liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,

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In which I survive without getting my head ripped off...and Africander research blather

Ahhhh, retail the weekend before Christmas. Oh, how not fun you are.

Customers are cranky.

The lady who interrupts you while you're waiting on another customer because she's only got a "quick question" hands you a list, causing the the current customer and the three customer-ducklings behind him who are following you around like you're their mother to get very annoyed.

And if one more person asks me, "What do you mean March of the Penguins is sold out?!?" they will be beaten within an inch of their lives. I don't care where you live. I will kill you with my brain if I have to.


And only in heathen Massachusetts would customers aggressively great each other with "Happy Holidays!", as if daring the other customer to correct them.

WHEEEEEE! Looks like I'm not the only one who tangled with a "It's Christmas!" sort.

I retreated from the agressive, grit-toothed grins of people wishing any and all comers some holiday goodness by steadfastly wishing everyone a good weekend instead.

I'm pleased to report that everyone was just fine with that.

However, there are some upsides to this bookstore gig.

Like getting access to the travel section which had a pathetic selection of books on travel in Africa. Couldn't find any tour books on Algeria. I guess Algeria isn't exactly Club Med. *pulls out World's Most Dangerous Places guidebook* Whaddya know! Algeria has a huuuuuuge chapter in here. Can't think why Lonely Planet doesn't have anything.

Found an interesting slim volume on cultural norms and manners in various West African countries, which had an chapter on Mali.

And, heh, the Middle Eastern thing about not eating with your left hand...also part of the Mali sharing food tradition and for the same reason. Think: squat toilets. Also, toilet paper is not a common commodity in Mali. These facts are connected.

I should also mention, it's traditional in villages for families and guests to grab food out of a common bowl with their right hand.


Of course, the hilarious thing is I got Michael Palin's book, Sahara out of the library (Thanks to whiskyinmind for the tip. PBS hasn't snapped up Palin's latest armchair travel extravaganza yet, but the book's already in the States), and he keeps making note that while he was in Mali capital of Bamako, there were signs all over the place saying that peeing against this or that wall would result in a fine if the perp was caught. Heh.

But damn, Palin whent to Algeria as well as Mali. Those Monty Python guys must have balls of brass. Palin goes where Lonely Planet fears to tread.

Also in Mali: People being nosy about your personal life? Perfectly okay and it's considered rude if you don't answer. You asking about their personal life? Very rude. And so I learn something new. "Mali" must be Bambara for "Yankee," because, damn if that isn't a Yankee trait from hell.

Also, looking someone in the face is considered rude. Men show their brotherhood by holding hands. Awesome!

And Kola Nuts = Quintiple-shot espresso without the milk! Wheeee!

My poor little OC is going to have a hell of a time in store for her as she searches for Dr. Livingston...ooops! I mean Mr. Harris.

*giggles insanely*

Best score of the day: Michelin Map of North and West Africa. Coolness! I can actually figure out distances now!

Aaaaaaand whoops! Spoke too soon. Actual warning on map: "In Africa distances can rarely be given with absolute accuracy." Oh, goody.

Just added a possible Africander resource: Michael Palin also has a Website detailing his wander-lust ways.

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