09 August 2007

Pickpocket paranoia

[7/28/07 Dear Carrie, I’ve been alone only a few times in Madagascar. My first night in Tana, I went on a walk at sunset by myself. I got so lost -- in the flippin neighborhood --that I had to call Elana, my roommate, for directions. Those didn’t work. So I had her meet me at a sign that we both recognized. On Sunday night, at the Sakalava festival, I got separated from Bobby, a Peace Corps volunteer whom I was walking around with. The crowd was swarming. I figured it was a good idea to keep my hand on the expensive camera in my pocket (worth about a year’s salary here). That’s when I felt fingers brushing against my hand and drifting along my shorts, feeling for what I was carrying with me . Later, I noticed that money was missing from my back pocket. Not much. Just enough to make me feel uncomfortable. The longer I’m here, the smarter I will become about gauging safety. Don’t worry, I’m being careful. But I think the more time I spend fending for myself here, the less I will feel helpless and paranoid, as I did temporarily that night. And the closer I will be able to get to this place. Hope Deter, the nose-biting dog, is keeping you safe, happy and sound. – John]

1 comment:

Elana said...

I would like to clarify, as John's roommate, that when he got lost in my "neighborhood" he was actually lost only a block from my house. Furthermore, when I try to give him bus directions to get around Tana, his face fills with panic.