It’s not unusual to be approached by a friendly local while wandering the streets of Yangon as a solo traveller. Usually they’ll ask a few questions about you and then they’ll tell you about their shop nearby, or their travel business and try to sell you something. So I wasn’t at all surprised when I was approached by a young man while sheltering inside Junction City shopping mall waiting for a tropical downpour to end (this mall, by the way, is like finding Disney World in the middle of Peckham… a sparkly mixed-use development backed with Singapore investment, it’s a complete contrast to the surrounding downtown Yangon).
Mr Sports Shop Man
He was a well dressed good looking guy who told me he had a sports shop. Then he asked me about my hotel.
“Ah, I know it” he said… “I come to your hotel 7pm tonight“.
That’s a bit presumptuous I thought. I’d only just met the guy. When I naively asked why he wanted to visit me he explained, in just two words…
“We f _ _ k” he said.
“We f _ _ k“, he repeated.
Now,… this wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Especially in the middle of the day in the centre of a public shopping mall! I thought maybe he was going to suggest “coffee”, or “a beer” maybe, but certainly not that.
Initially, I found this quite amusing. I’d been going through a bit of a dry period and I think I was actually a little flattered (I’m straight btw). Somehow he’d come to the conclusion that because I was still single at my age I must like men (wrong). But then he started to get a bit more graphic (actually very graphic!) and persistent, and things started to get a bit uncomfortable. The guy just wouldn’t go away.
Now I’m not a violent person and anyone who knows me will vouch that I’m very mild-mannered. But I was seriously thinking of punching him in the face. But then the thought of being banged up abroad for grievous bodily harm and thrown in some decrepit ‘Yangon Hilton’ prison where I’d be forgotten for years by the British authorities, made me think twice (I’ve since learned about Insein (or “Insane”) Prison, “the darkest hell-home in Burma”, and am now very happy in my decision).
The rain subsided and I left the mall. Mr Sports Shop man started to follow me. I think by now though, as I turned to face him, my body language and facial expression were beginning to get the message across and he backed off.
He didn’t show up at my hotel that evening. Or at least, if he did, he would have been wandering around the wrong floor :)…
Ageing Traveller Wisdom 🙂
Being over fifty and single can open up some interesting opportunities!