Sometimes I ask myself, ‘Why am I traveling, again?’. Life would be so much easier if I’m just staying at home. Seriously. It is great to go out and see the world, but sometimes I wish I’m at home. I’m sharing five moments, among many others.
I seriously think recurring train and bus ride in China reduce my lifespan. Smoking, spitting, yelling, peeing and the stress comes while witnessed the scene… Indoor smoking was shocking in China from the beginning, but if it is way worse when it happened in train and bus. I had nowhere else to escape. Just sit and breathe through my handkerchief.
With the intensive smoking, spitting is following after. I understand; if you smoke, you need to spit. I get it. But why it has to be on the floor, with so loud noise? And yelling; it’s how they talk. Just there’s a lot of yelling.
Thankfully, I only saw children peeing, not grownups. Surprisingly, even though the toilet was right next door, Chinese children didn’t use the toilet. They just went right on the floor. If you have been to China, you’d know the pants with bit hole in the butt. Pee-pee in the street is quite well a known scene in China but if you are standing right next to the toilet, I think parents have to tell them it’s time to use the toilet. How could they learn?
Oh, the smell and the stress. Why am I traveling again?
Muang Noi, Laos; one of the most peaceful places in Laos, I had the worst stomachache. We were supposed to stay three days in the little town of no electricity and left the next morning. The night before, I woke up with the sharp pain in the stomach. And it followed by a frequent trip to toilet all night. I was actually really scared; thought I might have more serious thing than just simple a tummy ache. I’ve never been seriously ill before, and this was the closest experience I had. I didn’t eat any suspicious food and I mostly drank bottled water. To this day, I have no idea what I got so sick.
So, I stayed in bed for a day, had a sip of water every 10 minutes. I didn’t have the courage to take an hour-long slow boat to Ngong Kiew. Who knows what could happen on that boat. The last thing I want to do was using the river as my personal toilet.
A couple times it happened. Well, more than a couple; let’s just say several times. In China, the accommodations have to be registered in the government’s system if they want to have foreign guests. But if you are just passing by one or two days, they might just have you without registering you in the system.
A few times Stephen and I denied staying few places just because we are foreigners. And one time they actually accepted us and then threw us out after we pulled out our passports. I understand if they misunderstood that I’m Chinese but what about Stephen? Do they honestly think that he’s Chinese? Anyway, the problem was, the cities that happened were usually in the middle of nowhere; it means there would be no hotel that legitimately registered for foreign tourists. It’s not pleasant to knock door to door with two heavy backpacks on and constantly denied, at 1 am.
No one forced me to do so, but I did it to just stay in Vietnam for two weeks longer. I thought I was going to jail. More than half of my time in China and Vietnam, I was worried about my visa situation. Somehow, Asian countries are harsher to fellow Asians. I have no idea why. China didn’t let me stay in China more than 30 days in a row and Vietnamese drew a line at 15 days. There’s no way to get more days, not before leaving and coming back to the country. So I did. It wasn’t fun. It was one of the most horrifying days of my life.
Literally, a Chinese taxi driver threw a rock at me. Chinese people hated me. Basically, she was angry that I was fooling her by speaking English, not Chinese. She took us into her taxi when we showed her the address to the new hostel, and apparently she didn’t know where she was going. She drove around for 10 minutes to ask around where this place is. The money is going up and up, and we just decided to get off there and walk to find the hostel. The meter was showing 33 yuan, but we just paid her 30 yuan since we wasted more than 10 minutes.
She started yelling and aggressively pulling my bag. She was about to hit me, and I kind of ran away. Stephen was there with me, but she was staring straight at me. I heard the world for ‘foreigner’ and ‘Chinese’ during the yelling. The security guard at the building came out while she was yelling in front of me; he understood the situation and tried to calm her down. She wasn’t going to calm down at all. The security guard escorted her to her car, and we were heading to our hostel. She yells something behind and throws a big concrete piece at me. It hit my ankle, left me a scar and a bruise.