Sorry I've been delinquent about posting recently. I've had guests in town for the last few days, and have been spending most of my time with them.
Okay, story of the day . . .
One of the first cultural lessons I learned here was this, "don't talk to women." In this culture, men and women don't interact much in public. If they're a relative that's a little different, but for the most part men talk to men and women talk to women. Business interactions don't conform to that rule, but pretty much everything else does.
I live in the second story of a three story building. The first floor is a fish shop, the second floor is my flat, and the third floor and roof are unfinished. Recently the landlord has started finishing the third floor and building another flat on the roof so that they can live in the building. They have four daughters who are going to live in the flat above us, and the parents are going to live on the roof. With all of the construction going on lately, there's always people coming and going. We changed the lock to the front door when we moved in and gave the landlord a copy of it. But he keeps losing his key, which leads to people banging on the door really loud, wanting us to let them in so they can come work on the flat upstairs.
Okay, I know that was a long setup to the story, but here it goes. Yesterday I was sitting around the house when I heard someone banging on the door downstairs. I knew the landlord was upstairs, so I didn't answer the door. I assumed the landlord would let them in. Well, he didn't, and the banging kept going and going. I finally opened the door of my flat and told whoever was downstairs to wait a minute. I put on my sandals and went downstairs, and discovered a teenage girl standing at my door, crying. I didn't know if she was crying because I'd yelled at her to wait a minute or because of some other reason. I really wasn't sure what to do. I've so gotten used to not talking to women, and now I have one crying on my doorstep.
I invited her in, but she wouldn't come in. But she wouldn't leave either. So I finally went upstairs and found my landlord's wife. I told her that there was a young lady crying downstairs and I wasn't sure what to do about it. She sent down her oldest daughter to sort things out, and when I went downstairs to leave about 15 minutes later they were talking in the stairwell. All in all, kind of an awkward moment.