Manners, Part Two
Posted by Cris on June 20, 2007
I forgot to mention a few things yesterday. Many times, most actually, I feel at home here and people dont bug me. I thought the other day about a particular taxi route I take where I have never been asked for the wrong price. That seems unbelievable, but its true. In my neighborhood people
are great- they know or at least recognize me, so I have the benefeits of face-recognition credit, in other words, “I dont have 2 birr now, but can I take the half kilo of avocados and pay you tomorrow?”
But there are those other times which boil my blood. It is a case, basically, of first impression. I look like a tourist, so they
treat me as one. How could they know? The same reason they tell me an avocado is 5 dollars is the same reason their faces
drop when I reply, “Yeah right” in Amharic.
I used to think of the higher prices as a sort of tax. In Senegal it was the “toubab tax”, here the “farenji tax”. But the more I think about it the more I just realize its a form of racism. I am white, therefore rich, therefore should pay more. Im not talking about when people tell me the wrong price hoping Im an idiot- Im talking about when you know the right price, you see others paying it, and they still wont give it to you. This really, I must stress, doesnt happen often here. Overall im quite surprised at how often it doesnt happen.
No, (some people have asked) I didnt stop the taxi and try to trade places with the preggie lady. It wouldve been too much of
a hassle, and Im not sure people would have understood that I was being nice and not just holding up the taxi more.
***Thanks to everyone for the comments and insight, on this post and all the others. New pictures up, if this computer
lets it happen.