11-16 - finals

Today's my last day.  I've got a lot to do and no time to do it in.

I snag a ride with Gaylord and Hasine, or Gaylord snags one with me.
It's kind of hard to describe.  You see, Hasine was supposed to take
me to the kilometer of crafts at 8am.  Then Gaylord needed Hasine to
drive him to SALFA at 8:45.  So my trip got delayed.  Then Gaylord
decided to leave early, so I figured I'd go with him then once he was
dropped off, go to the kilometer of crafts with Hasine.  Then Gaylord
decided to come with me.  So there you have it.  It's 8:15 or so, and
we're looking at rocks.

Very pretty rocks, too.

There's this guy, about twelve years old, I'd say, following us around
and viciously trying to sell us stuff from any stand we're near.  How
does this work?  Does he get a commission?

I say "Mora, mora." And they smile and relax a bit.  It means, "slow
down, slow down." and they get the message.  Ultimately I do buy a
fossil and a small egg of quartz.  And then a scarf.  It all works as
I have been told.  They quote you a price just about exactly twice
what they'll take.  The key, of course, is getting them to come down
without a counter offer.  If you go up before they come down, the
middle point might be got to by you, and then they'll counter offer
just a little bit above the midpoint.  So you leave.  They holler out
a second drop, which keeps you on schedule for the 50% point.

We're messing around here for about buck.  What's the point?  But in
reality, I'm light on money, so if I want to get what I want to get, I
have to haggle them down, or I'm not going to have everything when I
get home, or I'm not going to be able to pay the bill at MELCAM.

Which is an issue, because Lanto (ie SALFA) wants to pay $66 that I
ran up while Doug and Ramona were here.  Which is crap.  I'm not with
rotary.  I didn't get them the computers.  I don't want to take $66 of
money to buy TB cure out of their budget.

So I want to have enough in pocket to ace out Lanto and pay my WHOLE

After getting the total from Leon, I ask for Hasine to come with me to
the bank.  I'll be carrying more money than I usually do, more than
$300, and I'm nervous.  This, by the way is probably three months
salary for Hasine.

We walk it over to the bank, get it changed, drop by the post office,
and come back.  I feel the hugeness of the wad of cash on the way
there, but that's nothing compared to 630,000 Ariary in my pocket on
the way back.  10,000 is the biggest unit they have, so I've got more
than sixty rolled-up bills in my pocket.  I feel obvious and LOADED.

I pass most of that to Leon, then make a thank you envelope for
Honorine.  I write something, if I may say so myself, nice.  That's
easy to do when it's true.  "People here treated me like a king, which
was pleasant, but it was you who made me feel safe, and cared for, and
at home."  All true.  I walked away from Madagascar with 7,000 Ariary,
and I did so because I thought I might need it for water of somesuch.
I didn't and so I think, damn, should have given that to Honorine.
She deserves as much as I have.  She's a jewel.

At work (yes, managed to get to work) I spent a couple of hours with
the gimp, trying to make some nice logos for them.  Also trying to
munge said logos into vectors, which are more useful than rastor
images.  Didn't work so well.  I'll get it done over the weekend and
send it to them.

This weekend I also need to arrange a website.  SOA (Claire) came
through at the last minute and bought the site, and I found out very
quickly that something was wrong with the website.  The site is canned
-- you need to go through a wizard and use one of their templates.
We're screwed, and I need to get both our money back and a new

I'm low, because of this, and leave in failure.  Well, I got a lot
more out of this than SALFA did.  Gonna have to just live with that

I get home and pack up.  Doesn't take long.  I clean a little, take
out the trash for the very first time (it's been piling up) and give
Honorine the envelope.

She hugs me for a long time, squeezing hard, when she reads the note,
and doesn't even look at the bills.

Later, and hour before Lanto should come, she comes by my apartment
and hugs me again and cries.  I break out the stash in the fridge and
split one with her: some American isn't getting a chocolate bar.
Sorry, it was needed here.  I manage to get her to eat almost half.

Pat and Gaylord are out to dinner with some muckamucks so we have
already said our good-byes.  Lanto arrives at 9:30pm with his three
oldest kids.  I hand him the tripod -- I won't be needing it again, at
least for this trip, and ply the kids with a chocolate covered caramel
from the local chocolate factory (they're only eight cents each!).

And by 11:00pm, I'm past customs, alone, sitting at the gate, fighting
off sleep, and waiting for a plane.