One thing that remains a standard in all developing nations that I have been in is the prevalence of selling odd items on the side of the road. Ranging from the ubiquitous food items of sugar cane and fruit to large plaster of paris bas-reliefs of ‘The Last Supper’ covered in glitter (saw that one at the US-mexico border crossing.), now that I live in a developing nation I have had the opportunity to ‘collect’ these sightings. I will note that these are things that I have not seen in stands along the side of the road, that is a whole new category, these are things that I have seen being carried along the side of the road. It is important to mention that these men (always men) carrying these items for sale are usually wading in and out of cars nonchalantly, now as soon as they see my white face they make a bee line for our car and persist on waving whatever object they have in their hands right in our faces, as if suddenly by invading my car’s space and making me feel uncomfortable I will want whatever they have. Once while driving with my Kenyan friend Marcy this very thing happened and she said,
“I drive by here every day, and now, that I have you in the car, he thinks I need flowers.”
I will start with the obvious and move to the shocking:
1. Fruit, bags of plums, bananas, oranges, apples, you name it.
2. Sugar cane (of course)
3. Paper cones of peanuts.
4. Bag of peas (after Scott said no, this got waved even more aggressively at our window)
7. Wooden carvings
9. Magazines (from all over the world!)
12. Bad hotel art (Painting of calla lilies on black, etc.)
13. Toy helicopters
14. Toy cars made out of bottle caps and wire
16. Flowers (this is a dozen long stem roses mind you, not a sorry daisy or two)
17. Electric hair clippers
18. Flavored milk
19. Pirated DVD’s
20. Wall maps of Kenya or the world.
22. Aluminum Christmas trees
23. Car floor mats
24. Jumper cables (there seem to be men who choose to be automobile themed and are often carrying both of these items)
So next time you're in a developing nation you can impulse purchase a pet by the side of the road.
30. Fan belts (of varying sizes) We envision a scenario like this: Your car breaks down, you say, "Oh shoot, my fan belt broke. Now what am I going to do? Wait, no problem. Here comes the fan belt guy"
31. Flags of Kenya and other various countries
32. Stuffed animals (and stuffed Shreks)
33. Pad locks
34. Assorted Obama paraphenalia (buttons, t-shirts, etc.)
35. Leather jackets