I got lost in Hong Kong recently. I had a map but I’m not very good at reading maps. Hence, this not uncommon scene whenever Jazzy Jeff and I go travelling:
I don’t like to ask for directions. It makes me very very anxious. It could be that when we were in Egypt in 1997, the tourist police always gave us the wrong directions unless we offered some Baksheesh. Or it could be that my mother brought me up to be very wary of people, nay, to simply not trust ANYONE except for her and my dad. However, as the years have passed, I’ve grown less and less trusting of everyone, especially mum and dad (but that is another story that I will no doubt share some time). I just HATE asking locals for directions. It’s a very un-ladylike condition – it’s what women do. But in our case, it’s Jazzy Jeff who will stop ANY hunched-over, wizened old timer who is more likely to be able to do handstands than speak our lingo. And then I get frustrated. Then he gets frustrated at me for getting frustrated and for becoming frustrating. And sometimes it ends with me walking away. When the time comes for me to look at a map, we have to stop. Completely stop, and not assume a direction. Like if we’re in the driveway, if JJ reverses while I’m checking the Melway it drives me crazy.
So, alone, and lost, in Honkers I took the left road, the right road, the high and low roads without passing one single landmark. But I found the coolest carry bag and JJ called me out of the blue so everything was ok. Did I get out my map? Nup. Did I make it back to the hotel? Yep. In time? Nup, but nobody seemed to mind.
I got lost walking to Nazareth once and just hoped to see some palm leaves along the rocky road, which I didn’t. But the town looked like an oasis in the distance. It didn’t look so oasis-like from up close. But I felt like Jesus must have as the group I was with (Jazzy Jeff was back at the Kibbutz sleeping) were greeted warmly by a milkbar-owning Arab family who treated us to lemon wafers with our bottles of Fanta and 7-Up. The moral of that story? Jesus wore leather sandals and long gowns for a reason – walking through Israel’s potholed terrain dressed in a rather short dress and thongs is something worth reconsidering if by chance I end up in that situation.
I like arrows. There aren’t enough of them. Arrows help you decide which way to go so you’re guaranteed to see everything. Which brings me back to my point about the Melbourne Aquarium. There are no arrows. But there is a map, so I’m double screwed.