The first market in all of its glory, or lack there of.

Karma: The Day I Almost Lost Everything

by Heather on 7 October, 2014

Karma [kärmə/] noun

1. the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person’s deeds in the previous incarnation.

2. fate; destiny.

I’m not one to preach about sun and moon signs or palm readings or other “hippie” ideas, but I cannot not believe in karma. I mean, it’s right in front of my face. When I do good, good generally comes to me. When I do bad, bad generally comes to me.


Let me recount a story of karma for you.

I’ve mentioned before that I spent Christmas on the beaches of Hainan, China a couple years ago. On the last day of that trip, I truly witnessed karma firsthand.

After checking out of our hotel, Aussie on the Road and I arranged for a chauffeur for the day. We wanted to stop at a few places that we missed on our first few days in Hainan. I had this strong desire to see a place called the “First Market” which turned out to be nothing more than a rundown street in China that I could’ve found almost anywhere with a sign marked “First Market” and a pearl museum that we never actually made it to. The plan was to make those two stops before being dropped off at the airport for our flight back to cold Nanjing. We made it very clear to the woman at the front desk where we wanted to go and she repeated what we said in nearly perfect English, translating the same to our driver in Chinese.

The first market that I HAD to see. It was nothing more special than any other street in China.

The first market that I HAD to see. It was nothing more special than any other street in China.

On the way, the taxi driver got a call. He started asking me about a camera in broken English. Confused, I looked at Aussie on the Road. He had his camera and I was sure that mine was in my backpack. After a thorough look, I realized that it wasn’t so it was back to the hotel to fetch my camera.

After, the taxi driver took us to a pearl market claiming that it was the pearl museum. (It wasn’t. Aussie on the Road had visited the pearl museum years prior.) This was nothing more than a place where dodgy taxi driver took their passengers to buy overpriced pearls with hopes of commission. After telling him that we couldn’t afford pearls, we asked again to go to the pearl museum. He called the front desk attendant from the hotel. We told her where we wanted to go and she said she would explain it to him. He flat out refused to take us to the museum. He then refused to take us to the First Market or the airport. Finally, he agreed to take us to the First Market, but he said that he would leave us there.

I conspired with Aussie on the Road to “shove it to the man” and leave the taxi without paying. He didn’t want to do it. He was sure that we should just pay the $20 and then find another taxi to take us to the airport, but I was all “I’m not paying him $20 for him to waste our time taking us to the pearl market and to not take us to the airport.” After much convincing, he finally agreed that the police probably wouldn’t chase us down and the Chinese probably wouldn’t beat us senseless. After getting out at the First Market, we made a mad dash with all of our luggage, leaving the taxi driver without payment.

I almost lost my beloved camera twice that week. See the stealth look on that monkey's face?

I almost lost my beloved camera twice that week. See the stealth look on that monkey’s face?

Now this, this was the bad karma. After walking around trying to flag down a taxi, we got into the back of a taxi dripping in sweat. Because we didn’t spend much time at the pearl market or the First Market, we were quite early for our flight so we were sitting down and grabbing a bite to eat when Aussie on the Road’s phone rang.

AotR (talking to the person to the phone): “Hello.”

Yes, this is Chris.”

I’m not sure. Let me ask her.”

AotR: “Do you have your phone?”

Me: “I’m sure I do.”

AotR: “You should check. The dodgy taxi driver found a phone in his car and he thinks it is yours.”
Me: *searches through all of my bags* “I can’t find it.”

AotR: “Yes, it’s her phone.”
“The taxi driver is willing to drive it to us, but he’s going to charge us $20.” Twenty dollars, the exact amount that we should’ve paid him in the first place.

Some of the roads in Hainan were a bit bumpy.

Some of the roads in Hainan were a bit bumpy.

With only 30 minutes left until check in and with the hotel over twenty minutes away, I knew I had no choice but to pay the money.

Would he show up or would he not? The phone was worth a few hundred dollars. He could’ve just kept it for himself or sold it, but he showed up. Too embarrassed to show my face (after forgetting both my camera and my phone in one day and bailing on our taxi fare from earlier that day), Aussie on the Road went outside to grab my phone before rushing off to our flight.

He had done wrong. I had done wrong. In the end, we both suffered from our poor choices. He wasted time out of his day. I wasted money on double taxi fare (a trip to the airport for us and a trip to the airport for my phone). In the end, I think we both wanted to make amends. I was happy to pay the money to get my phone back and he was willing to make the trip to the airport to receive the money.


What do you think?

I always believed in karma to some degree. But to me, that was a real life example of karma right in front of my face. He had done bad so bad came to him. I had done bad so bad came to me.

Do you believe in karma? Has anything ever happened that you know was karma?

Aussie on the Road October 12, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Oh man, I remember this day very well. Such a nasty experience with that taxi driver, and then the double-whammy of having to pay him after we’d ‘escaped’ his tyranny.

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