Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tidbits


  • Moroccans all have very stylish glasses. Let me rephrase that, all Moroccans that wear glasses (and it seems to be so many) have very stylish ones.
  • You can smoke anywhere. And people will.
  • So it’s very common to walk down a street and see rows of guys all siting in a straight line (backs to the building, faces to the street) at little tables with little coffees (probably smoking a cigarette). It stood out to me because in the US, it is more common for people sitting together to sit facing each other, one across the table. However, here they are all sitting next each other staring out at the street.
  • Why is it so hard to get on a bus and then move out of the entry way so that others can get on? The students on campus fail to do this all the time. They step on the bus and then stop, right there in the entry way, making it impossible for others to get on and forcing them to push through to the empty spaces beyond. When we were boarding the bus in the Casa airport (in the pouring rain) one of the passengers did this. He stepped on the bus and planted his feet and his luggage right there in the middle. Trapping everyone else out in the rain as they tried to squeeze in around him to the copious amounts of empty space on the bus. For christ’s sake, move!
  • When the boss and I arrived in Tunis, we immediately got in line for the only bank to be seen to change our money. I immediately took note. We were clearly the wrong gender for this line. Ahead of us were 10-15 men. On either side sat women in head scarves (and one fully covered woman in all black), clearly waiting for the men.
  • Did I mention you could smoke anywhere? At the dinner in Tunis, the waiter (who clearly hated us) stood off to the side smoking a cigarette that he would reluctantly set aside to serve the table when required.
  • Speaking of things that are so very French, the guys in North Africa are very European. Scarves, fitted pants, fancy shoes, etc. 
  • I was going to lose my mind over the queuing. As much as I understand in theory the difference between American queuing culture and queuing cultures elsewhere, it doesn't make it easier for me to adapt. I swear every time I was in any sort of semblance of a line, someone was going to just walk right in front of me. First, I was able to rationalize it based on what I am calling the MENA Merge. Just as the lines painted on the roads are completely meaningless, so are the lines in a queue, everyone just sort of merges together rather naturally, fitting themselves into any available space until forced to narrow down to one behind the other in a more American queue. However, even in the clearly separate, distinct, far from each other, no merging going on lines at customs in the Tunis airport, I still had a woman step in front of me. TWICE! After she cut me in line, she seemed decide she wanted to be in another line. Cut into that line. Then decided she wanted to be back on my line and cut me again! It makes me irrationally angry. I am still going to get where I am going. It has not affected me in anyway, other than to make my blood boil of course.

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