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.
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It sounds familiar. i like your directness and honesty.
My best to you
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Don’t be so hard on yourself. We’re all human. I think it was definitely worthwhile because you got to see Cambodia. You didn’t let her keep you from going there. So that’s a win. And you have some fabulous stories from Cambodia. I once had plans to go to South Africa with a woman I tutored English to in Hong Kong. She wanted a travel companion and we got along really well. Then I met that I was to marry and canceled the trip to South Africa. I never got to South Africa and had an underwhelming marriage that I rushed into. C’est la vie!
Finding a good travel companion is really hard.
Maybe it was too rush to plan a trip with her, but… why would she refuse to speak to you before even leaving? That’s just stupid.
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I don’t know how flings work, so I won’t comment on what went wrong this trip with this girl. But maybe the lesson was, “it’s not you, it’s her”. Bribing the custom officials. Glad you know how things work in parts of Asia 😉
Thanks for the support, all.
But she may have her side of the story. I probably did do something wrong. In the end, I can only conclude we sure aren’t a match and leave it at that. Rather than be mad at her for being a bitch, which I kinda was at the time, I just really regret the whole rush to travel. Stop rushing things, Ray.
One of these days I’ll have to post a story that’s actually happy and successful.
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I purport to trip to Cambodia myself sooner or later. As usual, good job, Ray. I agree with you, taking the girl on an important trip was a mistake: you should have gone for an intermediary step beforehand, like a weekend outing or something like that.
Yeah I’ve found a travel partner really has to be a lot like you. When they’re not, you end up wanting to do different things and it can create tension.
I’ve travelled on my own a fair bit and had a ball, travelled with a moody alcoholic in a campervan (cabin fever!) and recently found a mate of mine is great to travel with.
I did us a bucket list so there was no ‘soooo what should we do here?’ moments and from the get go decided I would find stuff to do and he would navigate us there. This kept the holiday workload fair 😛
I’ve never travelled with someone I’ve had sexual attraction with (well once but I had a bf and closed relationship so it was never going to progress) so I can’t speak for how that would pan out. Maybe its best to keep *those* holidays shorter so that if it all fails you’re not stuck with them for very long. Or agree to keep it as friends only but if you both have a moment of weakness then so be it. The bed sharing incident sounds like you both didn’t know if you should act as friends or fuck buddies and created an awkward situation. Maybe that’s why she was quiet from the start? I’d day its best to know where the relationship stands before you go 🙂
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Yeah your bucket list looked rather awesome…
I do usually travel on my own. I often met Couchsurfers along the way, but it’s best to do what I want to do when I want to do it — and making it up as I go along for the most part — and there’s less conflict in that when I’m by myself.
It’s challenge to be around others for extended periods of time, but a challenge worth overcoming. It’s been uphill since this episode for sure. And I hope to find more companions on the same page next time, sexual attraction would be nice too, and my best travel experiences are surely yet to come!
Hi Ray! Thank you so much for the follow 🙂
I must say, I am both horrified and jealous of your adventure here! Why can’t I be like that? *making a pros and cons list on me being more happy-go-lucky*
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