Airai, Palau Creepy Red Pick-up Man

Mom, don’t read this one. Jennifer, you too.

I’m on the flight to Yap right now. I just had a really creepy experience. I’m still kind of spooked.

I left the internet café after uploading my last post, and was heading back to the hotel to pick up my bags and go to the airport. I was walking alone and it was getting dark – I know, bad idea.

I was on the side of a busy thoroughfare when a red pick-up truck honked at me. I couldn’t see the driver, but he was waving.

To my knowledge, I don’t know anyone living in Guam. So I kept walking.

About 10 minutes later, I’m passing through a parking lot and the same red pick-up pulls in front of me to block my path. The guy inside yells out:

“Hey, how ya doing?”
“You need a ride? Get in.”
“No thanks. I’m okay.”
“Nah, don’t worry about it. I’m heading the same way. I’ll take you wherever you want to go.”
(Editor’s Note: He was driving the other way when he honked at me.)
“I’m just walking around. I don’t need a ride. Thank you.”
“Hey, it’s okay. I’ve got some time to kill. I’m going to the airport tonight. Hop in.”
“No thank you. I’m actually not going that way. I’m going the other way. I appreciate it, but no.”
“Hey, it’s okay. What’s your name?”

The guy reaches out across the passenger seat to shake my hand. Judgment call: do I shake his hand or do the wise thing and rudely snub a potentially innocent gesture?

His palm was empty as far as I could tell and his other hand was on the steering wheel. I shook his hand, then quickly pulled away, said goodbye, and walked briskly out of there.

Man, that was creepy. I shouldn’t have shaken his hand. I know. It was an involuntary gesture – like when people hand you flyers on the street and you pick them up without thinking. Social mores compelled me. But at least I didn’t get in the car. If I had, I would’ve deserved whatever was coming.

I walked a little further, then stopped at a strip mall liquor store and called a cab. As I was entering the parking lot, I noticed another beat up old car following behind me. He was going about 3 miles an hour and pulled right up front of the liquor store as I went inside. When I came back out, I looked him straight in the eye. He panicked, started his car, and drove away. He was a little old Japanese man.

I don’t know what the hell was going on. I didn’t encounter a single Caucasian the whole day, so maybe I was some kind of rare delicacy for the Jeffrey Dahmers of Guam. Or maybe the only guys who walk around by themselves at night are looking for a ride – if’n you catch my drift.

I’m going to cut down on doing that from now on.

The main thing these two incidents reminded me of is that this kind of trip wouldn’t be possible if I was a woman. And that’s a goddam shame. It would drive me crazy not to have the freedom to put on a backpack and wander around. There’s so much stuff to see.

I don’t think about it much, as I’m not a particularly compassionate or empathetic kind of guy. You women folk got a raw deal. And just about everything that’s bad about being a woman is directly related to the existence of men.

Anyway, it was pretty fortunate that I called a cab. The clock at the internet café was off by an hour, and when I got in the cab I realized I had just over 30 minutes until my flight left. There are only two flights a week to Yap, so if I missed it, I’d have an extended stay in this godforsaken hell hole. The woman at the check-in counter gave me a nasty look and scolded me thoroughly, but I managed to slip onto the plane during the final boarding call.

So I guess it was kind of a good thing that creepy gay red pick-up man offered me a ride. If he hadn’t, I’d have been stuck. Thanks creepy gay red pick-up man.

Adios, Guam.

The captain of the plane thanked us all for ignoring the threat of terrorism and giving business to the beleaguered airline industry.

Jeez cap’n, I didn’t realize I was ignoring it until you said that just then. I guess that’s the thing about ignoring.

He also warned us about the touchdown in Palau. He said it’s pretty rough, and there’s not much he can do about it. That seems weird, cause this isn’t some puddle-jumper. It’s a 737. I guess it’s a short runway or something.

I have to stop in Palau on the way to Yap — which doesn’t make sense to me, as Yap is halfway between Guam and Palau. Anyway, I forgot the warning until the moment we hit the ground just now and I nearly bumped my head on the ceiling. That wasn’t fun. I’m coming back here in a few days. Not looking forward to doing that landing again.