It was my first time stepping out of the safe confines of my hotel at night, and I was amazed at how the taxi navigated around the multiple potholes (some bigger than the length of the car) of the quiet unlit roads.
I noticed our taxi slow down and through the darkness, I could make out a small shack among the tress by the side of the road. And a man with a large gun strapped across his body walked out towards our taxi as we came to a stop.
I had watched enough movies and TV shows to have my blood turn cold with fear in that instant. Keenly aware that as a small young Chinese girl, I would be the weakest, easiest prey if anything went awry.
Saying a prayer, I looked anxiously over at my boss, who was seated calmly as if we were just going through a car wash.
The taxi driver wound his window down and exchanged some quick words which I did not understand with the man with the gun. The man with the gun then proceeded to peer through the rear windows at my boss and I. I wasn't sure where to look- keep looking ahead, or turn to him and smile? How could I hide my fear and not look suspicious? I was pretty sure he could hear my pounding heart.
After too many seconds of his eyes piercing through my soul, he stood up and waved my driver off.
I heaved a sigh of relief as my heart rate began to stabilize. And my boss turned to me to say something about this being a police roadblock which was routine in this part of the world.
I was glad that was the first and last such "routine" roadblock I had to experience. My little flunky heart wouldn't have been able to bear it.