Thursday, July 03, 2008

You Know You're In Africa When... (Part 2)

  • the owner of your taxi sends along a mechanic on your trip because he knows the car will most likely break down along the way.
  • you take a leak behind a bush by the side of the road while said mechanic is repairing said broken down taxi.
  • your taxi's rear door is tied shut with a piece of rope, and its hubcaps are held on with zip ties.
  • you see women carrying their groceries or their wares on their heads and their babies on their backs.
  • you wear a kerchief over your hair to protect it from all the dust.
  • you spray your bedroom for mosquitoes before going to bed and sleep under a mosquito net.
  • the phrase "in ten minutes" really means "in the next hour or two" or even "sometime today."
  • you see chickens, goats, and pigs walking down the road in the capital city.
  • "good" and "nice" are relative terms, especially when describing roads and bathrooms.
  • sweeping dirt somehow makes it clean.
  • a 5-6 hour bus ride ends up taking 12 hours due to multiple breakdowns.
  • after said 12-hour bus trip over dusty roads, your child's bathwater is brown at the end of his bath from the layers of caked-on dirt.
  • power outtages (for no apparent reason) are a common occurence.
  • you plan your use of any electrical appliance around when the generator will be on.
  • you do your laundry by hand (okay, so I only had to do this once), and hang it out to dry.
  • a real American hamburger is one of the highlights of your week.
  • you make your own tortillas for taco night.
  • sunscreen, bug repellent, and hand sanitizer become three things you never leave home without.
  • you don't measure distance in miles or kilometers, but in how long it takes to get there, because as everyone knows, maps are deceiving!
  • your Seventh Day Adventist neighbors play obnoxiously loud Christian music until the wee hours of the morning, and no one tells them to shut up (guess who was hoping for a power outtage that night?)
  • you stay at a nice hotel with a nice pool -- that has no water in it.
  • you take a malaria pill every Sunday.
  • the person who looks through your bags at the airport asks for your cookies.
  • you bargain with vendors at the market.
  • people call you "mama" and "sister" even though you aren't their mother or their sister (I don't know why, but this has always annoyed me).
  • you huddle in a tight circle with four other people around a computer screen to watch the season finale of one of your favorite TV shows. (Have I mentioned how amazed I am that this was even possible? Technology is a wonderful thing!)
  • you plan to arrive at the airport several hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.
  • a man is smoking just in front of a no smoking sign, and a police officer standing ten feet away says not a word.

We are back from Africa, but I thought I would go ahead and share the remainder of my list. I really had fun with it. Those of you who have lived, are living, or have ever visited Africa -- if you can think of something I left out, feel free to leave a comment below.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:32 PM

    never been to africa but your list painted quite a picture! thanks for the laugh. welcome home.