Friday, March 13, 2009

what is going on here????

I just haven't quite figured this one out.

It has happened to me twice now, and I am still not sure quite what the deal is.

Both times I have been walking down the street speaking English with another woman, no children around, when a man, both times a relatively recently immigrated African, has come up to me and started chatting.

Both times I have been just walking along, and they have been friendly, well dressed and neatly put together.

They fall into step beside me and say hello.

I respond with hello,

Then they ask where I am from, I respond with Canada, and ask where they were from, not a question I would normally feel it polite to ask so early in a conversation, but, well, they started it I figure....

We then ask each other how long we've been here, what langauges we can speak, I usually ask to learn a word or two in their languages that I cannot speak....the guy today was from Gambia and the languages he spoke were English and Mandinka. The conversation continues for a bit longer, and then we are usually heading in different directions, I bid them a friendly farewell, and we go our separate ways.

I remain a little mystified by the encounters though.

Just extroverted friendliness? Do they want to practice their English? Are they angling for something and are disconcerted by my friendly interest and never get around to the bid, I don't think my pockets are at risk, they are too friendly and to in my face, and both times they were alone.

Trust me, I checked.

Gonna have to ask about this one.......see what I can figure it out.

9 comments:

She said...

Hmmm. Africans are in general really friendly (that was my experience while I was there), but who knows. Maybe they just heard English and knew they could communicate with you.

My only marriage proposal have come from men in Ghana and Togo! :) I was too young when they asked, but perhaps if one asked today, I might just do it!

I'd say you are just approachable and friendly, both wonderful qualities. If you discover it's something else, do let us know! Fascinating!

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

I would be on guard too, probably my body language would be screaming. Maybe you just attract a certain energy. Hmmm. It is to ponder...

Diane Mandy said...

Since I witnessed this first hand during your delightful tour of the city, I am curious to know what people think!

Beth said...

Isn’t it kind of sad that we’re suspicious of and wonder about such apparently innocent and friendly encounters? (Especially with men.) Is it our cultural upbringing?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be wondering…
My bet is it’s your English that attracts them – and oh, yeah, your good looks, too!

swenglishexpat said...

I understand your hesitation and bewilderment. Stick with caution, would be my general advice, but like other comments say, why be so suspicious? Experience, I suppose, is the answer. It's a toss-up between cynicism/scepticism and openness/friendliness; which is the right approach? Time might tell....

Anonymous said...

Sounds too perfect and down pat to be real.
Like super-good conmen seeking suckers but testing the water first.
Ever got the emails offering to share an inheritance of millions - if you'll just pay the costs of translation fees for the will and agree to the use of your bank account for the money transfer!GM

Helen said...

I would be very suspicious. Con men are by their nature very appealing and pleasant or they wouldn't get much money, and they will aim for a foreigner instead of a local because they will take you for a tourist. B & I got stalked by some girls when we were in Rome - it was very spy like because we even did the shoelace tying thing to see if they stuck with us, which they did but we shook them off bY B glaring at them in a 'I know what you are doing' way. A friend in Barcelona had the map and bag trick done on her but her bag zip was broken so they got nothing. I don't trust people in that situation.

oreneta said...

She, I like your ideas. I am hoping it was just general friendliness both times....

Bhodi, people talk to me...all. the. time. I also talk to complete strangers quite a bit too....so it may be an energy thing as well....

Diane, what was your impression of the whole thing???? I'll post once I've asked....

Beth, I think it would be stupid to not be careful and aware, but that doesn't mean that you can't be friendly too....I just keep wondering about their motive...

Swenglish...I tend to go with guarded friendliness....it was a large bright well lit street.

Gm...possible....

Helen, BCN is a mess for crime, there is no two ways about that one...the stalking in Rome is a little freakier...though that teacher glare could probably work without too many problems...

Vancouver Isle Doug said...

First thing I thought of was a live version of those e-mails from Nigeria, claiming they have MILLIONS of dollars for you to help them claim! IS that suspicious of me, or WHAT??