I've been dreaming about China ever since I was old enough to read the little words on my grandfather’s world map so when my friend Bongi said she dreamt about pretty China too, we immediately started planning a trip. But four months before we were set to go, Bongi's mom announced that she would visit her daughter over the summer vacation and I was left with a dilemma: "will I stay or will I go?"
I preferred traveling with my awesome friend but from experience I learned that travelling by oneself, isn’t all that bad and can, in fact, be great fun - lots of flexibility and opportunity to make new friends! So I decided to go anyway! I would miss Bongi but "one is better than none", I figured.
Unfortunately I quickly learned that traveling by yourself does have some disadvantages, especially when it comes to be a "single" in terms of hotel rooms - my trip would cost me an whopping $300 extra! Out of the question I thought, that’s my spending money!!! For long I’ve dreamt of owning a (fake) Chanel bag and now it seemed that my pipe dream would stay just that! Then, out of the blue, I got an e-mail from the travel agents that said that there is another girl that will be travelling alone and wants to meet me! They included her telephone number and an “oh, she is also South-African!" and this is how Gill stumbled into my life. We organized coffee and it was a matter of seconds that both of us realized that we did not only meet a great roommate and travel partner, but also a great friend.
The best description of Gill is that she is a life-sized Barbie. Almost 6 feet tall, with blonde hair and more charisma that should be allowed, Gill steals the show – without even trying. Not only is she charming and smart but really extremely funny! So after tea, dinner and a G&T, it was a done deal; we will not only be roommates and travel partners but also friends.
Gill immediately started planning our trip and every so often I would receive little texts or e-mails about all the things we should pack. She is a compulsive planner and we made sure that we were going to be ready for the adventure that awaits us. Photo ready too!!!! So the night before we were to leave, we organized a little treatment evening – we plucked and waxed, masked and dyed – and didn’t sleep much because we chatted until dawn…. One thing was sure; China was going to be an awesome experience… (To be continued)