Monday, July 12, 2010

Learning Arabic

I am starting with the numbers. Doing OK with those. Just have to remember that the seven looking thing is a six, the three looking thing is a four, two and three look the same from a distance, a zero is a five. Maybe I should find Sodoku in Arabic. I practice with license plates as they have the Arabic numbers on one side and “English” letters on another.

I was in my first meeting with a client, helping them do some roadway planning. We were talking about diverting traffic. I said “you could put a pork chop here to get the traffic to go this way.” One of the consultants at the table said with a twinkle in his eye “you may want to do away with the term “pork chop” here.

The other day Melissa and I went to pick up Hicham (Transpo’s Principal who just moved his family here a before I came). It was the first time I’d seen him since I had arrived. As he was approaching the car I asked Melissa “how do you say “hello” in Arabic?” She said she didn’t know. I suddenly remembered an Arabic greeting I had learned in Sudan. As he gets in the car I look at him and say “Masalama.” Oops. That is what you say for “good bye.” He laughed and gave me credit for trying. Apparently the story has been shared with the rest of the Transpo crew working out of the municipal office. I am bringing entertainment to the team.

I got yelled at for touching a crab in the market.

I found the pork room at Spinney’s which is the British super market. I felt conspicuous as we made our way to it in the back corner of the store. I have never ever seen so much pork product in one place. I passed on the pork trotters. Melissa believes those are hooves since that’s what pigs trot around on. I think they are from another part of the pig. We will look at them more closely next time. There were marshmallows and Pop Tarts in the pork room. Weird. Is there pork in those? (should I be typing “are there pork in those?” )

I bought a cauliflower head. It was the equivalent of $7 U.S. That better be damn good. Still no good fennel to be found. Produce will be hit or miss. But the cucumbers and tomatoes seem to be plentiful and not too dear.

I will try to upload some pictures tonight. It takes a really long time to do with these connections. This is all I have time for right now.


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