incessant proposal

There is one thing that ticks me off when I travel, and that is being asked the never ending question of why I am alone (except, of course, when I travel with Ron, then WE suffer the question: “how long have you guys been dating?” Ugh!). Sometimes, people get clever and would ask me if I am meeting a friend when I get to my destination. I open a can of worms the moment I answer, “No.” Then follows the question of my civil status; of why, at my age, am I not married; or why I do not have an object of my demented affection; and again, why am I traveling alone.

Beats me, but I really like the challenge. And no, my system won’t let me say I’m married or I’m with someone. It’ll still still lead to more questions… So I’m sticking with the statement.

See, western women (and I don’t mean to sound racial) don’t get questioned as much. I guess it’s because it’s unusual that you see asian women going out of their comfort zones for a head-on collision with the world. Actually, I shouldn’t be saying that. There are a LOT of asian women I see traveling with nobody but themselves, I stand corrected.

From the moment I hop on a cab, any cab at that, my journey to self-reflection starts. And it always brings me to one realization: “Pft, I should really start looking for someone.” But then again, I won’t be challenged as much, will I?

I landed in Jogjakarta at about 8pm and flagged a cab to take me to Jalan Sosrowijayan, the backpacker main street where almost all the cheap hostels are. One thing backpackers need to know about Jogjakarta is that it’s a “manual” city. Weeks before I left, I knew exactly where to stay. I checked online to book the hostel but I never found a site to do that. I got their number and called but they did not accept my call as a reservation. Bottom line is, hostels only accept walk-ins.

Flip Tips: Make sure you get the earliest flight to get to Jogja. Backpackers normally leave hostels in the morning so the more chances of you getting a room. Hostels get fully booked by afternoons, especially evenings. If in case you find yourself in Jogja as the sun is about to set or totally gone, drop by the hostels and talk to their staff. Most of the times, they’ll give you the number of rooms that might be available the next day, as well as the time. And if there is a room, make sure you drop by early the next day to confirm, then you can leave your bags at the reception area to secure the room.

So, much as I am used to being questioned, I felt the cab driver taking me from one street to the other to look for hostels while incessantly asking the questions I enumerated earlier, I I felt a bit scared. Finally, I got tired that I had to give up and he immediately had a hotel in mind to take me to. After checking the place out, I gave in and paid 60,000 IDR for the trip from the airport to the hostel. And as I was taking my backpack from his cab, I got the final blow:

Crazy Cab Driver: Are you sure you are alone?
Me: Positive.
Crazy Cab Driver: Are you going out tonight?
Me: I’m planning to eat at Bladok restaurant and ask if they will have available rooms tomorrow, so yes.
Crazy Cab Driver: You need company?
Me: I’m sorry???
Crazy Cab Driver: I mean, are you lonely tonight?
Me: What??? NO! (running towards the hotel without looking back)

I spent the night paying for a ridiculously expensive hotel for 300,000 IDR. The name of the hotel now resides in the recesses of my short-term memory and I refuse to remember. The next day, I woke up and headed to Bladok Hostel and found a cozy room for 80,000 IDR a night.

Photo by Mathias_T

While enjoying my breakfast and planning my itinerary for the day, I heard a guy talking to the hostel staff asking if I was alone and from where I came from. Mister, I seriously hope you can see that I am sitting at the table across yours and your voice is nothing close to a whisper…

Pft! I should really start looking for someone…

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  • Cedric

    January 22, 2011 at 2:51 am

    The crazy cab driver story’s funny. Got the same proposal from a pedicab driver in Bantayan. It was weird and scary at the same time. Haha.

  • flip'n travels

    January 22, 2011 at 3:59 am

    looking back, it’s funny now. makes me want to learn kcikboxing. haha! thanks cedric! 🙂

  • thepinaysolobackpacker

    January 22, 2011 at 7:29 am

    darn! the cab driver and even the tour driver asked me the same questions! haha nahalata ko parang my ganung intention ata karamihan sa mga drivers dun, so I acted like their little sister para malinaw na di ako ka2gat sa mga pick up lines nila! haha 😀 scary pero I have to show to them na I’m only there to travel,nothing more. Asahan mung ma-encounter ang ganyan kahet dito sa Pinas whenever you travel solo. But in the end, nahahalata naman nila na wala akong interes and most of the time, you’ll gain naman their respect at napaka-helpful pa nila, you just have to show and make it clear to them na Kuya, d kita type okay!? Daanin mu nlng sa joke! haha or kaya magsuot ka ng wedding ring, or sabihin mu my anak ka na, or kaya yung husband or boyfriend mu eh susunod sau, sometimes white lies really works! 😉

  • fetus

    January 22, 2011 at 8:31 am

    wow you got great tips there gael. me i haven’t experienced such. hopefully not. 🙂

  • pinaytraveljunkie

    January 22, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I remember you sharing this during our group therapy-ish chikahan at some coffee shop in Binondo (haha, sharing ng mga travel adik!). Thank goodness nothing like this happened to me since I was with Sherv in Jogja. But when we were in Bali, I beach strolled by myself at kinuyog ako ng mga boysss na nagpaparenta ng mga chairs. Hahaha!

  • flip'n travels

    January 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

    right on gael! i tried wearing a ring before but they still ask. wierd no? but yeah, the best way is to keep yourself intact and not show that you are a bit scared and uncomfortable. it’s just sad that people’s perception of people traveling alone have some agenda. i hope we change that. travel on!

  • flip'n travels

    January 22, 2011 at 9:42 am

    haha! we must do we have to do… it’s really scary when you are there, but when you look back, it’s really funny. keep safe in your travels!

  • flip'n travels

    January 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

    haha! i was actually reminiscing the binondo trip when writing this… jogya was crazy! good thing you had your knight and shining armour with you! haha! scary, kuyog talaga ang mga boys! maybe it’s high time to get pepperspray!

  • Christian | Lakad Pilipinas

    January 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Haha, ang kulit naman ng mga Manong dun! =P

    Diggin’ the new site layout ah!

  • chyng

    January 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    cheers for solo female travelers. i really got pissed off whenever people think that traveling alone only means soul searching. for all they know, our souls are at peace with Jesus. ?

  • Kelly

    January 25, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I get that all the time! It was the worst in South America.. everyone was asking me if I was single or married and when I’d say, I have a boyfriend, I might as well have been saying, I have a cat.

    Site looks awesome!

  • flip'n travels

    January 25, 2011 at 6:44 am

    thanks christian! dinugo si ron jan and he had to call nina for help.

    visit ka rin ng indonesia, ma eexperience mo sila kuya! 😀

  • flip'n travels

    January 25, 2011 at 6:46 am

    korak chyng! i’ve learned to look past staring eyes. if i think and wallow about it, i feel bad about myself. we have to overcome prejudices… i guess you and i and solo asian traveling women know what we’re talking about… so hard noh? but i know we’ll keep walking the walk! cheers!

  • flip'n travels

    January 25, 2011 at 6:57 am

    i’m not really sure why they need to ask all those questions! but i really admire the courage of sole female travelers. i’ve never left asia and i’m sure there’s a much bigger world out there with more people asking those questions. i’d say keep them coming, because that won’t stop me from traveling.

    thanks for dropping by the site kelly! we appreciate it!

  • jamie - cloud people adventures

    January 25, 2011 at 10:15 am

    do the guys like the taxi-driver character actually think they will get lucky? seriously.
    great site btw. cant believe i havent checked it out before.

  • inka

    January 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Monette, you are not alone. I am more than twice you age, a European and travel on my own and can’t set foot anywhere without being assualted by these questions. The first one is: where are you from? Which is very awkward for me because I am German but live in Turkey and Miami,have a Uk driving licence, a Spanish residence permit..I guess you get the picture. Reply: I can’t remember. That shuts them up. Next comes: are you married, do you have children, how old are you. Reply: I can’t remember. All accompanied by an innocent grin. After that they just take me for a lunatic and leave me in peace. I will of course answer nicely if I like the people who ask.

  • flip'n travels

    January 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    haha! maybe they have! i’m not so sure… but they sure won’t be lucky after people get to read this!

    thanks jamie! checked out your site and found lovely pictures! keep it up! we’d love to hear more and see more of your travels! 😀

  • pinoy boy

    January 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    honestly, i don’t mind! he he single eh! ha ha ha but yes, it’s a little irritating most especially for girls, good think you’re such an independent woman! no problem at all! nice!

  • flip'n travels

    January 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    dear inka, i love the fact the you have dislocated yourself from a permanent place and have identified yourself to the world. we are, after all, citizens of the world! i love how we can identify ourselves with each country we visit because we are who we are right now just by being there. i see myself doing what you are doing now when i finally follow my bliss. i hope your journeys are always safe… i hope we get to cross paths someday. be well!

  • flip'n travels

    January 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    haha! i learned not to mind… just moments of self doubt, but i cannot let that overcome me. thank you pinoyboy! rock on!

  • journeyingjames

    January 28, 2011 at 7:13 am

    hirap pala ng situation ng solo girl backpackers, pero astig ka! saludo ako sa lakas ng looob mo.

  • flip'n travels

    January 29, 2011 at 1:08 am

    thanks james! 😀 but i think the girl solo backpackers thrive in this challenge kaya go go go lang!

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