Tuesday, 27 July 2010
I caught the attention of a small child the other day. She pointed at me from her mother's embrace, absolutely fascinated by me. Initially I assumed it was my appearance, that maybe she had not seen someone of Anglo-Saxon decent before, as it was, this could have been likely, she was a very young child, barely able to talk. The mother was very embarrassed by her offspring's' behaviour, I smiled kindly to alleviate her concern and went over. 'Cute, aren't you?' I spoke to the child in my broken Japanese. 'Thank you' the mother responded in broken English that mirrored my attempt. 'Sunglasses - different' she said to me, it turned out it was not my appearance but my apparel that had captured the little girls interest. I removed the glasses from my face and gently placed them around the child's head so that she could see the darkened aspect through the lenses. Her eyes widened and she smiled. Taking this interaction in mind all day I noticed that I was almost the only person wearing the face wear that had seemed so alien to the toddler. I wondered whether the heavy lid, and beautiful almond eye that the locals in this area are so well know for, had developed over the years to protect the inhabitants from the strong glare of the sun here. That maybe it is an evolutionary defence mechanism, like the way, higher levels of melanin are present in the skin of cultures that have evolved in areas close to the equator. And how for some reason my background and my skin has absolutely no defences, rendering it completely useless, and more to the point, at the moment, sunburnt.