I’m spending the weekend in Washington D.C and I’m again struck by the level of enjoyable discussion one can have at the back of a taxi. In fact it is a world of difference from the country music blasting, older gruff white man driving experience I had on my way to the airport to catch my flight here.
Both taxi drivers in DC were originally from Ethiopia. One made it clear that he was Oromo and trying to instill in his seven year old daughter pride in herself. He started discussion by asking whether I was Tunisian or Nigerian. I thought it was such a weird question, how often does one mistake a Tunisian with a Nigerian? In either case he refused to accept that I was Ghanaian.
The other taxi driver wanted to know our opinion on the events in Egypt. “Good or bad?” he asked. We concluded “good” and went on to discuss whether similar events could occur in real African countries (since Tunisia and Egypt consider themselves Middle East).
My friend works at The World Bank and we were on our way to a housewarming party of a colleague. Again a world of difference. I think no-one in that apartment was American. Strange, to say the least.