Friday, October 15, 2010

Introducing my husband, the blogger

October 10: The Sound of Silence
Guest Blogger: Randy

Every week morning the main road from the airport to Tana becomes very congested right at the point where our little road empties on to it. So, many times as we ride in the taxi be' we are entertained by the “in flight movie” of watching the bus negotiate through taffic. Many times you sit there and say to yourself, “We're going to hit that car!” and then surprisingly we don't. Well, just this past week - we did. My taxi-be' was edging past another taxi-be' and I said to myself “He's going to hit that side mirror”. And sure enough we did. Now I expected we would stop and the drivers would talk and that it would probably take a very long time. I was considering getting off and walking to my next bus. But, this did not happen. The surprising thing was that NO ONE seemed to notice. No one turned their head. No one blinked an eye lid. No one made any noises – not even a grunt. The man asleep across from me continued to drool on himself. The driver didn't say a word. The only thing that happened was that the guy who rides in the back – the one who lets people on and off and who collects the money – he swung out the door (literally) to see if there was any damage to our taxi-be'. (He didn't seem to care about the other one.) He then swung back in without saying a word and the driver stepped on the gas to cover the next 20 feet as fast as he could before he had to slam on the brakes before he rear ended the next car. When I mentioned all this to Megan that same night she said the same exact thing had happened to her - and again: Nothing! I know nothing! (Captain Shultz anyone?)

October 10: A Different Kind of Return Policy
Guest Blogger: Randy

It is very obvious that here in Madagascar when you buy something at the roadside market you can not return it. But we are still not sure about the more Western stores – like the South African supermarket, Shop Rite. Our guess is.....“no.” But I just realized the other day that you are not left “holding the bag” entirely if you choose a defective product. We somehow broke the electric tea kettle here at the house. So, I went to Shop Rite and bought a new one. As I was checking out, the women at the register asked if I wanted to go to the service desk and test the tea kettle. So, I did. Not only did the man unpack the box, ask someone to get him some water to heat in it, and eventually plug it in to see that it actually heated water – but when he unpacked the box he found that it had the wrong plug on it. So, he cut off the old plug for me and rewired the correct plug for me right there. I think that is pretty good service.

October 10: Small Towns Are All the Same
Guest Blogger: Randy

Did you know that I bought a toaster oven for my birthday? Did you know that we bought a new electric tea kettle? Well, the entire town of Ambohinambo does. You see – we don't have a car. That means we have to walk home. Since the larger appliances like toaster ovens and electric tea kettles do not fit in the small bags they have here everyone in town can see what I bought. And surely the whole way home carrying the box everyone stared at me and gave this knowing smile like “Ah, I always wondered who bought those things there.”

This happened a third time as well. But that time it was with flowers. You see, my wife told me when we lived in America that I didn't need to buy her flowers. She preferred we spent our money on other things, since flowers were expensive. But when she found out that flowers at the road side market were fairly cheap she told me I could buy her flowers whenever I wanted.

So, one day I was able to stop and get her some roses on my way home from teaching. I couldn't exactly stick them in my backpack, so all along the walk home everyone was staring at me. All the women seemed to either be jealous that they weren't getting any from their man or glad for “some lucky woman”. All the guys gave a knowing smile as well.

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