Friday, March 19, 2010

Flashback Friday: Things in Syria that made me laugh

1. On one of our first days in the country, we found this creature in the basement of City Mall. Take a good look (at the creature, not me):

His name is Hessfeld, and he delivers a Happy Toy by method of "Get Surprise in the ball." That became a kind of motto for our time in Syria. That, and also that time I opened a box of Kleenex and found a toothbrush inside. Life in Syria is just like that. Surprise in the ball.

2. Jeremy once chit-chatted with some random Syrians in our neighborhood and one of them busted out his English skills. He told Jeremy he was an English teacher at a local school, and asked, "You think I am clever?" Except he pronounced it "KLEEV-er." I shudder for his English students. Incidentally, "clever" has been on the list of words I can't pronounce correctly ever since.

3. We once met a taxi driver named Bruce. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that Bruce is not a common name in the Middle East. But it was true, his name was actually Bruce. He showed us his driver's license and everything. It turns out his parents were really big Bruce Lee fans. Like, REALLY big fans.

4. Taking another look at this honest-to-goodness newspaper ad always makes me laugh. Yes, it is what you think it is - an advertisement for a cologne called NOSE.

5. We lovingly referred to the street we lived on as Iron Maiden Street, due to the graffiti someone had sprayed on it. It made for a nice landmark when we were giving directions to our house, and it was classier than "behind the tire shop."

6. Arabs love to decorate their cars and some of the decals they chose were inexplicable.

This "Crying Dima" sticker was everywhere. And no one could ever tell us definitively why she was so sad.

And I still have no idea why these No My Friend in dripping blood stickers were so ubiquitous. Aside from pictures/holograms/illuminated flashing light representations of President Bashar al-Assad, Crying Dima and No My Friend were the most popular vehicle decorations.

Then of course you have this Go Near the Poo sticker. Our friend Steve Robertson took this picture so if he has anything else to say about it, he can be my guest.

Yes, despite the difficulties of daily life, there was always something in Syria that could put a smile on my face.


Liz Johnson said...

This post makes me miss living abroad DEEPLY. There was always such funny stuff that often was lost in translation.

Susanne said...

First of all I just shared this post with a Syrian friend in London. He replied "I can't stop laughing." :)

About the crying Dima, he added, "Well for Daiman Domo3, its actualy a song in Arabic, which means Always crying, the guy was soo sad about his lover so its now a habit for taxis to put it."

But I think that is an explanation you already heard.

Secondly, that Garfield thing shows Syrians have some rather crude humor like us, eh?

When we were in Syria walking near Samer's old school, he saw his high school English teacher. But the man only spoke in Arabic in front of us. Samer said his teacher must have been "too shy" to speak English in front of us. Maybe he was scared of saying "clever" like "KLEEV-er."

LOL @ NOSE cologne! And poor Bruce. Bruce is such an unfortunate name, IMO.

I was only in Syria for 12 days, but one thing I wrote down was from the Sunsilk shampoo bottle in our hostel's bathroom. It said it was "for breaking and falling weak hair."

Enjoyed this!

Katie said...

Well, I am definitely not cool enough to have ever lived in Syria, but I still liked your post, as always.

Umm... I guess that's all.

Anna said...

This T-shirt makes me think of you guys.

Jill said...

There is also a mall in Honduras called "City Mall." They get creative with their English

Katie said...

Ha Ha Ha! I love it!

Do you remember the store in Amman called "It's Good Shoes"?

Or did William Hyde ever tell you his story about the cab driver he met who was afraid of black people because they were "too saxy" and they were always trying to "stab you with the knife"?

shabba shabba said...

I miss Iron Maiden. Did the guys at the internet cafe listen to Evanescence nonstop while you were there? Or had they moved on to Fall Out Boy by then?

Lisa Lou said...

Ahahaha! I love things like this! I love to go to the dollar store and laugh at all the descriptions on the toys...Super wow funny time!

Lisa Lou said...

Also, there's a couple food places in Berlin that make me laugh:
Yucki Chinese
Hee La Mun Chinese

(my dad actually gave the owner of Hee La Mun Chinese a copy of the Book of Mormon and told him he was famous in it!)

Kristen said...

What is the go near the poo sticker on? Trying to put it into context, if that is possible.

Bridget said...

It's on a car. I'm guessing that doesn't help too much, context-wise.


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