If You Travel Long Enough…

posted by Maya

New friends, Paul, Zelig and Kylie

If you travel for long enough, you are sure to see some familiar faces. But running into a family that you’ve never met before multiple times in a country half way across the world from your own? How often does that happen? And yet, here we are in Vietnam, running into the Gaffney- Curtis family not once, not twice, but SIX TIMES.
The first two times we saw the Gaffney- Curtis family (we later found out that their names are Paul, Kiley, and Zelig) was in Sapa, way up in the north of Vietnam. The hotel we were staying at had a great restaurant on the bottom floor, and they had dinner there twice. We didn’t think it was that strange that we had seen them more than once, because Sapa was a small town and the restaurant was very good. Knowing us, most of you are probably surprised that we didn’t go over to talk to them, but we just assumed that they were French, and, (no offense to you Frenchies out there) the French are not always the friendliest people in the world. We figured, “Why bother?”
A few days later, we went back to Hanoi, where we had been before Sapa, and had lunch at a great restaurant called Koto (Koto has a great cause- you can learn more about it here: http://www.koto.com.au/en/about-us/koto-hanoi ). While sitting and waiting for our food, we saw them walk in. We thought that it was a hilarious coincidence, but we still believed they were French, so we didn’t do anything more than smile and wave.  None of us thought the whole thing was too strange until that night, when we went out to dinner with the Lyss-Loren family.  We were walking out of the restaurant when they walked in.   Later that night, back in our hotel room, we laughed about seeing them everywhere we went, and then dismissed the issue.  After all, it was late and we had a flight to Hue the next day.

And who do you think we saw on the plane? I’ll give you one guess (if you guessed the Gaffney- Curtis family, then you are correct).  By now, the whole situation was too strange to just wave and smile. We ended up talking in baggage claim, and we were very surprised to find out that they were not French at all, but very friendly Aussies!  We had only talked for a few minutes, so we didn’t have time to exchange names or anything, but it’s not like we thought we would see them again, right?  The odds of seeing a stranger five times by complete chance were very small, and it was pretty much impossible that we would ever see each other again.
But imagine our surprise when we stopped for lunch on top of a mountain while on a bike trip (in the pouring rain, no less!) from Hue to Hoi An, and the Gaffney Curtis family pulled up next to us and got out of the car!  We chatted for a while and found out that they were Kiley Gaffney, her husband Paul Curtis, and their nine- year- old daughter Zelig, from Brisbane, Australia.  Both Kiley and Paul were in the music business, Kiley being a singer turned college professor and Paul an agent for some Austrailian bands.  They were just as mystified by all of the chance meetings as us, so we decided to meet for dinner the next day in Hoi An which, surprise, surprise, was where we were both headed.

The next day, we were walking around the city of Hoi An and just about to sit down for lunch, when who walks up but Paul, Kiley, and Zelig! We decided to just do lunch together instead of dinner.  All 8 of us agreed that it just wouldn’t have been the same if we had planned a meeting, anyways.
We didn’t make a plan to meet again.  This was partially because we were finally going separate ways (we were going to Ho Chi Minh City and they were staying in Hoi An another night), and partially because it just wouldn’t be the same if we organized a meeting. I don’t think that we’ll ever see them again, or at least for a long time, because we aren’t going to Brisbane on this trip. But if we do, it will be an amazing coincidence.  Because some things are better left to fate.

Categories: Vietnam | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “If You Travel Long Enough…

  1. Sari Grossman

    Wow! That’s really strange and funny! 🙂

  2. Beth Kimberly

    Awesome story, Maya, and well written!

  3. Karen Davis

    Amazing, amazing, amazing!!! Happy New Year, safe travels!!!

    Karen Davis

  4. mel

    glad your having fun,

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