Out of Africa

June 13, 2012


I was anticipating a book delivery from Fiji when my delivery postal person says:

“Yeah, it arrived yesterday … I needed your signature so it’s waiting at the post office. Something from China, I think.”

I mildly stated that the package I was anticipating came from Fiji, and her educated response:

“Oh, Fiji. That’s the country that looks like China.”

WOW. In your dreams.

Since when did Fiji evolve to ‘look like CHINA’?

ID your location .... and tell me some thing about your country
Nina Matthews Photography / Foter

                        Even allowing for the entire island chain, its obvious Fiji

                            wouldn’t even fit into a CORNER of China…

 Some extrapolation:

1.    If Fiji looks like China – then China must be a BIG ISLAND, no?

2.    If Fiji looks like China – the Chinese must all live on hot tropical beaches, no?

3.    If Fiji looks like China – all that Chinese food we enjoy must be ‘island style fare’, no?

Perhaps the USPS went to MY school. My entire grade school class had no clue about the world. A situation which apparently began early and was sustained well into high school and adult years.

Now, soft: I was well known for Diane’s Rebellion Against Africa in junior high. Having dutifully memorized ALL the teenytiny nations of the blasted continent years earlier, upon being informed that the entire continent (pretty much) had decided to play musical chairs with its names, rendering all my careful memorization mote, I flatly refused to consider Africa (or anything in it) as anything more than ‘the continent of’.

The Belgian Congo therefore, in my mind, still lives on. And is ALWAYS preceeded by the descriptor ‘deepest and darkest’…

Abyssinia is still an empire with no steenkin’ Ethiopia in sight.

French Sudan aptly explained the nation’s early heritage, while the sad state of affairs they call ‘Mali’ says ABSOLUTELY NUTTIN’.

Upper Volta sounds intriguingly shocking, whilst I personally never bother with two-name nations like its replacement, Burkina Faso.

There was a monetary fortune-kinda attraction to The Gold Coast that ‘Ghana’ will NEVER hold for me.

Nubia sounds attractively goat-like: its split into Sudan AND Egypt is nuttin’ but confusing – and wrong, wrong, wrong…

Togoland – which sounded attractively like either ‘Toto’ of Wizard of Oz or ‘pogo’ (as in the stick) – also melted into the ubiquitous Ghana. Which sounds like nothing.

I was informed in junior high that APPARENTLY the maps I had used for my careful memorization way back in grade school were long outdated. Like, by a decade.


No. 30; American view of Africa from 1839
Edu-Tourist / Foter


                       (The “you have GOT to be kidding me” map)

STILL: such dedication to the pursuit of knowledge should not be wasted; so in my mind Zanzibar shalst ever exist as the alluring, exotic locale of darkest Africa; not to be confused by ‘Tanzania’, of which apparently today it is only a part of and not even the whole Tanzanian shebang…

So maybe I can kinda understand why ‘Figi Looks Like China’ to the USPS.

Maybe THEIR delivery map is a bit outdated, too.

Which would explain the occasional straying international shipment quite handily.

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