WHQ travel:Day 6 -Pagoda.

Bryan: This morning was exceptionally infuriating. We were taken by an unscrupulous taxi driver to a non-existent pagoda and were initially forced to pay five times the amount of what we would pay if we hadn’t been taken for a spin.

I was mad at myself for letting people trick me. I felt stupid. My defence mechanism was awaken. My anger towards myself was projected at the taxi driver who cheated us. I cursed, shouted, mentally wished that he lose his legs in a freak accident.

Then Lina mentioned about thinking well for others even after others have done bad unto us. Every bad thoughts I had, stopped dramatically.

Lina: I was taught to think well/good/positive about others always. I dare not break that conditioning especially when I travel because I believe that what is within is with-out. Everyone’s reality is actually a projection of individuals’ internal state. (ok, don’t mind these weird beliefs of mine)

Ok, we wanted to see a famous Pagoda, nearby. We said our destination to a cabbie. And my itchy mouth uttered out “Pagoda” to make things easier. He listened and kept focusing on me like I was the boss. And whenever Bryan repeated the name of the actual pagoda we wanted to visit, he looked back and repeat the word “Pagoda” and point fingers at me. I felt that was weird because Bryan and me were actually saying out the same place.

Then we felt something amiss when the roads became narrow and the bustling city led to a countryside. And soon 30mins passed by. We asked the driver to stop at the side road. He kept mentioning, its right in front thru his finger gestures. No English language. So communication was body languages and thru tiny translation book.

But somehow, I detected foul play; gut feeling. As Bryan was doing his best to correct “my mistake” , I saw “smoke” coming out of his ears, literally. The driver did not want to listen and kept pointing at me. He uttered many times: “Pagoda”. Soon, I joined in the “fuming” moment. My face turned ash black.

But I kept mum. I cannot utter a single word. Suddenly the lips were glued together. I dare not complicate things even further.

Somehow, after a peaceful debating session in the cab. We managed to persuade (or threaten) the cabbie to return to our original location, our accommodation. The staff then helped us out by conversing in local language to settle the dispute with the cabbie. Cos we were not intending to pay the full cut-throat fare.

Bryan was very firm and negotiate the whole deal thoroughly. We were fixated to settle on a certain amount until the cabbie started his drama: his sappy family stories started to reveal itself.

I’m a bit plushy tender on the heart side. Call me emotional whatever. And I was rushing to go elsewhere. Being the Singaporean that I am, I think I rather pay that extra to resolve conflicts asap. And would not want any trouble with police and sorts. So I nodded to Bryan to show my consent in agreement.

But I watched intently at the cabbie’s face. As Bryan took out that extra cash, I puked out my sincerity and heartfelt sympathy for his family as soon as I saw the smirk on his face. That moment was like “a-ha” (but in negative way) and it also silenced me. He dared not look at me in the eyes.

It was a mixture of all sorts of feelings for me. Disappointed, probably…because I wanted to learn about the locals’ religion, place of worship-temple and spirituality but we got duped instead. *sigh


How could anyone ever have the heart to do this?

And there was a moment of fear in his cab when he was so adamant not to bring us back and I wondered if we never stopped him halfway, will he “kidnapped” us and sold us to a neighbouring country? Hmm…

Let me take a breather…. There must be a blessing in every experience.

Gratitude: I thank my travel buddy for his presence and everything that he has done. I guess sometimes, we do not really show that we cherish each others’ presence and often sweat on the small stuff. But in reality, such unplanned “adventures” like this were the ones that truly taught us to stick together, watch each others’ backs and eventually bonded us. Thank you, Bryan.

Note: All images are credited to Bryan Yong Photography and World Halal Quest . Copyright. All rights reserved.

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