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5 Outrageous Things That Have Happened to Me as a Black Traveler

By Rachel Hill

rachel hill

1. Touching my natural hair.

Depending on my mood, I rock various hairstyles when I travel. My favorite style is wearing my hair big, kinky, and curly. Depending on how long I travel, I may even wear braids or faux locs. Spending some time in Thailand, I was negotiating on a few items in a night market when I felt someone’s fingers patting my hair. One of the patrons in the market was so intrigued by my faux locs that she could not help herself and wanted to feel my hair for herself!

2. Sneaking photos of me.

This happened to me a ton in China. Typically, when I was enjoying some of the tourists sites like the Forbidden City or the Great Wall of China, many of the locals would follow me around and either sneak pictures of me or try to sneak inmy pictures with me. To combat this, when they would take photos of me, I would take photos of them taking photos of me!

3. Rubbing my skin.

The first time I went to China, I stayed with a host family in a small town outside of Chengdu. As the family hadn’t been exposed to many foreigners, I knew this would be an “authentic” experience. One evening, I was walking in a produce market with my host family when an older woman with no teeth came up to me smiling. She grabbed my arm and began rubbing it up and down, speaking in Mandarin with a smile full of gums. When my host family translated it to me, they said that the older woman thought that my skin was very soft and beautiful but she was certain that my brown color would rub off!

4. Touching (and talking about) my butt.

No doubt, I’m a curvy woman. While this is certainly a gift, it can be a challenge when you’re shopping for clothes overseas. It was “laundry day” for me and I had no more bottoms, so I opted for a pair of those cute tribal-patterned pants from the market that cost about $2.13. Needless to say, they were pretty snug. In the same market, a group of teenage girls were staring at me and pointing. Finally, one of them walked up to me, pointed at my bum and asked, “Excuse me sister. Is that (butt) yours?”

5. Asking if I wear sunscreen.

I get asked this question quite often when I travel. Surprisingly enough, just like anyone else, I have to take care of my skin from harmful rays. So let me dispel the myth once and for all, and say that, yes, I absolutely use sunscreen every day!

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Rachel Hill is the creator of Rachel Travels. This post originally appear on Rachel Travels.

Photo: Rachel Hill/Facebook