I adore living overseas – so please take everything I say with that in mind. Our home away from America-home is breathtakingly beautiful, the people are fantastic, and I’m not lying when I say that the food is the best food I’ve eaten anywhere in the world. EVER. FULL STOP.
But I also love going home to visit America. It’s awesome – have you ever toured a Target after 18 months of shopping in various African markets? I mean, Woolworths is fantastic – my favorite store overseas (and also Marks and Spencer, whose chicken and stuffing sandwiches make my year, no lie), but there is something about having seventy-six types of salsa to choose from, as well as fourteen aisles of sugary delight cereal and milk available by the gallon that just makes it easy to relax with fast internet and the largest Netflix offering in the world. SO MUCH NETFLIX, OMG. How does anyone in America get anything done with so much Netflix available?
But there is one thing I dread about visiting America. One thing that I can say, without a doubt, is a level of horrid that I encounter in no other developed countries.
There are some very good books coming out of West Africa, though – books that really capture life, culture, and a world that people outside of Africa often don’t get to see either in person or in print. With one of my newest favorite authors, Aminatta Forna, Sierra Leone is firmly represented on that growing list.
The thing about being an expat living in Africa is that everyone brings you booze for every occasion. Plus there were all those times you passed through the Duty Frees in various transit airports (Pro-Tip: Big 5 Duty Free in Johannesburg’s OR Tambo. You can thank me later). And don’t get me wrong, a lot of it gets properly used in the imbibing process. However, it is inevitable that there will be a move that will come around just when you have reached maximum booze collection density .
We have a Facebook page associated with the From Fresno to Timbuktu site, but you know that, right? You know that, and YOU HAVE LIKED IT, right? Go ahead, you can do that now. I’ll wait for you.
Now that you have pressed the like button and are perusing our offerings of witticisms, pontificating, and moments of sheer ridiculousness (often brought to you by over-tired children, over-packed husbands, and a cat that finds car rides a better elimination help than Senekot tablets), you can start liking some of our stuff as well.
And by “like”, I mean, “pick an appropriate emoticon to tell us how engaged you are with all this hoo-dee-do.”
I love Trip Advisor – I do. I really, really do. And I never make a hotel booking without first checking what Trip Advisor contributors have to say about that hotel. There are always the odd reviews out where people have an ax to grind, but if you read the reviews with a practiced eye, you will get a very good idea of what to expect.
It boils down to this: if you know a little about the culture of the place you are going to visit, you can probably figure out a lot of stuff that might stymie a tourist who isn’t as interested in a spot of adventure.
And sometimes the best way to know what to do is to know what *NOT* to do.