The Ugly Expat

Seafront, Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde

So many smiling people. Everybody smiles. Everybody is friendly. Everybody except one.

A scowling man exhibits all the traits of an expat. He knows the bar staff, he orders his drinks confidently; a man who knows the local ropes. His gaunt face is deeply tanned, the shade of someone who has spent a lot of time under the African sun but who isn’t African.

I only notice him because a man in ragged clothes walks over to his table and mimes he’s hungry.

I notice him because instead of just saying no and turning away, he stands up and puts his angry face right into the beggar’s before mimicking the beggar by pointing his fingers to his own mouth and then laughing. It’s disrespectful.

It annoys me.

The beggar puts out a hand. The ugly expat swats it away as if it were an annoying fly.

Maybe the beggar should have walked away. But the expat is treating him like he’s excrement on his shoe.

His actions have all the hallmarks of someone who thinks the beggar is a lesser being. This was a colonial town. The thought enters my head that there might be at least one person who thinks it still is.

I want to go across and ask the expat why he thinks it’s okay to behave in this manner to another human being. Truth is I want to punch him right in his smug face.

It’s not my town. It’s not my battle.

I do a very British thing instead; I glare furiously.

That’ll hurt him.


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