Thursday, November 18, 2010

Island Cruise Day 3, Part 2

Remember all those Vegas showgirls so popular in the late 80's and early 90's? If you've ever wondered where they ended up, tonight I found the answer: They're all working the cruise ships of the Indian Ocean!
Okay so admittedly the beautiful girls on this particular cruise may be their daughters, but they have that same awesome Vegas flair. We just got back from a show called 'Storm' and I was pleasantly surprised. Yesterday I gave it a miss and sent the missus on her own. Tonight I regret that decision, because apparently last nights performance involved less attire than tonights bikini-parade! How do you get less attire than a bikini?

Now to the highlight of my day.
We boarded the rubber dinghys to Bazarutto (as mentioned in Part 1) and were immediately met by the crafty salesmen of the beach market. No pun intended. Every concievable wooden craftwork was on display, from jewellery to ornaments to ashtrays and even ships and helicopters. On the boatride over to the island, I had already advised the missus that buying from these markets was almost gauranteed to be a rip-off, so we planned on doing our souvenier shopping at one of the Chinese shops once we arrived back in Durban. Doesn't everybody do this?

Anyways, I know the missus loves her trinlets and home ornaments so I silently figured that unless we saw something we really desired, I wasn't going to show interest in anything on display.

Along comes Toni.
He's a woodcarver extraordinaire! I don't use that word lightly.
This guy has got talent oozing out of his uncut fingernails. He sat there carving a mannequin as we watched him in awe, so I already knew that he was not simply a broker or salesman, but the manufacturer as well.
This is important because as any Indian knows, it indicates that the price will be cheaper because we've already removed the Middle-Man (think Outsurance).

The missus and I both fall in love with an amazing carved Toyota LandCruiser, painted and detailed so well it would make a Japanese car designer shed a tear. The next item was a splendid Coke bottle, again carved in wood and painted very artistically.
Toni could sense my interest and his keen entrepreneural nose smelled a deal coming along. What he hadn't accounted for was the fact that I was no European tourist armed with a wad full of Dollars. Oh no. Toni hadn't accounted for the Indian from Johannesburg armed with Rands!

I picked up the LandCruiser, the missus picked up the Coke bottle.
Before either of us could inspect the items further, Toni already had his arm around me telling me how he was going to do me a good deal.
Off the mark he wanted R700 for the Toyota and R200 for the Coke bottle.
My Grandad always taught me that whenever you're in a negotiation, the seller will start with a high price, and you should start with your base price around the 'For Free' range. That way, when you meet each other halfway, you can assume you got a good deal.

Toni was no amateur salesman.
I was no amateur customer.
This was going to be a battle of wits to the bitter end, and the last man standing would walk away with the spoils.

I'd give you a play-by-play of how the negotiations went, but it's easier if I simply say that we ended up with me giving Toni R140 and my old sunglasses I had bought at the roadside in Jozi for R20.

He spent a full 5 minutes telling me he thought he was being conned.
I spent a full 5 minutes telling him to not be so negative, and think of it as a lesson in Indian Sales Technique.
The missus was gobsmacked and I had to lift her jaw off the beach. She admitted to me later that she would willingly have paid R600 for everything!

Indian Aunty wants to visit me later to take notes and have me sign autographs.

I'll post a pic of the LandCruiser and Coke bottle when I'm back.

In case you haven't already figured, I'm writing all these posts and saving them on my iPad since I have no signal... And as soon as I do I will be posting them. Which means there may be 5 or more posts all arriving at once :)

Adios until later.
Sent from my Apple iPad® wireless device