Yes, it’s April but Toronto still feels rather wintery. There have been a few sunny and warmer (read “above freezing”) days over the past two weeks, but still nothing pleasant enough to make me feel like roaming.

So, I find myself mostly indoors, reminiscing about my latest trip to Southeast Asia and Australia. It certainly helps that I documented my time on the road so meticulously in this blog.

It is a fact that when you travel long term, more things happen to you than if you just stay at home. And among those things, some are a little strange. Call them coincidences, synchronicity, or just “weird occurrences”. Here are a few examples from this trip.

Finding money… twice

I’m not talking about a few coins here, but bills, lying on the ground. The first time was on Christmas Eve on Railay Beach in Thailand, where I found a 500 Baht bill (about $17) lying on the sand on a busy beach. After looking around to see if anybody was missing it, I pocketed it.

Less than a month later, I was back in Thailand, in the North this time, and I found another 500 Baht bill lying on the ground in the hallway of my guesthouse.

Beside the fact that 500 Bahts is a substantial amount of money (especially in Thailand where you can have a meal and drink for 120 Bahts or less), 500 Baht bills are not the most common. 1000, 100, and 20 Baht denominations are a lot more ubiquitous.

Thai currency

Thai currency

Lost and found room

Burma has seen a big increase in visitors in recent years, and the available tourist hotels are not keeping up with the demand. Knowing this, I booked myself a room in Yangon two months in advance. A couple of days before my arrival, I fired them an email to confirm, and was told that “oops, very sorry, we don’t have your name, it seems that someone forgot to write it down. And now we’re full for your dates”.

If I was a cartoon character, at this point my head would have turned red and smoke would have come out of my ears. I was pissed off! After reading their message, I got myself into problem-solving mode and started sending a few more (unsuccessful) emails trying to secure a room for my imminent arrival. Within an hour or so, I got another email from the original hotel saying that they had had a cancellation, and, what do you know, they had a room available for my dates again!

Running into people

It is quite common to run into the same travellers over and over again when you are visiting a fairly small town. In Chiang Rai, I kept running into Harold (guy with the rented scooter) on the street or market, as well as the couple of Québécois. Nothing too weird here since everybody goes to the same streets at about the same time for food, coffee, and so on.

But what is stranger is running into someone you’ve met weeks or months earlier, in a completely different country! In early January I met Samira, a young American woman, in Kalaw (Burma). We did an organized hike together and found out that we were staying in the same hotel. She was travelling south, and I was travelling north, so after a few days we said our goodbyes and did not keep in touch.

About two weeks later, after I flew back to Bangkok, whom do I see on the Don Muang train station platform, waiting for the night train to Chiang Mai? Samira! She had also just flown back to Bangkok (from a different Burmese city) and we had booked tickets on the same train!

The “magic” lens cap

This one still blows my mind. I described it in detail in my post on Long Beach. While on Ko Lanta, I lost my camera’s lens cap in the sand one night. I cursed myself about it for several days, trying to figure out where I could find a replacement lens cap that fits a Canon 58mm diameter lens. I was at the start of my trip, and facing over three months of travelling without a lens cap, which would be very inconvenient and would probably result in a damaged UV filter (which is screwed to the front of my lens for protection) and possibly crappy photos.

Five days later, as I was walking on a different beach, six kilometres away from where I lost the lens cap, I found an identical lens cap sitting on a wooden swing! As if this wasn’t weird enough, I happened to walk by at the exact moment when a man put it down on the swing. He didn’t have a camera, and it looked like he had just found it. Now what are the odds of that? Was it the same cap? Probably not. Lots of people have the same Canon camera with the same lens as me. And I am sure I am not the only person who has ever lost a lens cap (these things are not attached very securely). It’s just the timing that is so very eerie… (Yes, I did take it!)

The twin lens cap

The twin lens cap


Print Friendly, PDF & Email