October 18, 2010

just another day in djibouti

Yesterday, I decided to walk over to Djibouti Telecom try and purchase a new phone and maybe see about getting internet installed at my house. When I arrived it was closed. I read the sign and it appeared to say that it was open for business at the time I was there. I guess they decided not to work that day.

I wandered into town and saw several Naval officers so I knew there must be a ship in town. I went to Nougaprix, which I guess is like the Target or K-Mart of Djibouti, to pick up some things and saw maybe 20 Russian sailors milling about.

The next grocery store I went to had 50 or more Russians crowding the place looking for alcohol, snacks, and sweets. As I was standing in line some of the Russians ahead of me were paying the cashier using American $50's which the cashier took with some hesitation. The best was yet to come though.

Going outside I observed maybe 40 or 50 Russians standing in the street drinking beer. Djibouti is a Muslim country and alcohol is usually only found in establishments for foreigners drinking in public is not something that occurs.
On my way home a man at a kisok yelled at me "Russe, Russe!" I quickly responded that I was American.

Today I went to the same kiosk and the owner was laughing about the the man calling me a Russian, he said "Russians and Americans are very different." Very true and on a side note why does the man at the kiosk speak better English than some university employees with much more education? Another mystery of Djibouti


  1. Got to love those Russian Sailors.

  2. Sounds like a funky day. What are the stores like?


  3. The international language commonly used besides his own may be English when selling and purchasing goods at a port area. As a salesman, he needs to communicate to prospective buyers in that language and is motivated to learn. He has the oportunity to practice that language every time he speaks with a prospective foreign customer... Perhaps he even sells English newspapers and reads them when business is slow? ...On another note, I disliked my French phonetics class in college and thought it a complete waste of time. Weekly quizzes were the only thing that motivated me to learn the material. Now if we had only done some creative assignments/projects - like splitting into groups and making a group poster or get-well-cards or directions to a certain place or directions for making a simple dessert or directions for changing a tire, etc. etc. - all in phonetic symbols, we would have all been entirely motivated and would have learned much more than phonetics a la francais. Aunt Grace

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