Answer ( 1 )

  1. Originally Answered: Is it safe in China?

    My apartment door opened to a corridor, which stretched fifty feet on both sides. The elevator was to the left, and was my normal destination. One day, my girlfriend asked me why I always look both ways while stepping into the corridor like I was at a stop sign.

    I had never noticed that I did that but I started to notice my odd little habits. Checking both sides of a corridor to get a read of the situation and to make sure that no one was lurking outside. Clenching keys between my knuckles while I walked to my car.

    In the US, I wasn’t afraid but I was very aware.

    Not my first day in China, my office sent a Chinese assistant to help me get from the airport to the company apartment and to help me get situated. We rode 45 minutes in a taxi at night through the bar district in Sanlitun until we were in the narrow hutongs near Dongzhimen.

    We stepped out of the cab and she checked the address again. She had never been to the apartment before but had a passing familiarity with the area. We started walking through the narrow, dark streets—I could only see her from her illumination from her cell phone’s screen. Every so often we would pass these groups of men huddled around smoking cigarettes looking at us.

    I started feeling anxious because I would never have been caught dead in a place like this in the streets. A young woman and I walking through unlit narrow streets with luggage, laptops and cell phones, with groups of young men smoking cigarettes outside.

    Suddenly, she turned to a group of young men and started showing them her phone asking for them to give us directions.

    Fuck, now they know we’re lost and trapped here. I thought to myself.

    Instead of the horrible thoughts going through my mind, he instead acted like all people should act. He simply started giving us directions and then turned uninterestedly back to his friends and cigarette.

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