Sunday, December 12, 2010

True Confessions

Today's adventures, and yes, there were more than one, will have to be told over time. It amazes me how much adventure or unusual activity can occur in one day in this part of the world. I guess it is just unusual to me. It's probably just plain boring to others. Today was maybe a bit of illegality, but I'm not sure. Probably not.

You have to think of the word "illegality" in a third world, bartering and bribing-rich cultural way, I probably haven't done anything wrong at all. Think of it in terms of a shame and honor culture, not a right and wrong culture like the USA. The greased palm world in which I live is where you need to go. Thanks. That will help immeasurably.

Lest you think my faith is slipping, it is increasing daily, and so our my prayers!  I began the day attending a lovely church service of three congregations gathered for a Christmas service. The sermon was in French with an interpreter. The pastor unfolded the aspect of Jesus' humanity in quite an engaging and thought-provoking way. I had connections from scripture and CS Lewis's Narnia stories. I felt renewed and encouraged in my faith as I left for yet another set of adventures in town.

Today was the last straw. Well, probably not. I was trying to change dirhams to US dollars, and my girlfriends and I had heard from the concierge at an unmentioned hotel that I could get dollars at a change place across the street. The first place we spotted, Something Union, looked official, but the gentleman inside wasn't returning for an hour, so it was closed, so to speak. So, we went to another building, and yet another Something Union, and there was a young gentleman inside. Whew.

I handed him a pile of dirhams, and I mean pile, and he did some calculations, called a couple of people, and said he could give me US dollars and a few dirhams in exchange. Whoopee, I thought naively. After a great deal of counting and recounting, he handed me the money and said calmly, "What I am doing is illegal, you know, but I am going to give you your money." (Why me?  I am trying to have a sane, calm, upstanding citizen, mature Godly woman kind of day.) It says Something Union on the outside, doesn't it? Where am I? Mars?

Anyway, I grabbed my US dollars because, if you have been following this blog, you know I have no credit cards or money usable outside this country due to the robbery in Paris. I need the dollars for my upcoming trip back home. I AM going home. I have no idea what he is talking about, but stumble out of there. (Please forgive me, Lord, for any sins of omission.)

Once my friends and I escaped outside, they said to me that I should have tipped the guy with the dirhams he gave me. I was totally confused by then. I feel like I will never fit into this culture. For heaven's sake, no one ever trained me to tip people at the Something Union money exchange! Don't they get paid?

As we drove off and headed into another fracas I'll recount another time, I thought about the twists and turns of my just part of one day!

Th adventure continues....

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