izzy13 Isabel L

“Do not go with strangers” - A common sentence parents tell their children. This a sentence I have heard a million times when I was young. A sentence you should follow. Don’t do what I did. But if you do and it works out, good for you!

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#travel #taiwan #diary #memories #overwhelmed #kindness
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I am officially freaking out, I think, with hands on the shoulders of a stranger who is driving a scooter way over the speed limit. Without a helmet, I must add.

It was my first full day in Taiwan, I was staying in the south, a secluded area with great waves. Good for surfing, if you're into that. After breakfast, a Polish guy came into the small hostel to rent a surfboard. Nice dude! We chatted for about an hour before he actually left with a surfboard under his arm. Although I wouldn't have known that for sure since I went back into my tiny room to get ready to go to the beach. The hostel owner told me later how he wanted to say goodbye to me when he left. So sweet! Also kind of intense though. On my way to the beach, I met three other guys with surfboards. Two of them were from Austria and one from South Africa. We had a great time joking around and talking about life, travel plans, and our home countries. I left them to enjoy my time winding down at the beach. Scared to get burned by the sun and be as red as a firefighter truck, I left a couple of hours later, saying bye to them and meeting a Dutch guy with whom they were having a conversation. I stayed in my hostel for a while to get out of the sun and drown a bottle or two of water. I made my way back to the beach, saw the Dutch guy, and asked if I could sit by him and his group of friends. He was kind enough to go to their car and grab me a camping chair so that my back wouldn't hurt by sitting on the ground. His girlfriend told me about their travels which I have to admit sound immensely impressive! They started in Omam and made their way from there to numerous places such as Singapur, the Maldives, India, and then finally to Taiwan. The pictures they showed me were absolutely amazing! In the afternoon I got hungry and decided to check out the few restaurants in the area. The restaurant I was planning on checking out was closed, though two Americans were sitting in front of it. One of them was, I'm guessing, around 40 or 50 years old, tall, and fully convinced of himself. The other one was very obviously looking up to the first guy, around 30 years old, had a man-bun, and was sitting quite confidently on a scooter. I asked whether they knew where to get food and that's how we started talking. The first guy, let's call him Dave, bragged about his business. Apparently, he is really into paintball which is why his company produced paintball equipment and then expanded. It is now supposedly located in California, Germany, China, and ... Taiwan. The second guy, let's call him Bryan, was into aeromechanics. At least, that's what I think he said. After a bit of talking, I made sure to let them know that I was in a relationship so they wouldn't get any ideas in that regard. Without thinking much about it, I mentioned how difficult it was to get to my hostel and that I had no idea how to leave. Well, a short disclaimer: DO NOT DO WHAT I DID! Dave explained that he felt this was not a good area for me to stay in because of the seclusion and added that I should get a room in their hotel in Kenting. I know, I had the exact same thoughts! "I should be alright here but thanks," I said. "I will pay for your room!" The world slowed down a bit. What?! Why?! What does he want in return? Is this a kidnapping? Am I going to be abducted and raped? Bryan sensed my hesitation and asked Dave if he was sure about it. "Let me see if this new hotel would actually help me to get to my next destination," I panicked. I know I know, this is the part where one says no thank you. I definitely know that is what I should have done. Again, do not do what I did. Because when I looked up the route from the new hotel to my new accommodation it was clear that it would save me an hour of travel. I gulped, extremely nervous though with a hint of excitement. "You know what, this is an adventure. Why not." Dave nodded, finished his beer and we were on our way to my hostel to get my stuff, not that I had much. I went in and grabbed my things. When I went back out I just saw Dave handing money to the receptionist. I decided not to ask about it. Yes, not a good sign! I completely agree with you. Anyway, Bryan gave me his helmet and I hopped on his scooter. "Please do not abduct me," I remember saying after a short while of driving. Bryan leaned back so I would be able to hear his voice against the harsh wind. "No, no not an abduction. This is networking. Dave thought it would be good to have a contact in Europe." "Oh, okay, I'll trust you with that," I did not sound convincing to me but I suppose the fact that he did not know me, could not see my face, and the fact that my voice sounded more confident than I was, made it seem like this was not a huge deal. "Why, are you gonna abduct me?" He laughed. "I don't think I'm strong enough," I admitted only half kidding. Trying to remember everything I knew about self-defense while trying not to fall off a scooter.

We arrive at their hotel. A beautiful hotel! A fancy one that has a fountain in the lobby, a glamorous pool with palm trees planted everywhere, and staff in uniforms greeting you on every corner. The Ceasar Park Hotel Kenting. Great location, right by the beach, right by the street food. Bryan goes up to a receptionist with the typical swagger of an American. I know I sound biased but you all know what I'm talking about. "Do you have any single rooms? I would like to pay for one." If you're confused, imagine how I am feeling. I thought Dave was going to pay. I guess not. The receptionist matches my confusion, not understanding what exactly he was referring to and wondering if he wanted to get another room for the both of us. He declines and makes sure that he just wanted another single room in this hotel no matter where it is located. He pays. 300$. I think I stopped breathing at the ease he pulled 300$ in cash out of his wall. 300$?! Like it was nothing. I think my eyebrows were up in the sky. My parents do not have it bad but I don't see them having more than 100$ maybe 150$ in cash with them. I try to hide my shock. Feeling incredibly overwhelmed. Repeating the mantra in my head: Act confidently, stand tall, conceal, don't feel, don't let them know. Yes, I channel Elsa from Frozen right there. Not sure if it is working but at least I ask for a way to leave the next day without fainting or running away screaming. I finally reach my room, number 290, and feel like standing on the tip of a melting iceberg. Barely holding it together. I call friends and family, just needing to get this insane experience off my chest, sharing worries and excitement. I take a moment to take in the sheer beauty of my room. When you enter, the bathroom is to the left. A huge bathroom with a white, luxurious tub, a rainshower, and one of those amazing toilets that are heated and have a bidet integrated. I look around and blink. Once. Twice. The only separation between the bathroom and the bedroom is made out of glass. I see a king-sized bed with soft, white linens and green accents I see a desk with snacks, water, and a coffee maker. I see a tropical balcony that has a paradise view. I see all of that and cannot stop thinking: Fuck, I should not be here! Bryan told me to call their room when I wanted to grab dinner before we parted. I get ready and try to call their room, number 116. Nobody answers. I wait. I try again. Nothing. I call the reception, perhaps I did something wrong. Nobody answers the guys' room telephone. I go down to the lobby and wait there for a bit. Maybe they'll show up. They don't. I am getting hungry so I decided to test my luck further and leave the hotel, following the crowd. Eventually, I see street food place after street food place lining up on the main street. Only separated by the occasional vendor who is selling souvenirs. I walk most of the street up and down, buying food and a ring as a keepsake. Try to pour all of these memories into one object. As soon as I open the door to my hotel room, I hear the phone ringing. Bryan asks to grab food, he was passed out earlier and did not hear the phone. I agree to it, sharing my location with my friends, just in case. We meet up in the lobby and make our way down the street I was on earlier. Stopping at a restaurant with live music. The singers are amazing! We talked mostly about his business, what he wants to establish, and how he got to the place where he is now. I made sure not to give too many details about my life away, still on guard. At one point he asks whether I intended on marrying my boyfriend one day. What kind of question is that?! I have to admit that I have a pretty great time, though. It was just a fun conversation, good music, and good fries. We go back at around 11 and wave bye to each other, deciding to have breakfast at 9 before I leave. I go back to my room and make full use of the accommodation. Soaking in a bubble bath, enjoying a relaxing hot shower. I fall asleep by 1 am. I wait until 9 o'clock to call Bryan's room. His raspy, deep voice indicates that I have just woken him up. I do not feel bad though. "Give me five minutes. " He yawns. "You know what, I'll even give you fifteen", I laugh. Fifteen minutes later we meet in the lobby and take up the flight of white marble stairs to go to the breakfast room. The breakfast was marvelous! An eternity of options. Watermelon melting in the mouth, golden pancakes, and crunchy toast. Heavenly! We pay a visit to the beach through a private hotel passage, a walkway underneath a bridge filled with exotic flora and fauna. Lizards everywhere. Not my cup of tea. Afterward, we part with a friendly pat on the back.

I am sitting on the bus, on my way to the next hostel. Texting Bryan a thank you. I am feeling quite nervous, calmly, fully aware that it's too late now to reverse what happened. Waiting for one last loophole. A final opportunity for this all to go wrong. For someone to run up to me saying the room is not paid, claiming me as a thief or whatnot. His reply came after a few seconds filled with this serene anxiety:

"Pay it forward."

7 Mai 2023 07:16 0 Rapport Incorporer Suivre l’histoire
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