November 17, 2008

Everyone in Zambia Hates Me

I walked to Zambia from Botswana (with the aid of a small ferry). I had spent all week in the bush and so it was kind of exciting for me to see people again. Alas, right after I took this snap, I incited a small riot of bitter, angry Zambian women. They demanded I give them money for their picture. Oops, I think I just fell right into the great debate of tourism--the objectification of foreigners, "poorism", and exploitation, etc. But you know, all I wanted was to take a picture.

In fairness, while I was a grad student at Oxford, busloads of Russian and Japanese tourists used to stop and take pictures of me, especially when I was dressed in sub-fusc. My only consolation is the thought of hundreds of pictures of me in the family photo albums of Osaka.

1 comment:

Camels & Chocolate said...

I really hate that part of travel--when you snap a picture and the subjects demand money. You want to be able to accurately tell a visual story through your photos, but can't if they're coming after you with greedy hands. I think Morocco is one of the worst countries for that (surprisingly, in Guatemala last month, I was expecting a similar effect, and they just stared at me the more snap-happy I got, never asking for so much as a cent). I mean, when I used to live off of Times Square, I never asked the ubiquitous Japanese tourists who frequently photographed me (because I was both taller than them and blonde) for recompense!

I've wanted to go to Zambia ever since my family hosted three Zambian exchange students when I was in high school. They used to tell tales of watching Three Stooges marathons on a small black-and-white monitor that ran off of a car battery.