from fun with a local to stranger danger

Due to arriving too early, huddled within myself through the cold as I waited for Pia’s Poppies to open, I was pretty much disoriented by then time I emerged from my slumber from my room.

To make matters worse, I had little information on how to go around Rantepao. Blogs were scarce, and I didn’t have Lonely Planet. What I did read somewhere was there was a tourist information I should hunt for to at least guide me how to move around.

As I left Pia’s Poppies, there was a man by the door who went to the next house to get a scooter. He talked to me and I smiled and said hi. I thought he was saying hi. He followed me, with the scooter and talked to me again. I seriously could not understand what the fuck he was saying. Sometimes this irritates me because trying to talk to someone with at least no Google translate takes it’s toll. Anyway eventually I figured out that he was asking if I wanted to go with him to see the graves. Having not a lot of options (information center was closed), I said yes. What bad thing could happen?

That day, nothing. Though it was just awkward because there was nothing to talk about because we can’t talk. At least I got his name (Alex) and he’s from Medan.

But I was thankful. I basically toured the place almost for free. But my reaction to this was I felt like I had to spend time with him for dinner and drinks.  But he insisted to pay for dinner. I was starting to feel awkward.

The next day was my day with Erwin. It alarmed and irritated me that Alex was texting me where I was. I ignored him. But it’s tough to hide from someone who stays in the same place as you, so he invited me for dinner. I said I was having dinner with Erwin and he can come if he wanted.

During dinner, he said he was going up north tomorrow and asked me to come. I asked Erwin what was there, and he was non-committal about it (later on he said nothing was there but he didn’t want to be rude). I said to Alex I needed to rest (my lower back was seriously in pain), and he should just go ahead in the morning (he said he wanted to leave in the morning).

So the next day I purposely left the room around lunchtime. Hell, he was still there. And asked me to come with him. I made excuses that he didn’t understand; he replied with things I didn’t understand. And being me I raised my white flag and said, ok fine.

Halfway to the place he wanted to go to, I was pissed. Much of the road was not even dirt road. It was big-stones road, which is a nightmare on a scooter, more so for the one tandem-riding. Hell it was not road for a scooter. The road was so bumpy that the floor of the bike was crashing on the stones. Some parts you had to ride right to the edge of the mountain. I wanted to go off the scooter and walk, but fuck it, the boy was too proud. I mean, dude, I’m scared. One wrong break we’re gonna fall off. And he wanted me to put my arms around him so I don’t fall off. Dude, you need a new game.

And after more than an hour we reached his farm. Thought balloon: was this why you wanted to bring me here? To show off your vast farm lands? I am not impressed. And the guy didn’t wanna leave. Given the road we just used, I wanted to leave before the sun sets. I had to cajole him to leave.

And of course we were still on the road at dark. And since we’re high up the mountains, I was freezing. And tired. And I can’t fucking move my back. And we had a flat tire.

If the whole day was not bad enough, while we were waiting for the tires to get fixed, he also fixed my shirt because it was falling off my shoulder SLIGHTLY. Then he told me (he must have downloaded google translate the day before): if you’re still in Singapore maybe I follow you there.

OK that’s it. When we got to the hostel, I found the Europeans, invited myself to their dinner outside of Pia’s Poppies, and left Alex. I don’t care if I looked like a user.

And days after I left Rantepao he was still texting me.

Months later, when I met one of the European guys in Chiang Mai said he thought me and Alex were togethere because he was always following me. “You led him on.”

That was not my intention. But if I did lead him on, he could have acted less creepily.

In the end I was just thankful that my stupid decision didn’t end up worse.


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