Balogun Market

Close you r eyes and you will hear horns blowing, engine noise and one thousand conversations.  Open your eyes and see a kaleidoscope of colors in front of you and across the street as well as thousands of people.  The shops are 4 foot wide and 8 foot deep with racks on all 3 walls full of fabric from ceiling to floor.  There are all colors of the rainbow as well as fabric from all of Africa (Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, Gabon, South Africa and more).  There is no door or air conditioning, but hops have one light in the ceiling.   There are fabric and then fabric with lace woven into it.  The colorful but plain fabric for every day wear and the laciest of fabrics for special occasions and Sunday Church wear.  The senses were overwhelmed.


This morning 7 of us ventured to Balogun Street on Lagos Island in search of dress fabric.  Some of the ladies were after skirt fabric or blouse fabric, but two of us were after fabric for traditional dress.  Balogun Market is on Balogun Street not too far from where Rocky works.  It is a street traversed on foot or by okada with people everywhere.  Occasionally you will see a car as it is difficult driving due to the volume of people in the street.


So where does one start with so many choices.  As this was my first time here, I followed my friends observing the wide variety of fabrics.  I was after dress  and headdress material as well as fabric to cover our bar stools.   After viewing several shops I found blue material overlaid with gold with hints of pink and lavender for a dress.  The shopkeeper wanted 4000 Naira (NGN) [~$34].  We bargained and I paid 2500 NGN (~$ 21)  for 6 yards of the blue fabric. All fabric comes in 6 or 12 yards lengths.  I then selected the pink fabric (that matches the dress) for a headdress from another shop.


 For the bar I found brown black with a pattern that matches the carvings on the front of the bar.  The gentleman wanted 4500 NGN (~$38) but eventually settled for 2500 NGN (~$21).   All in all, shopping took us about 3 hours. 


As we walked back to Breadfruit Street where the drivers and cars waited we bought 2 bags of oranges (6 oranges for 200 Naira [$1.70]).   As it turns out those oranges was lunch as we got stuck in traffic and it took 70 minutes to get home (normally 20 minute drive).  My next foray will be to find a tailor.