Saturday, November 26, 2011

Of Goats and Amazon

Greetings and hallucinations, readers and Elves and the odd ducks, all o' ye!

It's been a "cool" couple of days in Liberia.  It rained last night, which helped. :)  The temperature is wandering around 86 degrees.  Again O_o

As of right now, I'm feeling less-than-charitable towards the giant known only as Amazon (occasionally followed by a ".com").  In the last few days, I've learned or experienced the following from Amazon:

1)  Amazon Instant Video (which we have, since we're Prime members) is NOT available in any other countries besides the U.S.  Which means no more free Doctor Who.  And the internet connection isn't strong enough to download Doctor Who episodes either, even if it wasn't prohibited by the guest house for that very reason.  Luckily, I've found *ahem* other ways to watch.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

2) Getting apps is tricky.  The good ones cost money, while some of the free ones either rip you off, or they're a "demo" without explicitly saying so.  Not Amazon's fault, but there are only two or three apps I use on a "regular" basis.

3)  Today, we ordered "Inheritance" in eBook form, since shipping ANYTHING physically is hard.  Vren downloaded it (since she bought it) and started reading.  Since I usually get to read things first, she wanted to have the opportunity to get things first, for once. ;)  The problem is, the "Cloud" wasn't working.  It's where you can download the same file on different Kindles, since it's all saved to  Inheritance wasn't even showing up on the Cloud, however, and thus started an hour-long process that not only made us buy it twice (and cancel one of the orders), it eventually made me send an email to Amazon.  We'll see if we can get this resolved so I can actually READ it. xD

Despite this doom-and-gloom, which is all Kindle-related, it's been a great couple of days.  A few more notes about Liberia:

1)  Lizards.  They're everywhere.  Dark ones with bright red heads and tails, little green-ish ones, and the unfortunate fella that my youngest sister managed to capture...

2)  The food is fantastic.  And very spicy.  More on that later.

3)  Wireless is touch-and-go.

4) Water is a must. I learned that the hard way on our first day here.  Needless to say, we've all come to appreciate water very much.

Now, back to food.  If you want a typical Liberian meal (as far as I know, this is fairly typical), here it is.  Photo courtesy of my talented and camera-happy sister.  The picture at the top of the post is also one of hers.   Please do not copy or take or store (and whatever) these pictures without prior permission. :)

The staple is always rice.  Always.  They say, "If you're not eating rice, you're not eating."  Rice is on pretty much every meal.  Most of the Liberian meals I've had have some sort of sauce-thing to put on top.  In the case of the above picture, which we ate yesterday, it was a somewhat weird-looking but delicious and hot combination of rice and fish and potato greens (the plant of the potato).  Also, there's a chicken foot.  I have a picture of me eating the chicken foot...but I won't post that. ;)

Other staples include cassava, which is similar to potato greens in look.  It's a plant.  I've also eaten okra.  Combined with these is usually a kind of meat, or a combination of meat.  Meats include fish, goat, beef, etc.

Here's another taste of what Liberia looks like.  Besides these pictures, there's quite a few others on my sister's blog.  The link to her blog is a couple paragraphs back.

The road to a market.

To give you another taste of Liberia, let me tell you a story that occurred yesterday.  A very strange and wondrous tale.

So Dad and I had to head back to the guest house by taxi.  We had a taxi already for the whole family, but it wasn't big enough to fit us all.  There were only four open seats.  So we had to use one of the stand-by-the-side-of-the-road-and-wave-your-hand-taxis.  

So the first one picked us up and then dropped us off at a street junction, where we were going to get another one.  Street taxis in Liberia always have two things in common, in my experience: they're beat-up, and they have stickers.  The first taxi we went on had two big JESUS stickers on the airbag compartment, saying things like, "I've been washed by the blood of Jesus!"

That's the problem with Liberia.  They know the words, but it doesn't change them.  More on that at another time.

So we got off on this busy junction and hitched a ride in another taxi, one that already had three Liberians in it: two in front and one in the back.  Dad and I jumped in and went.

Partway through the trip, the driver pulled over to the side of the road and let in ANOTHER Liberian, making four of us in the back row.  Needless to say, things were cramped.  And then, a young Liberian man ran across the four-lane street and nearly got himself run over, which made all of the Liberians in the car burst into loud shouting.  One of them leaned out the window and yelled at the fellow.

The shouting soon morphed into general loud-talk.

And in the middle of this, crammed with four Liberians in midday traffic, honking horns everywhere, and loud talking in my ears, I look out the window.  Guess what I saw?

A brand-new truck with "POLICE" shining down the side of the truck.  And in the back was a goat, peering over the bed of the truck at me with dark eyes and a scruffy little goat-beard.

It was so random, it made me laugh.


Eldra said...

*blinks* A goat...? Now that's just weird. I think you win the random award.


I can imagine how important water would be in a hot country like that. Sometimes it's hard to drink enough in a cool climate.

But why did you mention ducks in your post? What about the geese?!

Pathfinder said...

You're making me hungry...
A goat? In a police truck? O_o

Eagles Wings said...


The food on the left looked like a roasted hand.

Just had to say that.



Hannah Joy said...

Great to hear from you! And....goat???? HAHAHAHAHA. That almost made me get over the fact that I was just crying at a really sad book and am still sorta depressed. But a goat? That's hysterical.

Ninja Tim said...

Ah, Sir Jake, you misunderstand the meaning of rice as a staple. The rice is not "on" every meal; it is the foundation on which every meal is built! (there's no real American equivalent; sorry, culture lecture) =)

Do you know what kinds of lizards they are? They sound pretty cool-looking (though I guess they'd be pretty hard to take pictures of)

Goats are actually very capable and intimidating creatures. Seriously, what criminal stands a chance with a trained force of Liberian police goats after him? *shudder*

Christopher said...

Sorry about the Amazon/Doctor Who thing. That must have been terrible. Have you tried to see if Hulu has them? I think Hulu is available in all countries, but I'm not completely certain. It could be worth a try.

A goat!? Scary...

The Director said...

That. Was. Epic.

Thanks for sharing your new adventures Sir Jake. That made my day. *nodnod*

Charlotte said...

Sounds great. Still not sure about the chicken feet, and judging by the feet of my chickens, it don't look like there would be much to eat.

Amazon, I found a nice cheap book there once, it was a dollar or two, but the shipping was going to cost me $25, ah the joys of living in NZ.

Goats, you gotta love them.

Anonymous said...

A goat in a police car?! HA!! I guess their dog just didn't work out...

The food sounds yummy. What do chicken feet taste like? (Chicken?)