Thursday, 13 March, 2014
We’ve had a very pleasant week, thanks to the hospitality of some wonderful Taiwanese people – so, I’m using this blog to highlight the fact that, in the most part, people around the world are genuinely pretty nice.
Sadly, we are often made to believe otherwise, – mostly due to the fear presented by the media – however, I want to share some personal feelings that will hopefully offer a more positive spin on the human race.
Each time I leave home on a new adventure, I will usually be doing so with the underlining message from many friends and family members of, “Stay safe.” – While that message is little more than a show of care, it subconsciously suggests that because I’m heading to the unknown, I’m potentially entering dangerous territory.
We hear horror stories from around the world everyday – which in turn, fill us with fear and concern.
I will never forget a message I received from a close friend in October of last year, it read, “Did you hear about all the people that were shot dead in a Kenyan mall? I hope that is not on your list of places to visit!”
That event did, of course, occur and it was a sad tragedy of huge magnitude – yet, it would have zero influence on whether I chose to visit Kenya.
Why? Because it was the rare, extreme, actions of a couple of crazy people – rare, being the word that I would choose to highlight.
Could I get shot dead in Kenya? Yes.
Is it likely to happen? The statistics would suggest not.
I may also die by falling out of my bed – the odds of this happening are 2,000,000 / 1, apparently.
In the same year as the mall shooting, another horrible tragedy made headline news. An unfortunate man was horrifically murdered in broad daylight by a couple of crazy people in Woolwich, London.
Should this make me scared to go to my nation’s capital?
I don’t fear London and I wouldn’t fear Kenya. Bad things happen all over the world, but infrequently (in the majority of countries), we’re a pretty good species.
Yes, tragedies occur – but you cannot avoid leaving your house just in case you stumble into the wrong place at the wrong time – as stated, it could, in fact, be your house that turns out to be the wrong place at the wrong time. Life is fragile.
Since having the privileged of visiting a few different places around the world, I have discovered that most people just want to ensure that you enjoy your experience in their country. The local communities are filled with pride and simply want to show guests exactly why they love their nation.
In my short time travelling, I’ve had locals take me out to their favourite restaurants, drive me to the city’s biggest waterfall and offer a place for me to stay – usually completely free of charge – all because they deem themself to be a representative of their country.
These people are everywhere – the kindness, the willingness, the positivity – and yet it completely goes unnoticed. It’s a small unrecorded moment of good nature that stays between two humans.
Then some unrelated nutter could decide to go around shooting people, and that one action will tarnish the country’s reputation for years to follow.
During times when I have receive such kind gestures, I will often find myself pondering how I would react to meeting a tourist in my hometown.
As I’m being driven three hours to an iconic mountain view by a local person I barely know; I will often ask myself, would I take such time out of my day to jump on a train with a random tourist to show them Hull, the UK’s city of culture for 2017?
I usually conclude that this would simply be too much culture for anyone to handle. I like to think that I’d at least find the time to take them for a drink at the Dry Dock though and perhaps offer them some suggestions over a pint.
“Go to Meanwood Valley Farm, mate. It’s bananas.”
So, let’s get back to those lovely Taiwanese chaps that inspired me to write about how people, in general, are pretty decent.
Now here is the part that will really blow minds, the gesture of kindness that I’m about to discuss, came via our current landlord.
Generally, landlords are pricks.
They’re in the Caribbean when the hot water stops working – so, for two weeks you’re left running up and down the stairs pouring heated kettle water into your bathtub.
However, when it comes to returning a deposit, they’ll have a magnifying glass out as they inspect every inch of the carpet for stains. Later claiming that they can only justify returning a tenner of your 500 quid deposit because of all the damages.
Well, Eva is not like this at all. To be frank, we have probably received our first few months’ rent back through the ‘settling in’ presents that she has given us.
We moved in less than two months ago and she has visited us most weekends, usually bearing gifts, which are always thoughtful and useful.
She seems to pay careful attention to our needs and then will go out of her way to provide us with products that can improve our living situation. For instance, she noticed that I was scratching my leg once. I then explained to her that this was because we had a mosquito in the house last night – and it got me, before I got it.
So, the next day she came to the house with some mosquito killing weapon thing – it’s basically a tennis racket that electrocutes them – and is pretty effective when called upon. Amy will use it on me sometimes when I’ve had too much sugar.
Honestly, if I mentioned that I was low on beers; I reckon she would bring us a brand new fridge filled with a selection of the finest Belgian IPAs – that one may just be worth a try now that I think about it.
I am 90% certain that Eva’s heart is made entirely out of gold. I won’t lie though, there is a fraction of me that thinks she may be trying to work her way into a threesome with a younger couple.
Her generosity went one step further this weekend, when she took us out on a day trip with her entire family – refusing to so much as let us contribute to the price of petrol or pay for our own food.
We went to Yangmingshan National Park – a place filled with waterfalls, mountains, flowers and cows. We had a lovely picnic there too. It was a very nice day.
Now, about those Belgian IPAs, Eva…