Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Return of the Dreaded Boas Festas

Around this time last year I wrote about the boas festas phenomenon. Boas festas means happy holidays; this time of year is generally when employers give out holiday pay. The expectations are not limited to employers- anyone who looks like they have any sort of money will be asked for money. It works like this: the requesting party will say "Boas Festas!" and then hold out his or her hand.

I should be used to it by now, but I'm always a little astounded when it happens. Here are this year's boas festas highlights:
  1. In the ShopRite parking lot, a teenage girl tried to sell me some dish rags. (Note to vendors: the Angolan equivalent of Wal-mart is NOT the best place to be selling things.) When I said no, she then said, "Amiga, boas festas!" Oh, well- I didn't want to five you money in exhcange something of value, so let me just give it to you for free!
  2. There is a mad rush on food and beverages during the holiday season, so I went to the last shop in town that was selling reasonably priced cases of beer. (Reasonable price = US$20 for a 12 pack as opposed to US$30.) At this particular shop, you tell the clerk what you want, pay for it, and get a receipt to take to the dispatch in the back. They then wheel the goods out to your car. When the guy finished loading the beer, he held out his hand and said "Boas festas!" Annoyed, I said, "Okay, obrigada e boas festas para ti tambem!" (Okay, thanks and happy holidays to you also!") He looked confused, like he wanted to tell me that I was supposed to give him money, but he caught on and prefered to them mock with his friends. They might have thoguht it was funny, but who had the money?
  3. And this year's audcity winner goes to the young kids who live near my coworker Bernie. Christmas Day he heard a knock on his door and opened it to find a group of kids standing there. They held out their hands and in unison said, "Boas festas!" a la trick-or-treating. Bernie, who had no idea who the kids were, just laughed and shut the door.

No comments: