Sunday, August 10, 2008

Travel companions...

I used to be scared of traveling alone.

My mind is always filled of potential instances where a bandit would suddenly corner me into a dark alley and grab all my valuables and then not satisfied with his bounty, he would slit my throat and leave me there and considering how fast the authorities react over here, I'd probably be rotten slush before they even find me.

And I've managed to overcome that fear, if only I would travel under the following conditions:
1. I never travel at night. Ever.
2. I carry a pair of scissors wherever I go for self-defense. Rusty scissors. So that if the bandit doesn't die, he'd still get a nasty case of tetanus.
3. I always try to look like I'm bored, as if I've traveled alone a million times before and I can do this better than most people, even though every time I travel alone, I am freaking out.

I've noticed that when I'm traveling alone though, I always manage to sit next to this nice old lady/gentleman. And he/she would always ask me how to get somewhere and me being an idiot, I would always say I'm sorry I didn't know where that is and he/she would say it's ok and just smile and then he/she would engage me in this conversation and I would no longer feel this heavy feeling of fear that someone will ambush me and slit my throat because I am too busy enjoying this conversation.

She asked me whether I could show her the way to this place and I said I didn't go that far and I'm useless when it comes to places. We ended up sharing our lives and I learned that I'm the same age as her daughter who went somewhere in London to study.

He asked me how ride the MRT and I told him how. We rode the same train and sat next to each other and shared ideas. He was proud of Muslims because he said they were disciplined and he thought I was training to become a nun.

She asked whether I had a pen and I lent her my favorite pen and she said thank you very much. We talked pretty much the whole time I was on the bus and she shared how she didn't like her job now because the work takes a toll on her and she really wants to retire except she couldn't afford it.

He asked me how to withdraw money from an ATM and we ended up looking for other ATMs because we keep finding offline ones or ones that ran out of money. He said that it was nice for me to help him because he really didn't know how to and he really needed to withdraw because he was going to go and pay his son's tuition. "He's going to be a doctor you see."

I really miss them. They made my day and for that moment, I had no fear of traveling on my own because there really were nice people in this country, and not just I'll slit your throat if you don't give your money bandits.

I wonder where those people are.

Lotsa love, Jana

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