“Bus 39” and he pointed off into the distance.
I walked off in the direction, I didn’t fully believe he knew what he was talking about but there was only one way I knew to find that out. There were hundreds of buses all around the large bus station. I tried to look for a pattern in the numbers. “148, 133, 46” I read, I thought it must be highest to lowest. “02”, nope, not highest to lowest. There seemed to be no pattern. I asked another bus driver who was napping in the bus’s open luggage compartment. He pointed back the way I had come so I turned around to walk past the jackals that had already asked me if I wanted a motobike ride 50 or 60 times.
I had been getting more and more annoyed with that kind of rudeness. I knew it was out of desperation and that these moto drivers in some way needed to be this aggressive for them to get paid but I still felt so angry when they tried to convince me repeatedly to ride with them. Sometimes they would lie and tell me the bus I was looking for didn’t exist or that the distance was very far. Some seemed to be very willing to do whatever they had to do in order to get a passenger.
The night before my bus dropped me outside the city limits of the town I was trying to get to so I had a tough time of finding a hotel and ended up overspending on my budget. I have been dropped in the weirdest locations by buses, sometimes the bus drops me out of town and than drives into town, even though they know I’m going into that town. Its crazy to me that they would drop someone who can’t communicate on a random highway in the middle of the night without any directions.
After that night I wasn’t quite ready to take shit from people that just wanted my money even if it meant giving my life a few extra difficulties. Unfortunately the easiest reaction to being ripped off is to become less kind and harder towards strangers. One of the things that gets me the most is when they grab my arm, they aren’t usually rough but just them touching me makes me want to hit them. They understand when I say no but it isn’t usually enough.
I ended up finding a bus that seemed to be going to the right place. At least the driver motioned to sit down and than ate lunch in the back of the bus. The driver appeared to have his handicapped sister riding along with him, I don’t know if that’s really the case. It could have been any young women and her slurred speak and strange mannerisms might not have been because she was handicapped but It seemed that way to me.
I spent that ride thinking about how much I was missing by giving so much energy to the tuk tuk and moto drivers. They made me mad and than I tried to avoid them, I spent extra energy thinking about how rude they were and how anyone could be that way. All the while I missed the nice people, the kind of person that would bring his handicapped sister to work everyday, feed her and care for her despite living on a bus drivers salary. I decided that I was looking at the wrong thing for weeks.
I had gotten so caught up in avoiding scams and untrustworthy people that I stopped looking for the kind people. It makes sense to watch for danger but it makes for a bleak worldview when all I see is danger and bad people. I don’t want to go home thinking of Southeast Asia as hostile place.
The driver pointed out the bus and I said thank you as I stepped out. I was already forming a plan to see a happier world, I would still avoid danger but I would make it a system so I didn’t have to devote so much energy to it.
I was smiling very big as I walked down the street.
I was exactly where I had wanted to be, that almost never happens for me.
I’m almost always lost in some way but this time I was in the place I planned on being. It felt so good, I almost punched the air in celebration.
Sometimes trusting people is dangerous and sometimes its beneficial.
It’s necessary to trust people.
I want to see a world where trustworthy people outnumber the rest.