From People

People along the way.

Barefoot and Nameless

KRABI, Thailand — “Wow, that’s all you’re gonna eat?” He is not judging, probably just a bit surprised how a man with a belly that perfectly resembles a watermelon (among others) would not even touch any of the platefuls that paraded on the Lazy Susan. “The fish is delish,” he recommends. I proclaim I’m not…

Kindness

TAOYUAN, Taiwan — An old woman and two suitcases have become the great divide between impatience and emptiness. Confused and frazzled, the petite lady unintentionally blocks the aisle to the Economy Class of that KLM flight to Amsterdam. The pressure from the growing line isn’t helping. She doesn’t know where to put the bags. The man…

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Conversions

ZHANGJIAJIE, China — He looks at my passport, and I know something is not right. The bank teller stares at my currency exchange form and gives me a look I can’t decipher. My stay in Zhangjiajie is ending, and I need some yuan to catch the last train out. His fingers tap the desk anxiously,…

Noodle Soup for the Soul

LIUZHOU, China — The train from Liuzhou to Guilin was packed that Saturday afternoon. I was pushed to endure the two-hour ride standing at the space in between cars — by the toilet, next to the garbage bin, beside the smoking area — with the other passengers who booked a ticket too late. I shared…

Coy

MANDALUYONG CITY, Philippines — He used to ask me how he could be stronger. Even that night three years ago when he showed up at my door, he asked me the same question. He was in tears, and he didn’t want to be that way. He said he was too lost, too weak. “You’re too…

Sketchy Intentions

CHANGSHA, China — My five-hour wait for the next train had barely started when an old woman entered the terminal and stood in the aisle between me and a couple fast asleep in a sweet embrace. It was five past two in the morning in Changsha City, China. We were the only people in the…

Scars and Mirrors

He comes bearing change. The little boy stretches his arms forward as he tiptoes toward my table with utmost caution. His cupped hands carry a couple of bills under a small mound of coins. His mother, the cashier-slash-waitress at the small eatery, watches him do the delivery from behind the counter. “Thank you,” I tell…