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!
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.
NOTE TO GENTLEMAN FROM 38C:
If you have any questions, you can email me privately at email@example.com. 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 😀 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.