Gradually, traveling (more especially, traveling out of China) has made me a good listener and a story digger.
Listen to the locals. Listen to the travelers. And listen to myself. All different lives with different voices, but the same goal – to live a better life.
(If ever I will have a child, I would rather educate him/her at home, not send him/her to any Chinese schools. If possible, I’d like him/her to grow up by traveling, listen to the world outside, then sink down at home and rethink in the dark.)
First, I’ve met a Dutch couple one short evening in Galle, Sri Lanka. Listening to their voices, I was amazed by their adventurous life on a boat for more than eight years now. Also, I’ve learned how a Chinese boat company cheated their European honest heart. And a story about how a Chinese woman who even don’t know her own birth date, could escape from her Chinese husband, get married to a nice Dutch guy and nobody could imagine. Then I learned My Flee From China and 1421. (Here’s their website: www.sy-nightfly.nl)
Then, the next evening an English couple who are both language teachers in college, were hooked by my angry voice like waves. Through them, I’ve learned what is cricket by watching an international match where their son was the captain of the school team. And if possible, one day I may visit them and feel their life living in a cottage with a big dog.
She told me, it was painful to travel with a 81 year-old Japanese woman who made her sleepless at nights, who never dined with her but only asked her to bring food to the hotel room and who even told her to do this and not to do that. The original aim for her was not to travel alone, but the end seemed worse than being alone. So we shared the table in Suisse Hotel, Kandy.
She speaks five languages. She is teaching German in a university in Switzerland. She is the opposite of my thinking. She can describe a thing simply and clearly by a word or even a number while I have to use a series of description to make myself clear. Even sometimes I sink so deep I get lost from the maze of my words.
Strangely in Sri Lanka, when I asked, Are you married?, no matter how young the person appeared to be, the answer was the same: Yes and with a child or two. In Nuwara Eliya, this waiter who is married in his early 20 and has got a 6 year-old daughter, behaved smartly. With his whole body moving with a swift agility and of course, his smiles, he served us lively, even though we were the only customers eating in the Chinese restaurant (Though the food was not much like Chinese food). Before he asked me to take a photo with him, he told me that his dream is to work at a bigger and bigger hotel, though he couldn’t imagine one day he would own a hotel himself.
In Sri Lanka, the craziest driver is bus driver. Last month, a bus driver managed to scrape by another bus. Due to that, a boy’s arm was straightly knocked off from the window. Maybe taking a train is a safe option. But both trains and buses are always packed by the locals. And believe or not, this is what I’ve witnessed: a train was starting off yet a young man deliberately stopped the train by walking on the rails towards the train. Then the train had to slow down, meanwhile many people jumped off the train from the windows and more people sneaked into the train without any tickets. That’s why no one knows exactly how many people died from the tsunami in 2004 after the whole train was swallowed.
Whatever, be wise – get a car and a driver to pick you up from the Colombo airport and let the driver take you wherever you want. Likewise, our driver is honest, reliable, cheerful, kind-hearted and gentlemanly. His style is to drive safely and do things efficiently. He would share whatever he knows about whatever you want. He has never bought a pack of cigarettes in his life but only one or two cigarettes, because a pack of cigarette is a luxury for him. So he even didn’t know how to open one.
He said that most of his customers would eventually become his friends like me. Some of them even have sent him Christmas gifts, like his laptop was given by a Belgian couple.
Listened to him carefully, his dream is to run a small business and then become a big boss himself.
In a word, I am touched…