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Vignettes

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

“Tourists are rubbish,” said the shopkeeper, disgusted I hadn’t happened to buy anything at his shop. “Rubbish,” he emphasized.

“It’s no problem, come closer,” the man said, gesturing me into his shop. Since his other arm was around my shoulders, pressing me forward rather roughly, it took some effort not to.

Catching my eye, the snakecharmer gave his cobra a sharp rap on the nose to make it hiss and stand up, neck flared.

“Bonjour!” the 12-year-old shopkeeper sang out, insistently. Getting no response, he continued in English, before switching to Spanish, trying German for good measure, and Arabic just in case.

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