picture anyway but people were becoming somewhat hostile and we were a ways outside of the city. It's interesting to me that someone who is selling fruit for 50 cents would turn down $10 dollars and hold out for $100. Some cultures do not want you to take their picture because they fear that you will be taking a part of their soul. This does not appear to be the case in Kinshasa. It seems that some just try to make the most out of a situation. I don't blame them, but I can't see myself ever paying $100 dollars for a photo. It would have to be something pretty big. Like a unicorn. Or the Lucky Charms leprechaun.

I'll try to get some pictures of t-shirts to post soon. Photography is still proving to be a bit of a challenge. Sometimes, but not always, one has to choose safety over a picture of a co-ed naked bowling t-shirt.

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