Travel – Update on Sex Trade & Other Curious Happenings on Wednesday

First up… Wednesday was a travel day and thus a PV day. I brought my scale with me, but not my spreadsheet, I’m up 100 grams from yesterday morning’s weigh in.

So I had a very interesting day after reaching the airport. A shout out to KaKa, my driver, for getting me there with lots of time to spare! And yes, that’s his name… It’s China.

I want to start by saying that I’ve read the Celestine Prophecy 3 times over the years. It is one of those books that makes you think. The first insight in the book is: 1 We are discovering again that we live in a deeply mysterious world, full of sudden coincidences and synchronistic encounters that seem destined.
Destined being the key word here. The book goes on to say that there really aren’t coincidences… We are destined to interact… Sometimes it’s a smile and wink or a nod, sometimes it’s the passing of a note with encouragement, sometimes it’s a look of understanding and sometimes it can be negative and we must look within ourselves to change our behaviors.

I had ALL of this happen to me in the Hangzhou Airport, on the plane and on the transfer bus at the Hong Kong Airport.

The Sex Trade:
As I spoke of in yesterday’s blog, it is apparently alive, well and open if you just take the time to see and hear. I was sitting on the seats behind the 2 men in yesterday’s picture. I overheard the old white guy speaking roughly and disrespectfully to the young Asian man, almost like reprimanding a child. The sentence “you’ll speak to them when and if I say so” sent chills up my spine 😦 The body language spoke volumes and you could tell these 2 men were not partners in a mutually satisfying relationship. There have been 3 articles, in the news that I read, in the past week. I encourage you to read the stories and be more aware of this frightening issue!
Jessie Foster
WHAT I DID: The old man told the young Asian man he was using the toilet. I turned slightly and gave the young man a paper with the info for Free the Slaves on it. I then told him he could call or text anyone he wanted on my iPhone and I would keep an eye out for the bastard he was with. He made a 34 second call, I think he was speaking Thai. I PRAY this young man finds a way out. I PRAY the bastard doesn’t find the paper with the web address on it. I DID NOT say a word to the old bastard (sorry… That’s the nicest word I can come up with for my blog). I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want any abuse to befall the young man. Our flights boarded at the same time and I gave him a look of what I pray was HOPE… And then burst into tears when they were out of sight.

The Not-So-Stupid Guy:
So, interesting flight. Sat next to a young Chinese couple who held hands and were easy 2 hour flight mates. UNTIL WE LANDED… And by that I mean the male half of the couple took his seat belt off the nanosecond the wheels hit the ground and stood up and opened the overhead. While we’re still going a couple of hundred MPH! WTF!?!? So I yelled at him. LOUDLY! I said, “Are you fucking stupid? Sit down… NOW!” and he did. He then apologized. And I softened. The flight attendant, who was enroute to tell him (I’m sure much nicer than me) to sit down, thanked me warmly.
Then the young man proceeds to tell me sorry again, and that this was the first time they ever flew, they just got married, and he wanted to call the parents to tell them they were safe. Now I feel like an ass. Kind of. I apologize for calling him stupid and explain that it is unsafe to take off the seat belt until the plane has stopped at the gate. I tell him unsafe for him and for me, if he were to fall he could hurt me (I was making a point, not being egotistical). He agreed with my reasoning. I apologized AGAIN and so did he and then he gave me a hug. Like a “I need my mommy” hug, which made me feel like an even bigger loser for calling him stupid. And just so you know, most people in China won’t hug you unless they’ve known you long time. So that was kind of cool.
LESSON LEARNED: Words can be forgiven, but not forgotten… Once they come out of your big mouth, you can’t take them back! I’m going to work on that.

The Man Sitting in Front of Me:
So on the flight there was a man in the seat in front of me who I had more compassion for than you could know. He was a very big guy, very obese, and I was him just 7 months ago. He got up to go to the back of the plane and I noticed he was using the seatbelt extender… I rode back to Abu Dhabi in August so amazingly uncomfortable because I refused to ask for an extender. I was there (it’s hard getting through writing this post without crying), sir, I know the feeling, the looks, the shittiness of it all. I hope you know that my smile was genuine and there was no judgement or pity there… Because I was there… Just a mere 7 months ago. I sat there trying to figure out how to reach out to you without embarrassing you or me (I’m sure you heard me yell at the kid who stood up… I don’t always say the right things). As we were standing and waiting to disembark the plane I decided to simply give you this blog address (I pray you are reading this). As we got on the transfer bus I reached out… Which is difficult, even for me and gave him a paper with my blog address and simply said, “this is my blog address, visit my blog, it could change your life”. I think at first he wanted to hand it back, but stuck it in his shirt pocket. I smiled and that was that.
If you have any questions, you can email me privately at I’d love to hear from you! Or feel free to respond here on the blog. I hope you know that I gave you that paper with a pure heart.
LESSON LEARNED: Put on your big girl panties and make a difference in someone’s life… Paying it forward is the best feeling in the world.

So that all happened inside 3.5 hours πŸ˜€ I then took the shuttle bus to the Best Western Causeway Bay where I’m in a tiny hotel room on the top floor (37th!) and have a stunning view. Now I’m off to the Immigration Office to renew my visa.


Edited February 24, 2014: Interesting and thought provoking blog post on the sex trade industry: The Scourge of Child Trafficking.

29 thoughts on “Travel – Update on Sex Trade & Other Curious Happenings on Wednesday

  1. You see, do and experience more than most of us do in a lifetime!! Kudos to you for helping the young man in the airport and reaching out to the gentlemen on the plane. You are one of the kindest, most giving hearts I know and am THRILLED to call you my friend!! Good luck with the visa. Be safe.

  2. This is a wonderful post, illustrating so beautifully how we can get so much joy out of just making ourselves available to people…it’s so simple really, and yet so unnatural in another way. It’s obvious that God did place you in those situations, and that is was no coincidence. Thanks for sharing your heart of compassion, and writing this experience so effectively too.

  3. A more compassionate person, I have never met…
    I cry with you my friend ( with tears in my eyes) for all of those that you encountered…
    I do hope the man contacts you.
    I PRAY the young man is not being abused..
    I ❀ you.

  4. Remarkable Sandi…handing off the phone was brilliant. I totally agree about the synchronizations that come our way. You are amazing for acting on that ‘still small voice within’. Lots of folks just tune it out….but Spirit is always in touch w/ us I believe. Even if Mr. 38C seat is not reading your blog today, perhaps the seed you planted will take root of another form. I believe Spirit finishes what it starts. I really think you should start stirring things up a bit for yourself in China now Sandi, I mean, c’mon, there’s so much to do, you need to get out more, have some excitement…(tongue firmly in cheek). Hope your visa dance card gets punched without to much A-do!

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  6. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I love what you tried to do for that young man, fingers crossed that something good comes of this. The phone idea was great, I may be in Thailand in July so I will remember to take mine.
    I have been on a few flights where people have stood at the wrong time- I’ve never seen a flight attendant move so fast – people do the craziest things when they travel- I think they leave their brains at home! I do hope the man reads your blog, I believe that things happen for a reason and that it could change his life for better. Thanks Sandi x

    • Meg… On a British Airlines flight I saw a flight attendant nearly tackle someone who stood up during turbulence… Those FA’s are hardcore and no nonsense! Some people (trying not to generalize!) just don’t get rules and boundaries and I see it time and time again.

      I’m hoping Mr. 38C pops in, too πŸ™‚

  7. That was thoughtful of you to help these two people. I was in Thailand and Cambodia for 5 weeks a few years ago and saw very young people with men, but I didn’t know what to do. They weren’t children thank goodness, but young all the same. Well done for being brave enough to help someone.

    • They seem to be preyed upon by losers, well obviously they are losers… But there seems to be a profile… Middle age, over weight, obvious low self esteem and more than likely impotence issues. And I have seen them with girls that didn’t look 18 and I’m sure they weren’t.
      I saw a man, probably 50 or so in Shanghai a few months ago, an American. He was with a Chinese girl who looked early 20’s and bored (they didn’t even engage in conversation during their breakfast) and a kid that was 3-4 (trying to get her daddies attention) who he yelled at constantly until I told him to stop it. The young woman had a black eye and swollen cheek. I wanted to get up and punch him. I said out loud to Vivien, “he should have thought of the consequences of screwing a teenager”… He got up and left. The young woman winked at me and quietly finished her meal.

  8. You did the right thing – on all 3 counts! I am uplifted by your bravery and the drive to follow your gut and I am so reading that book πŸ™‚

    There’s a quote I love that applies here, “Coincidences are just God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Like you, I believe that things really do happen for a reason and that we are put in situations because 1) we are to lead others or 2) they are to lead us.

    You are fierce and I love it and to the fellow in 38C, Sandi I am 7.6 lbs down in less than 2 weeks. And never hungry!!

    hugs and xox

  9. You are a lovely person! It is difficult to find patience with those that you know are “doing wrong”. I have been teaching in a low income neighborhood for the past 11 years, and with the joys of teaching young ones, there is also pain and frustration. We all hope for better, and by you speaking out it becomes possible..
    Love reading your blog.

  10. It is amazing how as we move forward in life learning to hear with a more profound ear just by the experiences we journey through…I am happy to know you Sandi…It is a pleasure reading your blogs/facebook posts and comments…..xoxoxo

  11. Wow, what a moving post…we cried too…well, the female half did. The male half did his “Amen, sister!” in honor of you hee hee.

  12. WOW Sandi, what a day.
    Your courage is inspirational. Many would think what you think and many would turn and walk away. I applaud your bravery and your sense of doing what is right xx

    • Thanks, Emma… I was actually quite afraid of getting caught by the old white bastard… kind of like smoking in high school, but worse. It was just heart breaking for me to see this young man being used… I think I get ballsier with age πŸ™‚

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