• Barbara Murphy-Shannon

China Day 9 -Rhymes with Pineapple on a Stick...

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

As I woke I slowly opened my eyes peeking over my shoulder at Chris’s bunk praying he would be gone.

The bunk was all made up, bed made and his backpack was gone.

He’s gone! Really gone! Backpack and all!!!!

I was so relieved and happy I couldn’t contain myself and giggled out loud.

I got dressed, checked out of the hotel, and grabbed a coffee. I walked around town enjoying my day of solace before grabbing the bus at 3 pm.

One of my favorite things about China is pineapple on a stick sold in the street for 50 cents each. There’s nothing more refreshing than fresh-cut pineapple placed on a stick for your convenience. The US should adopt this healthy treat.

On the bus I wrote postcards to my family, read my book and I was in a great mood. It felt so good to be by myself. To not have my attention taken away by things I didn’t want to think about, to just be.

I arrived back in Kunming around 6:30 pm and went directly to the hotel. As I entered the lobby, my mouth dropped in shock.

Chris was sitting on the sofa in the lobby facing the front door like he has been waiting for me.

Seriously! This is getting creepy.

“There are no dorms available,” he said with that matter-of-fact tone.

“I don’t need a dorm,” I announced as I walked in.

“What do you mean?” he questioned with a puzzled look on his face.

“I had made arrangements to stay with Bruno and Ann Marie before we left.”


He’s oblivious.

“I also decided to fly back to Canton as soon as possible,” I revealed.

“Me too,” he said.

I started to panic and my heart started to pound.

“WHAT?” WHY?” “you’re not going because I’m not going to Beijing, now you’re following me to Canton?”

I stared at him waiting for an answer.

“I’m just kidding,” he started laughing.


After I settled in with Bruno and Ann Marie we decided to head out to dinner when we ran into Chris in the hotel lobby. He’s really becoming a stalker.

“Where are you guys headed,?” he asked.

I said nothing.

“We’re headed to dinner, do you want to join us,” Bruno replied.

I had told Ann Marie all about Chris and his fucking psychotic behavior but not Bruno so he didn’t know what was going on.

Chris sat across from me at the table in the restaurant.

“How are you?” Chris said to me.

“Aren’t you glad I’m here?" smiling.

“Just think this is our last day together,”

“Aren’t you going to miss me?” he said in a creepy tone.

“Yes,” I said smirking at him.

He continued to be an asshole all night.

I decided to say nothing. He’ll be gone soon.

Ann Marie could tell I was really uncomfortable and wanted to leave.

“Hey, Barbara after we eat do you want to go to the tea shop with me. I need to buy some tea?”

I knew what she was doing and I was so thankful.

“Ya, I would love to.”

“I’ll meet you back at the hotel,” Ann Marie gave Bruno a kiss on the cheek.

“See you later Chris,” Ann Marie said.

I said nothing.

Ann Marie and I left the restaurant and started walking down the street.

“I’m so sorry, she said. What a jerk! When you told me about how he was sarcastic and passive-aggressive, I had no idea.”

“No reason to be sorry, you did nothing wrong…it’s him,” I said.

When we arrived at the tea shop we decided to sit and have a cup of tea.

“So, tell me Barbara what made you decide to backpack around the world?” Ann Marie asked.

“Oh, that’s a long story,” I said with a big sigh.

“I was married to someone I met when I was seventeen years old and he ended up being my worst nightmare,” I said as if that explained everything.

“I’m so sorry, you were so young,”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Ann Marie offered.

“It’s so embarrassing and humiliating to talk about.”

“You know whatever he did to you, it’s not your fault,” Ann Marie said with compassion.

“I know, I know…it’s just that I picked him, I married him, I made the choice and it was a bad choice.”

“I knew when I married him. He had hurt me many times and I still married him.”

“I really don’t know why?”

“What’s wrong with me?” I cried.

My eyes started to fill up with tears and my heart started to hurt like someone was stabbing me.

Ann Marie stood up and came over to me and gave me a soft hug.

“Nothing is wrong with you. Barbara we all make mistakes and we learn from our mistakes. I bet you’ll never let a guy do that to you again.”

“Hell no,” I replied.

“Another cup of tea?” Ann Marie offered.

“Yes, please,”

It was so good to talk to someone. I hadn’t told anyone the “real” truth because I was filled with fear and felt such shame. Ann Marie listened to me as I talked, never offering advice or commenting. It was nice to be heard. We sat, drank tea, and talked into the wee hours.


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