I met some exceptionally nice people in all places. Here are some of them.
1. On October 28, when I came out of the Hongkong airport with intentions of meeting Shashank, and with some basic direction as to how to find my way to his place, I immediately realised that things weren't going to be so easy to reach to his place. I was supposed to catch a bus to a particular station. Thereafter, I was supposed to catch a train to the City Centre. From there, I was supposed to change train to reach the place close to Shashank's place. Quite a handful of complications for a newcomer to a place.
I met a lady -- quite cute -- , most probably an employee at the airport waiting for her bus at the nearby bus stop. I asked her how I could get to the MTR station. She expressed her ignorance and said that she would find out. Soon, there was a bus coming. She had a longish chat in Chinese with the bus driver. Finally, it was decided that this was the bus I was supposed to board. Immediately on getting into the bus, I started fumbling. There was no conductor as one would find in Indian buses. Instead, there was this machine which was printing out tickets for the passengers. I didn't have the required coins. I couldn't initially understand what the driver was saying even if he was saying something to me. In that moment of confusion, the lady I had just talked to re entered the bus, swiped her card at the printing machine, and disappeared into the street. The ticket for me got printed . The bus moved on. I couldn't even thank her for her favour. Later I observed that the ticket was worth 3.75 Hongkong Dollars.
Another good experience that stands out was when I was about to leave Auckland on my way back. The flight was at 12 midnight. The airport was quite far from where I was staying. I had travelled all over Auckland that day; and that had given me a bit of an overconfidence that I could get anywhere just by hopping into a bus. However, what I had failed to take note of was that the buses stopped plying on Sundays at 9 PM. By the time I finished my packing and reached the bus stop, I think might have just missed the last bus. I waited for about half an hour and started getting fidgety. I walked back to my hotel and started scurrying through the yellow pages looking for taxi agencies. I called up some numbers (which I could do only because one of the inmates in the hotel lent me her calling card, another instance of a good person). All of them were either unavailable or said that they would take at least an hour to touch me. Time to get really really nervous!
I simply came out into the deserted road and started walking towards the main road. Then I met this gentleman whom I simply caught and explained my problem. He said he was coming from the airport, and it was indeed quite late (over 10 PM) to catch a midnight flight. He then actually walked with me for nearly a kilometre, caught me a taxi, tucked me and my luggage into it and sent me off to airport. Again, I couldn't finish thanking the good gentleman before the taxi had sped ahead away from him.
The taxi driver happened to be Mr. Dhillon from Punjab. A smart young chap speaking nice English with foriegn accent. He soon found out that I was travelling to India. Then started a torrent of storytelling a pure rustic form of Hindi, foul language affectionately garnishing his descriptions. Among others, he gave a long lecture as to how easy it is to lay white girls. He was almost cursing me when he came to know that I had refused an offer of a drink from a beautiful french girl. It seems, he considered that as a straightforward expression of interest, and more advanced forms of socialising would soon follow. The other major chunk of his discourse was the revelation of his frustrations and of that of others in his position, who had left their country (India) attracted by the glitz and glamour, and found themselves trapped in it. In short, India wins hands-down as a place for settling down.
Mr. Dhillon continued his Indian mannerism when it came to settling the bill. 'Apko jitna thik lage de do saab.' He said. I took out fifty dollars, since that was the bill. He took only forty, shook hands, gave his card, assured me that he was in my service next time I visited Auckland, and went off.
Mr. Dhillon wasn't a particularly nice chap if looked at neutrally. But I couldn't have hoped for a nicer escort to the airport in that late hour in a foriegn land.