• Barbara Murphy-Shannon

China Day 8 - Karma - It's a Bitch

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

I wanted to tell Chris I wasn’t going to the Stone Forest with him but I can’t sleep here another night with those fucking rats.

But then again, which is worse rats or Chris? Hmmmm.

Bruno and AnnMarie asked if I want to share a room for the night but I told them I was going to Kunming for 2 nights but if I should return due to Chris’s famous attitude I would love to.

It was 6:30 am and went about my business. I wanted to eat breakfast and have coffee before the 3.5-hour bus ride. So, I just did what I wanted without worrying about Chris. I’m not sure if it’s the right way of going about it but I don’t know what else to do. I need my space.

After I ate I went to the bus stop. Chris wasn’t there. I was hoping he wouldn’t show. As I talked to a couple of girls I could see him running towards me…Bummer!

As he approached he stopped just before reaching us and sat back in my view. I just kept talking as nothing was wrong.

As we loaded into the bus I asked him “Did you just wake up?” trying to break the tension.

He just gave me a dirty look.

I’m so sick of this fucking shit. I don’t want to ride three days on a train to Beijing with him.

On the bus, he made some wise comments against the Chinese.

He’s such a dick.

Unfortunately, he sat next to me.

I sat near the window and he was in the aisle.

I read for the whole bus trip.

I don’t think we said two words to each other.

When we arrived at the entrance of the Stone Forest the bus stopped so we could buy our entrance tickets. Chris got out to buy the tickets. He bought mine too, I don’t know why? But the tickets were only 2 cents thank goodness. Maybe he’s trying to be nice. I don’t know.

I got back on the bus and Chris went to buy some candy, I told him I didn’t want any and he should hurry up. As I sat down, the bus drove away.

At first, I thought it was just pulling out of the way or something but it kept going, leaving Chris behind.

I looked back but didn’t see him.

I thought should I yell—"stop the bus" but I was frozen.

Then I couldn’t help myself “I’m FREEEEE!!! I'm FREEEEE!

I started laughing out loud.

He’s going to be so mad. I laughed again.


We arrived at the Stone Forest and I waited around to see if Chris was going to show up.

Unfortunately, he arrived on the next bus.

I had to do something fast or this guy was going ruin my day.

“Hey, I’d like to just space out alone today,” I said cautiously.

He just looked at me.

“What can I do about it,” he said.

“See ya later,” I said as I started to walk away.

“See youuu later,” he said with that sarcastic tone.

The Stone Forest is located about 50 miles from Kunming, the provincial capital of the Yunnan Province, and remains one of the country’s most visited locations–and it’s not hard to see why.

The Stone Forest (aka Shilin) took about 270 million years of erosion and seismic activity to create and spans a space of about 100,000 acres. Caves, waterfalls, and other topographical features make the region extremely diverse, but karst makes it spectacular.

Karst is a type of landscape that’s formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks like limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. The Chinese Stone Forest is home to numerous karst features that only exist in this region of the world. In fact, the forest has been internationally acclaimed as the “Museum of Stone Forest karst” due to its diverse and plentiful karst types.

The tall rocks seem to arise from the ground in a manner somewhat reminiscent of stalagmites, or with many looking like petrified trees, thereby creating the illusion of a forest made of stone.

I found a nice spot to relax and write in my journal. I’m so glad I’m by myself. This place is wonderful.

It started to rain so I packed up and started to walk back. On my way, I walked by a Village.

There are natives that live in Shilin “Stone Forest” called Sani people, a branch of Yi people. The Yi people are considered a minority group. “Sani” means happy.

They live in mud houses and raise pigs, chickens, and goats.

The women wear “traditional Sani clothes,” Very bright colors, and have a reputation as exquisite pieces of art. Colorful headgear, dresses, and slippers. The Sani women wear half-circled headgear studded with lines of silver hollow beads on the brim. Unmarried women insert two butterfly-shaped decorative plates on their hats over their ears, while married women wear just one on the hat.

As I was walking I was summoned by a woman to follow her.

“Come, Come” she gestured.

I had heard earlier from a gal they will bring you to their house to buy their famous beautiful embroidery clothes, bags, purses, and more.

So, I followed her to her house.

The house was like all the rest in the village, red mud square houses. She offered me a seat on a straw ottoman. I sat and she and her family of three young girls and a baby in her arms started to show me all their beautiful products.

I bought a traditional Sani dress and a small purse. I guess I overpaid because she also added in 2 more bags and another purse. I didn’t understand a word she said but we figured it out.

I took a picture of the family in their home.

I walked back towards the pond where all the Sani ladies were lined up selling their products. I checked out the clothing, I was curious to see just how much I overpaid.

As I walked by all the ladies they would try to show you things and try to outbid the woman next to her. I got to the end of the line and as I started to leave they were all yelling prices to me.

“10Y, no 8Y, no 6Y, no 5Y, no 2Y”, they shouted.

When I heard 2Y— I stopped and turned around.

All the women were staring at me.

I started to run full speed to the lady that said 2Y.

All the ladies started laughing.

She was only being funny but we all got a good laugh from it.

As I was walking around a man was offering to take my photo with my new dress on his horse for a small price. He kept calling me princess.

When I got back to the hotel I decided to relax and read Tai-Pan.

Tai-Pan is 727 pages long and a big book. When I finished reading a page I would rip it out of the book. Anything to make my backpack lighter. It felt wrong but I got over it.

When Chris entered. He had a fake smile on his face and put out his hand to signal we should shake hands.

“Hello! How are you?” he said.

“I said fine and you?”


So, he does know he has been a jerk.

He sat next to me and continued to annoy me with everything he would say.

As soon as someone came in I knew I jumped up and started talking to them.

I sat and talked to a couple of gals that were teaching English for a Chinese University. I’d love to do something like that someday or join the peace corps.

Chris left to go somewhere…I don’t care.

We are supposed to stay here until Saturday but I’ve decided to leave tomorrow.

When Chris got back I told him my plan.

“I’m going to head back tomorrow,”

“I am too,” Chris said.

OMG!!!! I can’t get rid of him.

We went to the ticket office to change our tickets and on the way back.

I asked him,

“Are you still planning on going to Beijing Saturday?”

“Why don’t you want me,” he said.

I hesitated but finally said it.

“No not really, you are very tiring to me,” I replied

He laughed mockingly.

“I’ll try to change my ticket,” He said

I feel bad but he’ll drive me crazy if I don't end this.

I found it hard to be nice to him but forced myself.

We ate dinner in the hotel with a couple of students and teachers. The food was great! The meat was real meat, not someone’s pet. It was more expensive than most meals I’ve been eating. You get what you pay for.

I sat after dinner and talked to Steve (one of the teachers) he has lived in Sweden and also from California. He was very interesting.

The whole time Chris acted like Chris. He never gets involved in the conversation, sulking with that puss on his face. He’s embarrassing.

Before going to bed I went to take a shower. There were two. One only had hot water and the other only cold. Stupid setup.

I hope I can get some sleep. I don’t know why I have insomnia again. Maybe I’m worried about getting back to Hong Kong and Thailand on time.

Or maybe I'm still not over the sadness of why I decided to take this journey. When you're depressed you either sleep all day or don't sleep at all. I'm dealing with the latter. I know it's not helping to be around a narcissist, he's just like the one I escaped from.

I know I've been harmed. And honestly, it's a horrific realization that someone can hurt you so badly and you don't do anything about it. And often friends and family, even when they are loving and caring don't understand that this isn't a normal breakup and you aren't just going to get over it with eating Ben & Jerry's and meeting someone new. And they can get angry and blame you for "holding" on to it.

I am on this journey to rebuild my eroded self-esteem, confidence, learn to build layers of boundaries and defend them, and identify, unpack and process what I've been through.

I know I didn't deserve to be hurt. And I'm really struggling right now. I will never get back what I gave. And that's not fair. And unfortunately, life isn't about fair or not fair, it just is. I didn't do the crime but here I am, the one paying for it. And it's horrible. But getting stuck in anger, it's not a good thing. It can keep you from moving forward, and focusing on you, your well-being, and happiness. It doesn't hurt him. I can only hope and have faith Karma will strike but I also know I can be the better person.

“He makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust.”


This is a true story that chronicles my rebellious journey when I was 24 years old backpacking around the world looking for solace after the end of an abusive marriage (ok to escape). An intensely graphic and heartfelt memoir of self-discovery is about how getting lost can be where you belong, how traveling to new cultures and meeting new people helps you heal (they don't judge), find your voice and remember who you really are and want to be. It is certain to inspire anyone who has ever woken up in a life they don’t want to be in. Many life lessons and some bad decisions (sorry Mom) along the way. Buckle in! It's going to be a bumpy ride.

xoxo, Barbara