Friday, March 23, 2012

Now now now

So it's been an awfully long time since I've posted. My parents may be my only steadfast readers left. You find me at this time in Uganda, Mbarara to be exact, a small (but major for the country) city in western Uganda which despite being at the equator has a perfect climate due to its 1400 m elevation.

I'm not going to be here as long as I would like to really get my anthropological hat on, but here are a few funny cultural things for you.

Brief ugandan phrase book:
"where do you stay" = where are you living
"are you getting me" = do you understand what i am saying?
"i am getting you" = i understand
"3, 3" = 3 twice = 6 (as in, there are two of you, you pay 6 total)
"flu" = runny nose
"malaria" = fever
"now" = god knows when
"now now" = in the next hour or so
"now now now" = immediately
"i have to make a short call" = i have to pee (long call is therefore its obvious partner, but never stated out loud)

Most people near here are the Ankole people... and most of the patients speak Runyankole, a Bantu language, and often some English as well. They usually have two names, like Gloria Mbaze (I just made that up), a western name and a village name. The village name usually is chosen by the grandmother or grandfather, and interestingly seems to often denote some public neighborhood happening at the time of the birth or a way to communicate a message to the neighbors. I have heard of a names that mean "your goat is eating my plants" and "stop taking my vegetables". The other day I met a gentleman whose name meant "where did you take off from" and who explained to me that his grandmother was not sure whether his mom was faithful with his father at the time of conception. Very interesting...

In other news.
Today I learned that they have to write boy or girl on the maternity discharge papers from the hospital, which are used to make birth certificates. They used to write male and female, but people would white it out to say male and then tell their families that the doctors changed the sex of the baby...

Some powerful doctors, I should say.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

um. hello.

So I'm heading to Arequipa tomorrow. And I am DAMN glad. It's been a nutso week. A couple of nights ago we got hit with a 4.3 Richter earthquake whose epicenter was 4 km away. I woke up in a complete panic but before I could formulate a plan, it was over. Very scary. My heart rate didn't go back to normal for a while...had a hard time getting back to sleep.

Today, the taxi driver Javi had organized came on the wrong day and started an argument with me at 420 am, trying to convince me to go to the airport anyhow. When I was unmoved he told me he would wait outside, just in case.

And to cap it all off, today the airline called me for a fraud check. It's true that my credit card got stolen last year and I "bought" about $3k in lumber, so my credit card company freaks out every time I spend outside of the US. I already had my fraud check with them a couple of days ago when I bought the tickets. So when the airline called today, they too wanted to check my identity. How? I had to give them the first 4 digits of my credit card number, of course. I tried to explain to the hapless idiot on the other end of the phone that they were unlikely to find any credit card thieves who DIDN'T have the credit card number... but he didn't seem to understand.

Oh, peru. Occasionally extraordinarily frustrating. I'm excited to see a volcano, the white city, the deepest canyon in the world, some condors, and to eat amazing arequipeño food, to balance it all out.

Friday, April 16, 2010

in love

Hello fans,

I've falled back in love... with sarsa criolla. It's this amazing yummy relish that is served with almost anything here. Even though i'm not normally a raw onion fan, it turns out to be tangy and zingy and delicious (not to mention cheap to make). I'm going to teach myself how to make it this weekend.

Here's a good recipe I found. You really only need onion, salt, and limes. Great with any sandwiches, tamales, burgers, rice and insert-protein-here dishes. You can see it here atop arroz con pollo.

Till next time! Let me know how it went.