19.7.08

"sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti bum bum बम bum bum bum baahhh"


Some of the best lyrics ever. I remember being at the Booth a couple years ago and Allie leans over her scotch and water to whisper in my ear, "Did you know this song is about slavery? Listen closely."

Anyway, I've had a request to compare and contrast Africa and India. A hard task for someone who has spent about 6 days in 1 of the 53 countries in Africa, but here goes:

1. People walk much slower in Africa.

2. I saw lots more foreigners in Africa (mostly in the airport and on Zanzibar) than I see in India.

3. Africa doesn't cater to the budget traveler like India does. Prices in restaurants, hotels, and for transportation are almost on par with US prices...while in India you can live on a couple USD a day, easily.

4. I didn't see ONE person using the street or any public place as a toilet in Africa. This probably contributes to the fact that Africa doesn't attack your sense of smell like India does.

5. Lots more chickens and cats in Africa...and a major lack of cows, camels, and/or any other animal on the roads. Cars rule the roads...and there seems to be much less public transportation (and very few rickshaws.) Dala-dalas (the public buses and vans) suck...but other than that, getting around Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar was pleasant and not filled with near-death experiences. The buses are much less reliable or timely than they are in India. A similarity is that in both countries, men hang out of the bus door and yell at people to get on the bus. It's like they're working on commission, which I think is really funny. And the cars are bigger in Africa.

6. Haggling is not a way of life. In India if someone quotes a price, I usually half it and go from there. If you attempt this in Africa, shopkeepers and drivers will just look at you like you're mad. It seems that in Africa, people would rather not sell anything than make a deal. In India, I'm pretty sure, people are so willing to make a deal that they are probably working at a loss half the time.

7. People in Tanzania are obsessed with the following words:
Mambo (how are you)
Jambo (how are you)
Poa (cool)
Karibu (welcome)
Sante (thanks)
Mzungu (white person)
and I'm pretty sure that some locals I met ONLY know these words. And people say "you're welcome" before you say "thank you" almost all the time.

8. African men don't seem NEARLY as sex-starved as Indian men. They don't stare at you for minutes on end while they attempt to drive a motorcycle in traffic. They don't follow you. This is probably because the women in Africa wear more body-conscious clothes, have bubble butts, and don't attempt to wear tummy-bearing saris while weighing 220 pounds. The men in Africa don't wear skin-tight pants like they do in India, either. A welcome change if you ask me.

9. The bananas are better in Africa. The mangoes are better in India.

10. People use shower curtains in Africa.

11. Africa is less colorful than India.

12. Buildings are bigger in Africa and there is a greater sense of personal space. Stores aren't claustrophobic (note the picture of 2 men hanging out of a hole in the ceiling of a shoe store in Jaipur. When you need another size they throw it down from the crawling-room-only storage upstairs.)

13. Restaurants seem to be much more westernized everywhere we went in Africa. The culture doesn't seem to be as homogeneous (looks wise and dress wise and religion wise) in Africa. Overall, I like Indian food better. But it was AMAZING to have a Spanish omelet for breakfast every single morning I was in Africa.

14. Everywhere we went in Africa was 300% cleaner than anywhere I've ever been in India. And quieter. And more peaceful.

15. People beg you to buy their goods in Africa...I felt like I got hassled to spend money a lot more than I usually do in India.

16. I didn't see anyone sleeping on the streets in Africa.

17. Everywhere we went in Africa had AC. And bedsheets. Amazing.

18. It's winter in Africa and it's summer in India. This is the biggest difference.

1 comment:

Pam said...

or is it a 2-headed man???