Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Shaman Drum commercial & Brown Jug

The Shaman Drum (and Amer's across the street) was having a commercial filmed. I don't know for what, but it did mean that I was not able to get a sandwich at the deli.

I guess I should have asked where the commercial was eventually going to be shown, but I was not thinking about that at the time: merely where to get myself fed for lunch.

Tuesday was the second weekday with a majority of undergraduate students off to wherever they decide to go during the U of M's incredibly early Spring Break.

Walking through campus is almost like walking through an eerie potential future world where there are large institutional buildings with very few people to fill them. Of course, all the restaurants are all well under-capacity, meaning it's easy to get a seat. On the flip side, it means that the waitstaff are really getting a short shrift, since waitstaff is one of those positions that doesn't get their base pay at the level of minimum wage. (For some reason, the federal government, way back in history, decided that waiters don't need to get the full benefits of minimum wage, and so, until this day, they are slaves of tips - and the ups and downs of the local populace who don't really want to take the time to calculate an extra 15% on top of the 6% sales tax which isn't always included in the bill that is brought to your table.)

Anyway, Menan, Morgan, and I went to the rather empty Brown Jug for some food, and got into a discussion of intra-familial relationships. In Tanzania, the words "aunt," "uncle," "nephew," and "niece" mean different things than they do in an English context. Similarly, so do "mother" and "father." Very interesting. It took me an hour to figure this out (and I'm not sure that I really did get all of it) - but I wonder how confusing it might be for visitors when someone starts calling several different people their "mother." (Btw, the pizza was standard, but pretty good.)

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