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I love stereotypes though as a foreigner, I really ought to hate them. One of the most enduring realities of living in a foreign land is that you will constantly be bathed, scrubbed and wrapped with stereotypes. I suspect that this is especially so if you are African. Some who have watched that crazy film with Eddy Murphy will assume that you are a Zamunda citizen waiting to pull some crazy stunt on them. They will mostly ignore you but if they have a minute to spare, they will look at you with wry amusement laced with unhinged curiosity.
“The president will be here shortly!” The taxi driver told us looking into the distance.
The president? We all wondered though none of us said anything. It was one of those moments, when you can clearly read everyone’s mind.
We had booked a camel trip to the desert that was supposed to start at 2 pm. But at 2 pm, no one came. At 2.30 pm, this guy arrived.
“I take you to the camels!” he had told us. We had jumped into his taxi relieved that he knew our names and the fact that we were waiting to be taken to the camels. But the taxi had come to a screeching halt, at this deserted train station, with no camels in sight.
“Please comfortable comfortable.” He had told us pointing to the bench. His English was halting, laden with French and perhaps Arabic. His smile was open in a don’t-trust-me kind of way.
We made our way to the bench. It was shiny and new and looked completely out of place. The four of us plopped onto it.