Well, even while in Africa, every time you see a foreigner you think he is rich. It’s the same here, only that I’m at the wrong end of this stereotype. First, the parents want you to marry their daughters. Then, the shopkeepers try to cheat you. Or they might not cheat you, but if you are asking for something, they’ll only show you the expensive brands thinking that you don’t deserve the cheap brands. (the other day I went to a drug shop for Panadols – poor me, I didn’t know they were paracetamols – so I got offered brands that were more expensive than food, until I saw one written on paracetamol, and a friend told me “that’s what you are looking for, of course Panadol is a brand name, it’s not the drug!” I laughed at myself, as I remembered a woman in Uganda who told the shopkeeper “Give me the colgate called Delident”)
Okay. Because they think you are rich, they will want you to get married, they will try to cheat you, they will offer you expensive products, and the thieves will keep breaking into your house!
I’ve had two break-ins so far.
The first time, I was inside, playing music so loudly, at about 11:00am in the morning, and there was this guy trying to break open the door. I thought I was not hearing properly. I turned down the volume of my music, and I heard it clearly, a guy with a chisel trying to open the door. A very foolish attempt, I must say, and I couldn’t imagine what kind of thief comes to your door in the middle of a morning! When I came out, the thief ran away. Neighbors told me not to bother reporting. “It’s just a petty thief.”
Well, the second time, I was away for three weeks. First to Nepalgunj, then to Kathmandu. And this time, the guy managed to break into the house. I guess he had all those days to come everyday and make an attempt, until the door was too weak. I live in a bungalow, all by myself, walled off from the neighbors, and they only realized there had been a break in when they say water flowing out into the road.
You see, this thief didn’t steal anything valuable. You’d imagine that after going through all that pain to break open the door, he’d make away with everything worth a thousand dollars (and there were quite a few items worth that) but what did he steal? Water taps.
I couldn’t believe it. The police couldn’t believe it. Everyone laughed when they heard it. What kind of thief breaks into a house just to steal water taps? Why not carry away the motorized pump, or the laptop, or the video camera. Why only water taps?
But maybe he was trying to punish me, for when I got back home, there was no water, and the temperature rose to over 40degrees. I couldn’t stop sweating, yet I couldn’t get a shower at all! I had to bathe like the Nepalis, which is out in the open, but maybe I’ll talk about their bathing habits in another post.
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