Dating in China etc. sometimes expands to surrounding countries, and a common country to visit is Thailand. It’s nearby, it’s cheap flying, and it’s beautiful. Even easy for Chinese friends to get a visa. One day back in the mid of 2011. I decided to take a girl to Thailand. And what a mistake that was…
I don’t like to live a life of regrets. I try to interpret all positively, believe it or not. I do my thing, I have experiences, I learn. It’s not like I’ve burned that many bridges, it’s not like I do that bad. Yet there are certain things that have happened to me, certain people that were a complete waste of time, and I’ll feel regret. This is one of those.
I met Cynthia at a club in Shenzhen. One of the few times I successfully picked up a club girl. Although I had recently moved to Guangzhou, I was going to Shenzhen often, and we had fun together when I was in town. Not like I was tied down to anyone else. The relative distance prevented us from growing too close, and fun was all it was. Even that didn’t last long.
After crazed inebriated night in Shenzhen, I slept at her place and discussed my plans to vacation soon. Free time was approaching and I decided on a quick trip to somewhere Southeast Asia. With so many countries to choose from we narrowed it down; she had never been to Thailand before, and we searched prices together on Air Asia and suddenly tickets were booked.
I’ve written before about the challenges in traveling with a girl, but this thing was dead before it even began. When we later met at the Guangzhou airport, she didn’t even want to talk to me. She hadn’t kept in touch much in the intervening time, and I couldn’t believe how cold she was. It was hard to read. Was she mad at me? Did I do something wrong? She probably just had other guys by then. We weren’t serious or anything. No real relationship whatsoever. Perhaps she regretted committing to this trip with me. In all fairness, it was extremely stupid to make travel plans with a fuckbuddy I barely knew. I just get way ahead of myself at times, what can I say.
Or, I don’t know, like maybe she expected me to be a rich foreigner and take her to five-star hotels and pay for everything, have that sort of glamorous travel. I specifically told her that I want to have a backpacking-style travel experience at youth hostels and I don’t have infinite money. We discussed it at length, really. I mean, we were never boyfriend and girlfriend. I paid for a lot, taxi rides and a few meals, but I didn’t pay for everything. What exactly was expected of me?
I didn’t handle it well. The first night we went to Bangkok, I booked a guestroom and went to sleep and we didn’t touch each other. The next day there was a bad energy in the air; we went sight-seeing and forcibly took pictures (never together) and traveled by boat, temples and malls and so on. Eventually, she preferred to hang out with frat boy types from the youth hostel. They went to see the infamous sex shows and all that.
“Let’s go our separate ways,” I said. “No hard feelings.”
What I really wanted to do on this trip was go to Cambodia. It was a country where I could get a visa at the border, and come back to Thailand needing no visa as an American, but since she was Chinese she couldn’t go with me. Yet I’ve always wanted to see Cambodia. So I researched how to get there by bus – and how to not get ripped off in the process – and I went Cambodia for a few days.
Now that was a great trip, an adventure. I bribed the customs officials. I had my wallet stolen at Poipet, a border town which is one of the scummiest places on earth. I stayed in Siem Reap and saw the beautiful temples of Angkor Wat, gigantic broken-down monuments the size of shopping malls. Magnificent. The war museum was quite sad. It was the poorest nation I’ve ever been to, so very different from other ‘Rising Asia’ developing countries I’m used to. It was touristy, but even that industry was quite undeveloped. So much open space, so green.
I went back to Thailand, killed time found some more places to go to. Various other scummy scenes for the most part, to be honest. I didn’t see Cynthia again until we met at the airport. She was tanned and had went to the beach with some people and I’m glad she seemed to enjoy it. I expressed a bit of my disappointment to her, and mostly we didn’t talk. It was an awkward flight.
I made the most of it, but all I could think about was that I wish I never came at all. I was so stupid to organize this trip in the first place.
It was one of the first times I felt such regret concerning a girl. I’m usually proud of who I am and what I’ve done, barring a few mistakes along the way. Yet this time I really wished I could go back in time and erase the whole thing. What did I get out of this fling with this club girl person? Notch on the belt notwithstanding, it wasn’t even as good a learning experience as a one-night stand or something. I just felt completely embarrassed for it all. Oh well, time moves and so must we.
It would not the last of my regrets.
I do not currently keep in touch with Cynthia.