Monday, December 28, 2015

Do People Take Bureaucratic Rules Less Seriously Due to Bureaucrats' Attitudes?

Fact: not a single time that the author entered or left Tanzania through its main international airport was he able to go through its lines and paperwork without at least some sort of impeding actions by the immigration officials.  On the way out, it ranges anywhere from "where were you this whole time?"  "why were you here so long?"  "why do you keep coming and going?"  (OK, maybe the last one is quite reasonable, since this supposed resident has been leaving the country once a month for the last three or four months).

Sunday, December 20, 2015

the (Un)expected Quietness of an African Pre-Christmas

Before December arrived, the author heard from multiple sources of the supposed madness of a lengthy Christmas season in this piece of African outback.  There will be non-stop Christmas music blasting from every home from December to February, they said.  All the bus tickets will be much more expensive because everyone will be traveling home, they said.  And the whole country will all the sudden become a much more festive place, they said.  Exaggeration, without a doubt, but even taken with a grain of salt, such words can be credited for heightened excitements in some boredom.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Can a City Go from Nothing to Virtual, without the Physical Infrastructure?

In multiple occasions on this blog, the author mentioned how he misses the convenience store culture that is prevalent in many parts of urban East and Southeast Asia.  The ability to walk out to the streets from one's residence or office for five minutes, and find food, drinks, basic medicine, and other daily needs just seem so fitting to a city of the future where dependency on automobiles for personal transport is drastically reduced.  Naturally he thinks that dense cities with pedestrian-friendly blocks of dense street-level shops surrounded by high-rise residential buildings is fitting with that future.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Foreign Secondhand Clothing And African De-industrialization

In Tanzania, there is one thing that is often noticeable in any market area.  Next to the usual arrays of vegetable stalls are sections devoted to colorful clothes, some hanging, some in big piles on spread-out sheets on the ground.  The clothes are almost exclusively foreign in nature, easily identified with their Hangul lettering, Chinese characters, European logos, and even American flags.  Yet most show little sign of wear-and-tear, no doubt due to careful selection, cleaning, and ironing.  At equivalent of couple of USD per shirt, they make for an affordable supply for locals.