“Ah… Suéçia, that’s next to Italy, right?”

I cannot possibly be offended that no one has the slightest clue where I come from when, after all, I had no idea where Suriname was before I got stuck overnight in it’s capital, Paramaribo, two weeks ago. Even when trying to clarify Sweden’s location by mentioning Scandinavia I am met by blank looks. Furthermore, when deciding to go to the Amazon I was very naively expecting a few villages scattered about in the jungle, and not the densely-populated cities I have seen so far. It’s ironic that I left London because I couldn’t stand all the cars, just to arrive in South America where there’s even more of them. And the way they drive – meu Deus! – I feel inclined to recite a few Ave Marias before each journey. Not to mention how incredibly Swedish it feels to insist on wearing a seatbelt. Diego even ordered me to take it off before picking up a bunch of teenage girls as he claimed they would laugh at me.

I do stick out quite a bit – even in big Belém people stare at my blonde hair and white skin. Even my weight causes fascination: “But how thin you are! Here, eat this – it will help making you fatter!” The fact that I’m a vegetarian, don’t drink coffee and am trying to avoid sugar as much as possible don’t really help me blending in with the natives. However, my host families accommodate my strange habits without complaining, even though they cannot understand how I manage to drink unsweetened orange juice…

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Categories: December 2012 | Leave a comment

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