Lost in Kunming
Arriving at Kunming International Airport, I was highly optimistic to travel alone for the first time in over a year. On the flight to China, I kept talking to myself. Reminding myself to be self-confident, overly friendly, etc. I wanted to make some friends and not be alone for a month. I thought it would be the ideal get away and help make me feel more “independent”
After the flight I got on a bus to the city center, then I looked at my hostel directions and thought “I cant get there by bus, no problem”. The second local bus was filled with smoke and dust. There was another woman with me and she was smoking her handmade cigar. As we headed out of the town it was dusk and I was thinking to myself how it was strange that the bus was starting to wind around a mountain. I asked the lady sitting in front of me if this was the right bus and she assured me that it indeed was the right bus for my hostel’s address. As I climb up the mountain my mind began to race a bit about the direction we were headed. It seemed odd that an international hostel was on the side of a mountain, but I kept going.
As we reached my destination, my heart began to race. My body was filled with fear. I did not want to get off the bus, but to my dismay it was the last destination and I had to. I reluctantly stepped off the bus and looked around to see pitch black nothingness. I was petrified. I walked up the street to where I could see lights and began asking around for my hostel. It appeared there were NO hotels in this village. I scrambled the streets looking for the road my hostel described and after an hour declared that it was non existent.
After admitting defeat, I asked around about how to get back to Kunming. Seeing as the last bus left and that there were no taxis in this small village, I began to ask locals for a ride back downtown. However, I realized most of the people who occupied this small town were males and I was not about to get in a car for an hour with a strange man. I rushed around asking other females for a ride only to be told “bu yao” or “no”. Finally a middle aged woman agreed.
She had a hardened face, probably from years of work, but her smile gave me assurance that it was going to be okay. We headed for her home, got her husband, and their van and descended off the mountain. The couple could both sense the tenseness and fear in my little body, so they kept chatting to ease my nerves. The lady even offered me a dozen apples, as she was a local apple picker. As I ate my three apples in replacement for my missed dinner, I began to feel safe again.
We finally were back downtown and the hotel search began. We finally arrived at a safe hotel and said our goodbyes. On that very night my faith in humanity was reaffirmed. I have always traveled with the mindset that there are more good people than bad in the world and this lovely Chinese couple from the mountains of Kunming reaffirmed that!