Wikivoyage:Joke articles/San Serriffe

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Capital Bodoni
Currency dimes Roman (dR)
Population 1,782,724 (1973 census)
Electricity 190V/42Hz (South African plug)
Time zone UTC +8

San Serriffe [1] is an island nation in the Southern Indo-Pacific Ocean.


  • Upper Caisse (Caissa Superiore) — the larger main island, to the north
  • Lower Caisse (Caissa Inferiore) — the smaller main island, to the south


Other destinations[edit]


Long unfairly neglected by travelers, the islands of San Serriffe truly offer something for everyone: a rich culture full of fascinating customs, an informative case study for environmentalists and economists, and a treasure trove of unusual tubers for botanists. Now under nominally democratic government, now is the time to discover San Serriffe's distinctive cuisine, tropical climate and quaint transportation, before the next volcanic eruption occurs.


Written history of the archipelago is somewhat unfairly dated from European colonisation in the early 15th century, though there is clear evidence of a rich history before that. In particular, some have identified San Serriffe as the Biblical land of Abyss, where "an island was removed from its place" (Revelation 6:14) and from where the Beast will crawl out onto Earth. Some scholars, however, contend that the Apocalypse has already occurred and San Serriffe is the result.

The island is named after Sant Sharrif, a 10th century Indian saint who set sail with his band of followers from the coast of present-day Gujarat on a quest to go around the world and reach the Himalayas from the North. This desperate attempt was made necessary by the fact that overland pilgrimage routes to the Himalayas were blocked by Jain monks who insisted on engaging all pilgrims in debates on the epistemological challenges arising from Anekantavada.

Unfortunately, the Chinese-made compass the voyagers were carrying malfunctioned and they were swept into what is now known as the Bay of Tilde. Sant Sharrif claimed that the land he had just found was actually one of the seven islands they'd have to cross to reach the Himalayas, and claimed the islands in the name of King Harsha Verdhana who had financed the expedition. The name that stuck, however was that of Sharrif.

From 1432, San Serriffe was colonized, conquered and retaken in rapid succession by the Spanish, the Portuguese, the British, the Italians and, on one memorable occasion, Luxembourg. It was the Portuguese, though, who had the most influence and who finally granted San Serriffe its long-awaited independence in 1967.

Alas, independent San Serriffe rapidly turned into an autocratic dictatorship under the rule of General Pica, whose Justified Party led with an iron fist and crushed all traces of the Aligned rebellion. Pica's machete-wielding paramilitary hit squads -- called Chapoo Peeko or Smallcaps for their trademark headwear -- kept the population in a constant state of terror. However, following a palace coup in 1990 led by General Melior (formerly Pica's gardener), in 1997 the islanders held their first democratic elections and elected the charismatic Antonio Bourgeois, who ran on an emphatic platform of the redistribution of banana and pineapple wealth for all.

During the post-World War II years, from about 1946 through approximately 1970, the United States government operated a secret base for various scientific and military operations somewhere in the jungle hills about 25 miles (40 km) north of the city of Arial. The U.S. government has confirmed that a base once existed on the island, but has not provided any details of its operations or experiments. Today, all staff have been evacuated. Modern conspiracy theorists provide details that the base was the center of operations of Project Lucida, a project whose primary goal was weather control. Finally some Nazi and Fascist people exiled themselves From Germany and Italy, established the Government In Exile of Nazi Germany, and the Government In Exile of Fascist Italy in the jungles of Lower Caisse. And in 1865, some Confederate people exiled themselves and formed the Government In Exile of the Confederate States Of America, then in 1991 some Soviet people exiled themselves and formed the Government In Exile of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,in the jungles of Upper Caisse.


St. Pantographia, the patron saint of San Serriffe

Seriffean culture reflects its riotous mix of races and cultures. The native people of San Serriffe are the Flong, but they are outnumbered by the European settlers known as the colons. Naturally, there has been considerable intermarriage between the two groups, and these descendents are known as semi-colons. In the past twenty years, many of the nation's younger generation have become increasingly influenced by modern western culture, most notably by elements of the Hip-Hop, Rap, and Rastafarian subcultures. This generation has often been labelled as the apostrophes.

National font

To honor the Wingdings, Asterist priests the San Serriffe government declared "Wingdings", "Wingdings 2", and "Wingdings 3", which can be found on most personal computers in any nation, except San Serriffe, the national font. Since 1994 all documents have to be written or printed in either variant of Wingdings.

While nearly all world religions can be found on San Serriffe, the syncretic cult of Asterism is the largest faith, merging elements of Hinduism with Christianity and animistic Flong beliefs. Followers of Asterism believe that a mythical being known only as the Ascender will come and lift them above the baseline. Saint Pantographia, the four-faced elephant-headed goddess, is generally considered the patron saint and unifying symbol of San Serriffe. In her eight hands, she holds the torch of enlightenment, the inkwell of knowledge, the chameleon of change, the flywhisk of boredom, the spork of wisdom, the second inkwell of redundancy, the buzzsaw of detachment, and the starfish of asexual reproduction. Asterist priests are known as Wingdings, individuals who assist the Ascender in helping others rise above the baseline. Wingdings are among the highest regarded individuals in San Serriffe society, and obtaining Wingdinghood is highly coveted and one of the most sought-after careers in the nation.

Since the early colonization days, Asterism has forbidden virgins to marry. As a result of this, Wingdings would roam the San Serriffe countryside deflowering young virgins prior to marriage. This practice has spread in the 19th and 20th centuries to other islands in the South Pacific, such as Guam.

The national sport of San Serriffe is kerning. The game requires two teams of 9 men, various pieces of bamboo, and a pair of polished pineapple slices. The pineapple is slid across the playing field using bamboo, and the goal of kerning is to get your team's pineapple to overlap your opponents'. The rivalry between Port Clarendon's and Bodoni's municipal kerning sides is fierce (machete fights between backers are an infrequent but not unheard of occurrence), and the yearly pan-archipelago Verdhana Cup tournament (late May) usually pits these two top teams against each other for the coveted prize.


San Serriffe has been unkindly characterized as a banana republic, although Serriffeans themselves have been known to take offense at this suggestion and physically remind the commentator that pineapples are also an important export crop. (Critics must also concede that it's not really much of a republic, either.)

The recent discovery of oil in Upper Caisse also drew the attention of investors and the economy looked set to boom until oil analysts from the major companies ascertained that this was actually used engine oil which had been illegally dumped in a disused cess pit.

The city of Ems on Lower Caisse also has a burgeoning and legal sex industry. Workers of both sexes choose this occupation exclusively and thus are known as Mono-types. They enjoy considerable health and financial benefits under what has come to be known as the Braggadocio-Saxxe Act passed in 1977. Anton Braggadocio-Saxxe, son of the social reformer Aloysius Braggadocio-Saxxe, pioneered the use of brothels (known as Comfort Houses) as centres of therapeutic remedy with the slogan, 'It's good for what ails you.' The Act was passed with little opposition by the all-male parliament.

Because of this forward thinking attitude, and ther lack of stigma attached to the sex industry, pornography is virtually unknown and virtually pornography even more unknown. However, the city does sometimes labour to find enough accommodation for the huge influx of tourists.

Additionally, wealthy individuals from countries without this liberal outlook are now vying for real estate in Em. Notable amongst those seeking permanent 'R&R opportunities' are a number of leading international politicians, faded pop stars and numerous church dignitaries.


Thanks to its location in southern climes, San Serriffe enjoys interminably muggy weather, occasionally interrupted by spectacular thunderstorms and hail. Due to several failed U.S. Government weather-control experiments in the 1950s, the islands frequently have severe weather fluctuations, with temperatures in the low 10s and 20s and moderate snowfall of 10"-15", followed by temperatures as high as 105°F (41°C) a few days later.


  • The Nugradia is pretty much the only newspaper on the island, as The Eurostyle was banned by the San Serriffe government in 2004 for being too irrelevant.

Radio and television[edit]

There are no television stations on either island. There are two television sets, one in Tiki's Pub in the capital, Bodoni, which can occasionally receive broadcasts from New Zealand on good days, and another located in the President's Palace connected to a satellite dish. Radio Serriffe is the only local radio station operating on the island. They broadcast an eclectic mix of new age music with an occasional polka thrown in for good taste.

Get in[edit]

Visitors can generally obtain a free Visa on arrival, valid for a visit of up to 30 days with low introductory interest rates and no annual fee, courtesy of CapitalOne. However, note that due to a legacy of General Pica's heavy-handed rule, people with more than one em in their name may be detained for questioning and, in extreme cases, denied entry. While you can bring up to 1L of spirits, 200 cigarettes, and a "reasonable quantity" of class A narcotics, laws safeguarding the national tuberous heritage mean that the importation of foreign root vegetables is strictly prohibited. MasterCards are forbidden on the island, punishable by death by donqtuque.

By plane[edit]

Most travelers arrive in San Serriffe at National Hero Antonio Bourgeois International Airport (IATA code: NHB), just outside of Bodoni on Caissa Superiore. The national airline Lorem Ipsum has daily flights in and out of London, Frankfurt, Nairobi, Perth and Johannesburg and less regular flights to Kerala and Victoria in the Seychelles. Discount flier Quark provides express flights to and from Stansfield on alternate Tuesdays. A departure tax of 200 dRn is charged; note that, unusually, this is not payable in pineapples (although inspectors have been known to accept a potato instead).

By boat[edit]

The S.S.S.S. Grotesk sails between Port Clarendon and Maputo weekly, stopping at Port Louis and occasionally Yonaguni along the way. While fares are cheap and the accommodation provided is warm and fluffy, some sensitive travellers have reported allergic reactions after being cooped up below decks with sheep for two weeks.

By shipwreck[edit]

Due to San Serriffe's favorable location within 100 miles (161 km) of major Chinese-American shipping routes, combined with good prevailing winds, it is quite easy for survivors of major shipwrecks to wash up on the southeastern shores of the islands of Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. The government has also adopted a favorable immigration policy, allowing anyone washed ashore to be granted citizenship in the republic after 6 months of residence. It has been estimated that, historically, up to 25% of the island's current population arrived by shipwreck.

By tsunami[edit]

The cheapest way to get to the island is to reach the shores of Indonesia or Japan and wait for the tsunami to sweep you to this heaven on earth. If the tsunami dies down before you reach here and you drown mid-way then you have all the rights to sue God when you reach up there.

Get around[edit]

Scenic National Highway 1

A chronic shortage of fossil fuels and problems plaguing the national project to develop a banana-fueled combustion engine mean that San Serriffean public transportation can be best described as innovative. A popular means of conveyance is the donqtuque, a three-wheeled vehicle which resembles a Thai tuk-tuk, except that the motorcycle engine has been replaced by a donkey.

By road[edit]

San Serriffe's road network, originally built in colonial days, has suffered from lack of maintenance but is slowly being upgraded. For example, National Highway 1 connecting Bodoni to Port Clarendon has been widened and grade-separated to allow two bicycles to pass and is also navigable by armored personnel vehicle, at least in the dry season and assuming that passengers are equipped with machetes.

By train[edit]

San Serriffe once had an extensive network of narrow-gauge trains pulled by water buffalo. However, after General Melior decreed that only girls who had never had sexual intercourse may act as train conductors, the system ground to a halt due to a lack of eligible workers and was sold off as scrap.

By boat[edit]

As there are no airports on Lower Caisse, travel between the two islands is by sea. Ferry services depart from Port Clarendon irregularly and have been known to occasionally reach their destination. Alternatively, visitors wishing to doggie-paddle across can rent inflatable mattresses for a token fee (and a large deposit).

By shark[edit]

If someone has become sharks' friend he or she can drive any of them to get to the island.


Sign in Goudy, advising that trespassers will be shot

Although English and Portuguese are the two official languages, a creole language is spoken by 70% of the country's population. Using English and Portuguese words in the syntax of the native Flong tongue, as well as bits of Spanish and Arabic, Goudy, also known as ki-Flong, is fairly easy to pick up although hard to understand. While written in friendly Roman letters, the complex rules of Goudy spelling have often been likened to kindergarteners on crack stringing together letters plucked at random out of alphabet soup — this can make navigation a little challenging, as most San Serriffean signage is written only in Goudy.

See also: Goudy phrasebook


The official currency of San Serriffe is a relic from its brief Italian occupation -- Roman dimes (French: dimes Roman or dR). The currency was revalued in 1992 at a 10-to-1 exchange; the latest base currency is called New Roman dimes (French: dimes Roman nouveaux, dRn). Note that original colonial currency (dimes Roman italique) is no longer traded.

The islands suffer from a chronic shortage of small change, partly due to inflation, partly due to a national tendency to hoard shiny metal objects. It is thus not uncommon to receive change in bananas or, occasionally, pineapples instead; as of April 2006, commonly used exchange rates are 10 dR to the banana and 5 bananas to the pineapple. Note that attempting to pay with vegetables is considered somewhat rude.

ATMs can be found in the major towns, although due to occasional scams a certain degree of caution is warranted. Among native Serriffeans, it is standard practice to give the machine a couple of sturdy kicks before initiating the transaction, as this is thought to help distinguish actual ATMs from cardboard boxes with a guy inside.


A traditional Seriffean dinner, featuring swarfega (mashed), swarfega (pounded), swarfega (squished) and a roll of toilet paper

Seriffean cuisine is characterized by the heavy utilization of root vegetables, notably the bitter-sweet swarfega, a relative of the rutabaga. Swarfega is traditionally either mashed, pounded, squished or flattened into mushy cakes, which are then dipped into various interesting sauces and wrapped in toilet paper to make swallowing easier. The toilet paper also comes in handy one hour after eating, as swarfega has a tendency to cause explosive diarrhea.

Many Pineapple recipes have come to dominate the menu as well, primarily due to the overabundance of the fruit on the islands. Local residents have found ways to incorporate pineapples into virtually every dish possible, including soups, salads, flavoring for meats, and even Pineapple Beer!


San Serriffeans are a tippling bunch and prepare a variety of interesting alcoholic beverages from bananas, pineapples and swamp gas, which are put in a clay pot, sealed and buried for many years in a process known as leading.

Of particular note is plenque, an opaque, viscous, slurry-like brew made from swarfega which many visitors liken to beer, at least in terms of the hangover. It should never be consumed in small quantities, as it may lead to suicidal despair and a loss of will to live. A minimum of five bottles should be drunk, as the resulting memory loss will make you forget what it tasted like. Many visitors prefer the mash before the leading process has occurred; if you'd like to try it, ask for "unleaded" at the bar.

Tap water is generally not potable, primarily attributable to a failed U.S. government experiment dating back to the 1960s which attempted to create pure water out of human urine. However, this is rarely a problem, as most locals rely on San Serriffe's perennially drizzy climate and leaky corrugated aluminum roofing to provide them with a steady drip of water supply instead.


A San Serriffean self-service guesthouse

Accommodation options in San Serriffe are plentiful, as there is a vast assortment of palm trees to swing your hammock from. Visitors invited by the government may also choose to stay in one of the many palaces and country houses built by the political elite, with "special guests" linked to the Aligned movement sometimes provided private basement rooms complete with full board, 24-hour security, plentiful opportunities for reflection, a private trainer for pleasant chit-chat and a free supply of rodents. It is also possible to rent rooms at some of the local residences. It should however be noted that they, in turn, normally expect you to be their servant for a few hours a day. This may involve some sex (local custom).


Majuschool University in Bodoni has a well-regarded foreign exchange program, frequently attended by both law students and students on the run from the law. The University is also in the early stages of starting up a medical school, to give the law students something to practice on. For those seeking to get away from it all, the Carolingian Minuschool Academy is believed to be somewhere near Arial on Lower Caisse, although finding the diminutive building in the overgrown jungle can be difficult.


Work permits are difficult to obtain, although some illicit jobs may be available in the banana and pineapple harvesting season. While the work is backbreaking and wages tend to be paid irregularly if at all, most employers provide a free supply of swarfega and turn a blind eye to workers making a little extra on the side by smuggling out pineapples in their underwear.

Stay safe[edit]

Natural disasters[edit]

San Serriffe is regularly hit by earthquakes, volcano eruptions, typhoons, hurricanes, hailstorms, tsunamis and a particularly depressing kind of lukewarm drizzle. However, the Ministry of Statistics assures visitors that it has no record of any tourists, or locals for that matter, suffering an untimely end as a result, although this may not be unrelated to the fact that the entire National Archives was swallowed by a lava fissure in 2003.


There are few safety problems in San Serriffe, aside from occasional unprovoked attacks by machete-wielding thugs hopped up on plenque. Some locals advise not carrying a wallet and instead stuffing any dimes Roman and bananas that you are carrying down your pants instead, but this is not advisable as some criminal elements have caught onto the trick and violent removal may lead to undesired collateral damage. At Cocobanana Beach, excessive bulges have also been known to draw unwanted attention from the Fraternity.

Cameljacking is on the rise, it's best to rent a fully trained camel through Camel Ninjas [2].


U.S. citizens in the habit of posing as Canadians to avoid being automatically disliked by the natives, should be aware that San Serriffe is the only country that Canadians are unable to travel to. Section 1.1 of the Anti-Canadian Flag Pressed and/or Sewn into Backpacks Act of 1997 (ACDPSBA97) made it it punishable by one life sentence (25 years) "to wear or otherwise display a Canadian flag on any piece of clothing, skin, or object carrying system (suitcase, or backpack) whereas it gets annoying to see the damned maple leaf everywhere you turn." Calls by extremist banana farmers, most notably Chiquita fruit basket-wearing logo lady, have called for the punishment to fit the crime: death.

Stay healthy[edit]

San Serriffe is reasonably healthy as far as pestilent Third-World hellholes wracked by poverty and misrule go. The main danger is the Aedes syntaxidis mosquito, which can infect visitors with the dreaded Antiqua-Fraktur syndrome, resulting in unsightly indentation and painful ligatures. While a variety of Serriffean folk medicine cures, mostly involving vast quantities of plenque, are sometimes suggested, if infected the wisest course of action is prompt medical evacuation to a place with better healthcare, such as Mozambique. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and visitors should apply DDT-based mosquito repellants liberally, opt for light-colored clothing and avoid going out near dusk, dawn or in fact at all.

One must also watch out for dingbats, which are harmless in that they have no venom (or, for that matter, fangs), but which have a fondness for taking up all available space. They are very large, reaching a maximum weight of fifty pounds by adulthood, and may have a winspan of up to twenty feet. Being large, the frequencies they use for echolocation fall within the human range of hearing, hence the name "ding"-bats.


The traditional Serriffean greeting is to lift your right elbow towards the person you wish to greet and place the palm of your hand against your forehead, while saying dhow (pronounced "dough"; the D should be aspirated, with a puff of air). However, this is considered rather formal and among friends a mere limp flick of the wrist in their general direction is quite sufficient.

The people of San Serriffe hold widows and orphans in high regard. Perceived unfair treatment of these people will result in raised tempers (of the hot type).


BanaComm, the newly privatized former San Serriffe State Communications Company (SSSCC), maintains a monopoly on fixed and mobile phone services through San Serriffe. Thanks to a recent presidential directive, roaming throughout the country with GSM phones is now allowed, although as San Serriffe has not yet adopted GSM there isn't actually any local network to roam on. Landline quality can be rather variable, and for urgent communications many locals choose to employ the faster and more reliable services of express mail operator IP-AvCar [3] instead. An inter-island communications network, consisting of two cups connected by a string, is being constructed between the two major islands, and is expected to be completed by 2007.