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Old 10-05-2011, 03:04 AM
Location: Jacksonville/Afghanistan
328 posts, read 586,717 times
Reputation: 276


Doesn't have to be a celebrity or anything just a really interesting person you've met while travelling.

I recently flew business class for the first time from Bangkok to Dubai on an Emirates A380. The plane has a bar in the back where you can get a drink and chat with passengers and I met some pretty interesting people and collected some business cards that will hopefully come in handy in the future

One was an Arab man with his family just coming off of vacation. He was an executive for a UAE weapons company and claimed that business was good because of the Arab Spring.

Another was a Vancouver raised Libyan who was living in Thailand. He was making his way to Libya to help out his father with logistical operations in the country.

The last guy was this Spanish guy(well, he spoke Spanish) who was the Deputy Chief of Staff for the UN at Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He was injured in a bomb explosions there a few months back when they had all of that fighting and was recovering in a Bangkok hospital. He gave me his card which was awesome since I will be going into international relations in college and knowing this guy could help me get my foot in the door :P

Anyone have any interesting stories?
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:20 PM
Location: Victoria TX
42,662 posts, read 76,381,080 times
Reputation: 36232
There was a guy in the youth hostel in Bucharest with a chess board, who asked me if I wanted to play, so took him on a couple of games, and of course, lost. He had been complaining that his Russian chess magazine only showed matches that were won by Soviet players. Including one in which a Russian had beaten HIM. I started to figure out that he was a pretty good player, and I was rather proud that a couple of times he had told me that I had made a good move.

It was Helmut Pfleger. Helmut Pfleger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:53 PM
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,682 posts, read 47,168,578 times
Reputation: 11862
A couple of years ago I stayed at this backpacker's hostel that was actually a former prison. One chilly morning I locked myself out of the 'prison' and this fellow who was staying there let me in. I noticed half of his skull was like flat, like it was missing.

He had the key to the gate but we still couldn't get into the wing where I was staying because I think I'd forgotten the code. Anyway, we both went to the kitchen to have some breakfast. He then told me his 'story.'

Firstly he had a plate in his skull because he said he had a horrible accident with a saw that sawed right through his skull into his brain . It was like he was missing 1/3 or so of his entire skull! I can't imagine wittnessing that. Then he said he used to be an inmate in that very same prison when it was a prison. Now he was living there long term (apparently they also had long term lodging). He told me he stabbed someone (non-fatally) in a fight, my memory's hazy but it could have been in self-defense. All the time I was wondering how much the accident would have affected his brain and his thinking. I admit I was a little apprehensive when he buttered his bread, lol...and when he said that I didn't have to worry about anything. Overall seemed a nice guy from all appearances. I asked him why he would return to prison, even though it was a backpacker's hostel now, and he said he kind of missed the place and the price was right! I guess it does become a home of sorts. But fancy paying to stay in a prison, lol.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:24 AM
Location: Victoria TX
42,662 posts, read 76,381,080 times
Reputation: 36232
My wife and I traveled across Uganda, during Idi Amin's times, and it was quite difficult. There were very few vehicles moving, owing to a shortage of spare parts. We managed to make it all the way to Kabale, about 20 miles from the Rwanda border, and inquired about onward transportation. I was told that there was no public transport, but early in the morning, out at the road junction, we might have a chance of hailing a truck going in that direction. After about an hour's wait, a truck came into view, and the driver stopped to pick us up. We rode in the back, with about 30 men, whom I took to be some kind of field workers being driven to the work site.

After a while, the truck stopped, and all the men jumped out. We started to get out, too, and the driver told us to stay in the truck, it was only about a mile to the border, and he'd drive us down there. We exited Uganda, and walked across a bridge to the Rwanda side, and while waiting there for formalities, the men who had gotten off the truck all came out of the woods, their clothes all wet. They were refugees, who were escaping from Idi Amin's Uganda, and had just come across the river on foot.

It occurred to me that if Amin's forces had gotten wind of this escape attempt, they could very well have waylaid the truck and indiscriminately machine-gunned everyone aboard.

We had stayed for a week in Kampala, in a modest downtown hotel, but there was very little food in the country, store shelves were virtually bare, so for dinner, we walked out to the famous Speke Hotel, which had a special privilege for their menu, as that was where visiting dignitaries stayed (although I never saw any). There were still 3 or 4 old Englishmen, choosing to live out their lives in the colonies, who would sit on the veranda in the cool of the evening in their white tropical suits, drinking glasses of water. After we had dined there for several days, our waiter whispered to us that they had just acquired a little bit of beer, and the two of us could split a bottle, if we liked.

Last edited by jtur88; 10-06-2011 at 08:36 AM..
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:53 AM
Location: IL
2,992 posts, read 4,551,766 times
Reputation: 3094
I sat next to Jerome Bettis one trip and talked about his charity golf outing...but he wasn't really that interesting.

Speaking of plane mates, I also sat next to an executive at a cookie company, that, when he found out I work in the beer business went on and on about how beer ruins people's lives. I didn't want to tell him the negative qualities of cookies, as he was just annoying.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:39 AM
Location: Eureka CA
9,012 posts, read 11,791,280 times
Reputation: 13956
I was in Georgetown (D.C.) on business looking for a place to have dinner and noticed there was only ONE restaurant with a line waiting to get in. I lined up and within a couple of minutes the host came out looking for a single and I ended up eating with an Australian diplomat who was in town to negotiate tariffs, forget what on. I've met dozens of interesting people traveling but I'm a poor correspondent so the friendships generally lapse after a Christmas card or two.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:51 AM
Location: Everywhere.
686 posts, read 815,563 times
Reputation: 711
Took a trip to the midwest not that long ago. Stopped in to a real estate office to check on listings. The receptionist was very polite, friendly, and concerning. It gave a long lasting impression, after being in Florida where lots of people with obnoxious and rude attitudes had been encountered.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:17 AM
Location: Victoria TX
42,662 posts, read 76,381,080 times
Reputation: 36232
From time to time, a few other come to mind. Mr. Tran was the consul general in the (South) Viet Nam embassy in Jordan, at the time of the fall of Saigon. There was a very thin budget for minor diplomatic outposts, and Mr. Tran and the Ambassador (without their families) were the only Vietnamese at the embassy. He wore threadbare suits, and lived several notches below the diplomatic circles, down where I was, in a small flat and using public transportation. He was a diplomat, though, and his drinking buddies called him Mr. Tran. He was at my house the day Saigon fell, fretting about his family. I drove him to the embassy, but the Ambassador had already made off with nearly all the office furniture and the diplomatic car. but Mr. Tran was able to sell a few odds and ends left behind. He wanted to get to France, where he had a daughter. The last I saw of him, he was heading for Syria, since he had no valid papers anymore. Later, I got an aerogramme from him, he had made it to Nice, France, and all his family was there safe, and we exchanged Christmas cards for a few years.
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:35 PM
Location: San Diego CA
5,972 posts, read 3,898,231 times
Reputation: 10098
Last year on a JAL flight from Tokyo to LA. Personal assistant to a mainland Chinese factory owner. His boss and an entourage goes to Las Vegas every three months to gamble and this guy's job duties require him to go along principally as an interpreter since the others don't speak English.

He told me he hates making the trips as the boss gambles as long as 48 hours at a stretch and he hardly gets any sleep. Apparently he is the non gambler in the group.
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:58 PM
Location: San Diego CA
5,972 posts, read 3,898,231 times
Reputation: 10098
One more that I had forgotten about and occurred in the 60's. I was on a Pan Am flight from Honolulu to San Francisco. I had a friendly chat with a group of North Vietnamese who were on the way to peace talks in Paris to try and end the Vietnam War. They all spoke English and were quite courteous with me even though I was clearly an American.

What they didn't know and I never volunteered was the fact that I was on active duty in the military and was in fact in transit back to the states from Vietnam. I was traveling in civilian clothes. Had they known these facts I suspect their attitudes would have been different.
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