Not for us – not yet – but close. Meanwhile:
Don’t try to order anything here without expecting them not to have it. Is that too many negatives? Expect to be told: there’s no more, it’s “finished.” Management of stock – or anything else – is not an artform that has taken hold here. A common conversation at a maquis (a place for food & drink) might run as follows:
Client: What is there to eat?
Service: Oh, there is everything! There’s pâte…
Client: Okay, there’s pâte. What else?
Service: Well, what would you like?
Client: Is there rice?
Service: Oui! There’s rice… (five minutes pass). Ah, there’s no rice. It’s finished.
Client: Okay, what else is there?
Service: Well, there’s pâte…
Service: No, there isn’t any[thing else]. It’s all finished
Client: Okay, I’ll have pâte. What sauce is there? Is there meat?
Service: Red sauce [the simplest, boringest kind]. The meat’s finished.
Rinse and repeat with your favorite sizes and brands of beers and sodas. Of course, it all comes from a good place: no-one ever wants to flat out refuse someone something, as it might be taken as bad hospitality.
That extreme aversion to bad hospitality manifests itself in boldface lies:
Zemidjan: Of course I know where that is!
Kids at the Tata Sombas: No, it won’t rain tonight!
Taximan: Sure, I’ll drive you all the way to Accra; no, you won’t even have to get out of the car.
Most of the time, at least, they’re mostly harmless (though annoying) or even funny (such as the kids). There, at least, there’s at least one aspect of the culture we use to our advantage as PCVs:
PCV: Of course I’ll find you $8 million to finance your small business and fly you overseas to visit me and some investors!
Smile, kids, we’re going home!