November 7, 2008
Here's a sampling of the way my world works:
Eight years ago I met Corina on a day-cruise on The Danube in Budapest, Hungary. Corina lives in Bucharest, Romania and I sent her my very first email ever! By some miracle she received it and she responded. Since I had never been to Romania, I decided to visit her the following summer. I have seen her on succeeding trips to Romania and we remain good friends.
Seven years ago, I met Anita and Marc in Sofia, Bulgaria. They were on their ‘round-the-world trip. Six months later we met again for dinner in Bangkok, Thailand. One day soon I hope to visit them and their three children at their home in Holland.
Five years ago I met Sushma and Paawan in Hanoi, Vietnam. They were on their honeymoon. When their first son was of proper age, they invited me to attend the traditional hair-cutting ceremony in Rajasthan, India. We met again at their home in Mumbai. They have a second son now and I expect to return to India next fall.
Three years ago I met Utami in Bali, Indonesia. We traveled together and she was my guide in Java. This year she was my guide in Sumatra.
Last year I met Li Li and Diego near my apartment in Bangkok. Since they live in Beijing, they helped me with hotel reservations, guides and warm hospitality when I arrived in China a month later.
For some reason (maybe my mother's good example of saying hello to everyone who crossed her path) I meet lots of friendly, like-minded people in my travels. And in this digital age, we keep in touch.
Two years ago I met Louisa and Luis and their teenage daughter Valentina in Flores, Guatemala. According to our plan, we met again two days later in Antigua. Luis and Luisa live in Chía, a town outside Bogotá; and they are also determined to see the world. So when I wrote to them and mentioned that I was visiting Miami and was also planning to fly to Colombia, they volunteered to pick me up at the airport and invited me to stay at their home.