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It’s very common in Georgetown that someone calls out to you using affectionate terms of endearment. So if the person selling you tomatoes calls you babe or asks, ‘would you like some eddo leaf sweetheart ?’, it would be considered normal.

Cat calls are really common, air blown kisses from roadside Romeos and so forth. If  anyone annoys you, just don’t engage. Otherwise, everyone in Guyana is very affectionate.

I remember this hilarious experience I had with a tailor in Dar es Salaam who once told me, in the same breath with which he discussed the bill, that he loved me. All that in front of his apprentices and partners. Hell yes ! I guess he literally translated ‘ninaku penda’ and aired out his feelings in public. So I took them in with the greatest equanimity, said I liked him too but that I liked his work better and it’d be great if he didn’t confuse my less than 30 inches waist with that of someone thrice my size and that I was going to give him less than 24 hours to fix the linen pants that appeared to have been tailored for Goliath. Perhaps he liked me so much that he wanted to fit two of me into the same pair of linen trousers !! Much like a reverse situation of ‘Shallow Hal’.

In Guyana though, affectionate phraseology is a mainstay of the local lingua. So don’t be perturbed if you happen to come by expressive people,  in and around Georgetown.

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