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May 21st 2010 8:26PM Hi Sean,
I am sorry to hear about your bad experience. However, khat might not have been the main cause for that driver`s behaviour. Remember you and your Swedish companion and the Somali expat guy are in relative terms wealthy foreigners in the eyes of many local impoverished Somalilanders. So it is not surprising that someone would try to hustle you for more money. This happens all over the developing world it is a symptom of the huge socio-economic inequality inherent to global capitalism. Some people hustle you with a sense of humour and charm but many others will show you hostility and resentment simply because you are a "rich white European", this latter group resent foreign tourists as poverty voyeurs. On the bright side the Somaliland police you encountered showed a sense of fairness and professionalism. In many countries including the West the police often automatically side with their countrymen when there is a conflict between a local and a foreigner. So please keep that mind and if u feel yourself holding a grudge remember that you are in a relatively privileged position vis-a-vis the driver and practically anyone in the Horn for that matter. Anyway I hope you enjoy your trip and please visit checkout the western regions of Somaliland like Gabiley, Borama, and Zeila. Especially Zeila, although it`s quite derelict nowadays but it is one of
the most historic towns in the region dating back to pre-Islamic times. Take care and stay safe.