Tuesday, September 17, 2013

there are no gifts, sigh

i'm not even 5 minutes here and everyone, even the guys who play checkers and open the gates at the office are asking me what i brought them, what i brought them. i'm not santa claus, people. it's bad enough i had one 20kg checked bag filled solely with pruning shears and test tubes for our field office. 
on the other hand, i have quickly found out that if a merchant gives you a gift after buying something, in the guise of you being a valued customer who will surely return - well it's only because they just ripped you off and feel kinda bad about it.
i bought avocados from the lady with the big bowl of avocados on her head. she bats your hand away if you touch them (the people at my market in berlin do that too) and asks you when you plan on eating it, now, later, tomorrow and selects one appropriately. i was tired from haggling with my taxi driver, so only half-assed bargained (i tend to go off coffee on these trips and stick to tea) so was also kinda hazy. when she was giving me my bag she takes my hand and says "gift for you my dear" and gives me a avocado so ripe it's almost melting in my hands. (it was delicious, btw).
i wasn't so easy on the taxi driver, because most of these guys are assholes. i mean, they just dreeeeam of picking up a white girl to charge 100 times (literally) more than a congolese. as i paid him the outrageous fare he has the nerve to say ok, that's great, i threw in the security for free. security? what security? you put your driver seat all the way back and slept while i shopped in a store whose parking lot is guarded by UN soldiers!! grrrrr. 

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