Being lost in a foreign city is pretty common. Locals recognize this right away. Some ignore you and others are generous to offer help.
I had spent 10 minutes wandering around the base of Shoushan (壽山, Monkey Mountain) in Kaohsiung trying to find the trailhead. I’m sure I’m looking a bit confused as I am standing in the middle of the road. A scooterist passes by and yells at me. It’s Taiwanese and I don’t understand. Not sure if they are talking to me, I just kind of stare at them for a bit. She yells at me again. Shoot, I’m in trouble.
Many people where surgical masks on scooters, and it’s hard to see facial expressions. She starts speaking Chinese and I respond by telling her I was looking for the mountain entry point. Before I know it, I hop on her scooter and she takes me about 1000 meters down the road right where I need to be. All the while, we are speaking in near fluent English. It’s natural for me so I didn’t notice it.
She shows me the bathroom, and advises me to eat my food otherwise the monkeys will steal it. We talk a little about about religion and life. She is so patient and generous in explaining the painting behind in the picture below, and other Chinese sayings given that English is her second language.
When we leave, she tells me to pray to Buddha. With each bow, she says a special request. Safe return. Happy Life. Good Health. She mumbles a few things and tells me to imagine a few people I have never heard of. She asks if I know Obama and to imagine his face. Can’t help but laugh, she has a good sense of humor.
She gives me her address and phone number and am sending her this picture!
Acts of Kindess notes are dedicated to those who generously went out of their way to help a stranger (me). If I didn’t tell you in person, it is now ingrained in the internet black hole of blogs.