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According to Yahoo–exclamation point Weather, it’s 108 degrees F here, but it FEELS like 104. Oh yeah?  Who are these Yahoo–exclamation point Weather people and where are they? I’m right here, and I think it really does feel like 108!! It’s stifling, and the air is full of dust. Yahoo does mention it’s blowing dust; they got that right.

As I settle back into my host culture, I was thinking of how all cultures share certain things in common and yet how, at the same time, so many things are totally different. So, for all you non-Mauritanians out there, here’s a quiz on Mauritanian culture for my readers (all 3 of you).  See how many you can guess!

Give your answers in comments. The first person to get them all right will get a special mention on….this blog!! (Sorry, I don’t know how to do those little buttons that you can post on your own blog) I will even put exclamation points after it! I don’t know what more you’d want.



  1. The following is rude to do in public in Mauritanian culture:
    1. Pee on the tires of someone’s car
    2. Pick your nose
    3. Touch your wife on her shoulder, briefly


  1. If you are in a long line of traffic, you should:

a.    Wait impatiently, sighing a lot but being polite

b.    Honk your horn a lot

c.    Drive into oncoming traffic and create a traffic jam


3.    If you are married and you live with your in-laws, it’s expected that you will:

a.    Sleep in their bedroom

b.    Eat meals together

                  c.    Avoid them at all costs and never let them see you


4.   If you ________ and are caught, the shame will be so great that you will never want to see the people who KNOW again. If you are engaged, your fiance will break it off:

a.    Blow your nose into your sleeve

b.    Steal

c.    Pass gas


5.   Basically, all adults drink:

a.    coffee

b.    beer

c.    milk


6.   It’s polite/impolite to enter someone’s house without knocking or ringing their bell.


  1. In a university classroom, the following behaviour is frowned upon by your fellow students:
    1. talking on your cell phone during the professor’s lecture
    2. coming to class 45 minutes late
    3. doing homework for another class, quite openly
    4. all of the above
    5. none of the above

8.    Marriage proposals can be made within 5 minutes of meeting a woman. T/F

Good luck!

PS  Can you tell my husband’s gone and classes haven’t started yet? 4 posts in 3 days, I think it is. My personal best.

September 2006

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