I was waiting outside my Bangkok hostel for my overnight bus to Chiang Mai. I heard my name and was beckoned by a hasty Thai man and a backpacker. To my surprise, we had to walk to the bus which was parked a few (long) blocks away. The stranger, Philippe from Quebec, beamed at me and quickly introduced himself. Thanks to him, I took my mind off the weight of the bag on my shoulders and the unbearable heat. We talked on the way to the bus stop, ended up sitting next to each other and after an hour of exchanging stories, we were like old buddies. Phil was swatting mosquitoes for me and he even asked me for advice on how to win the heart of this special girl he met in Singapore. 🙂
About two hours into the eight-hour ride, the bus suddenly broke down! Nobody knew how long it would take but no one seemed to be complaining or really bothered by it. Some went to grab a bite and others, like Phil and I, just stood around talking. I suddenly heard two people speaking Cantonese. My curiosity encouraged me to talk to them. Just when I turned around to say something, they were already looking at me and smiling as if they had the same question in mind. “Where are you guys from?” It was the lovely couple, Ivy and Leslie, from Malaysia. The four of us clicked after a few minutes of talking and we ended up spending the next few days in Chiang Mai together.
Thinking back to our short three days together – how we cruised around town in motorbikes, acted like children at Chiang Mai Zoo, almost cooked our feet at Sankhampanc Hot Springs, chatted over the loud Huay Kaew Falls, explored markets and bars at night,shared different local food, went for Thai massages together, and how they knocked on my door at midnight to see if I wanted to go get something to eat – is like replaying a favorite music video. This is one travel memory that will always stay with me.
Although we don’t know when we will meet again, it was one great “ichigo ichie”. Sometimes it is not about the destination or the places that you visit, but the people you meet along the way that makes it special.
Isn’t it amazing how friendships can blossom overnight?