Okay I get stared at. I first noticed it in Namibia, where people spent most of their time trying to figure out what country I was from. (Angola? No, South Africa? No, Cuba? No, I know Egyptian!) Then as I traveled through different parts of Africa I noticed that my staring ranged from almost none at all (Ghana, South Africa, Senegal) to medium ( Zambia) to nearly igniting flames (Namibia, Mali).
Even after I returned to the states I realized that I get a fair share of looks. These often varied with how big my hair was that day.
But India has taken this to a whole new level. Delhi was the worst where I virtually felt like I was in my own personal spotlight. Which was made worse because most of the people out in Delhi are men. Kolkata has at least men and women, but it is still pretty intense.
I was walking with a visiting friend of Andy's from Bangalore, Chris, and he decided to count how many people stared at me as we took a walk. He gave up when he had reached 25 within the first 5 minutes.
Today a small man sped up to walk abreast of Andy and I on our walk to work this morning. Not only was he walking shoulder to shoulder with me but he was staring intently for about a block. When I finally looked over he sped up to walk ahead of me, but still turning around to stare at me. I mentioned this fact to Andy who pointed out the fact that he was still staring at me. Finally after about 4 minutes of this I stared back at him until he crossed the street and went into a store, still staring at me until the last moment.
All this on a day when my hair was back in a bun, imagine what happens when I rock my Afro Puff!