I’m so LUCKY to have a memorable trip in China - I wish I could have said the same for our driver then.
My family couldn’t contain the excitement to see Beijing and our first day was a tour of The Forbidden City. I was all the more excited to see meet our driver, Lee! –It was crush at first sight.

As we got to the parking lot, Lee murmured phrases in Chinese. It was quite clear something was wrong from his tone. Things got clear after a while – The keys were left inside the car!

Two hotel staff came out to help Lee by trying to force open the backseat window just enough for an improvised hook, made out of a bent old metal hanger, to unlock the door. They were successful after several attempts and a third staff came out of the lobby with a chair that Lee used so he could climb up the window. As he took of his shoes before climbing, I tried to stifle a laugh at the large holes I saw on his right sock.

The second day of our tour started off smoothly as we enjoyed the sights of Beijing while on our way to see the Great Wall. My mind wandered at the magnificence of the things that I saw. My amazement was rudely interrupted by a large pop and a halt. The van’s engine died!!

Our interpreter informed us that Lee has a mechanic friend nearby, from where we were but we had to be patient because his friend was busy and that a tow-truck will take time to arrive. The men in my family got impatient so they helped our driver push the car towards the shop. As for me? I just enjoyed the ride as well as the view of my brother pushing the car alongside my crush who was blushing.

Day three: the saga continues and the setting was in the van, after a half-day tour of the summer palace.

My mother whispered “Finally, luck is on our side”. she spoke too soon when a policeman signaled the van to stop at an intersection. Lee committed a traffic violation and was asked to sit on the curb along with 7 other drivers while waiting to be interrogated and be given a ticket by another policeman.

“Traffic rules and street directions often change so drivers must be up-to-date.”
Ashley explained.

What an interesting 3 days I had on the road!

On our fourth and last day of the tour, everyone confided that we each said a prayer last night that nothing bad would happen and heaven help our deprived-of-luck driver.

Everything fell into place and we knew that our prayers were answered- or so we thought. Exhausted from the half-day tour, we all took a nap on our way to the airport in the afternoon.

Everyone woke up alarmed when Lee suddenly stopped the van on the side of the highway and literally flew out the door and ran into the curb. Ashley jumped right out and called out to him. We were all stunned as we were trying to figure out what had happened.

I saw Ashley pull out a large pack of tissue from her bag and I finally made sense of what was going on- Lee was having a heavy nosebleed! I ran out of the car with a half- full cold can of root beer to administer first aid as a nurse.

I was lucky to have Ashley to interpret instructions as Lee didn’t want to breathe the entire time I was pinching his nose to stop the bleeding. Not to mention, he seemed to have thought that the can of root beer was for him to drink when in fact I only meant to use it in lieu of an ice pack on his forehead to further stop the nosebleed.

At the airport, 2 hours after, my family gave thanks to Ashley and Lee for being with us the entire trip. I remember what Lee told us because of the sincerity in his voic, the fact that he never spoke a word of English until that time, and what he said with emphasis.”

“Thank you, I am LUCKY to meet you, I never forget you”

I can definitely say the same to him for not only is he my crush, but in my years of traveling I have never encountered a man who made my trip INTERESTING indeed!

S Tungpalan

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