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A woman of a certain reputation

INDIA | Wednesday, 7 December 2011 | Views [435]

I may be gathering something of a reputation. Call it paranoia, but after a short while of living in any neighbourhood, the entire world knows your business. This happened in Addis during an extended 4 day transit. Everyone on the road on the hill where I ‘lived’ knew where I’d been, who I was with, and the latest status of the flight situation. This breeds a certain familiarity with the neighbours. One morning, emerging from my hotel a ‘neighbour’ jumped up to greet me

Neighbour: “you didn’t come home last night!”

Me: “Yes I did!”

Neighbour ”I didn’t see you”

Me: “That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!”

It’s becoming like that here... everyone, the shopkeepers, the chemist, the taxi driver and vegetable stall man all know me. In fact the GK3 (yes GK3) taxi company are like my personal chaperones. There are one or two who take me often. What they know about me is this: I hire a taxi... usually to go to a 5 star hotel... I stay a few hours. I leave. And Ma’am was last seen leaving the Taj with a blonde man kissing her on both cheeks.


My wander to work (past the chaperones gathered outside the taxi company) is fast becoming the walk of shame.

Oh you can think I’m paranoid – but I’ve been here before.

My situation was not assisted by my local chemist. I went in to buy some cream for a cold sore. He didn’t have the brand I wanted so picked an unbranded tube out of a drawer and placed it on the counter. Loudly, in front of all the customers and poking distance from the other shopkeepers said “Herpes cream madam. Same same.”


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