Chance Meetings

We always seem to meet interesting people when we travel, and this trip is no exception. We arrived late in the evening into the Albuquerque airport and had to wait for our prearranged shuttle to take us to Santa Fe.  We waited with a fellow shuttle rider named Abdul. He was an Egyptian man, about 65 years old,  who had just arrived in Albuquerque from Alexandria via  Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles. He was very tall, well over 6 feet, and a professional chef who had worked for years in Santa Fe and was coming back to spend time in a cooperative community of scientists and artists outside of the town.  He gave us some sage advice on good restaurants to try, and which hyped ones to avoid.  He described preparing food as being just like composing and conducting music. We talked about how he manages his diabetes and how he loved teaching classes in Mediterranean cooking. I regret not being able to eat dishes he prepared.

Our second interesting meeting was with a man named Steven, a white man who owned a dusty shop chock full of indigenous art prints and native  ledger art.  He was in his late 60’s and was whittling bear root, an expectorant, to make into tea to help clear his chest from an attack of Spring allergies.  He and I had a serious talk on why the Kachina figure I have in our living room gives me nightmares (he said I had to change my way of living). His art prints were in huge stacks that would take hours to go through.  Husband plans to go back for more conversation and to look at more prints before we leave.

Tell about interesting people you have met on your travels.

23 thoughts on “Chance Meetings”

    1. Probably by not having a kachina in the first place, even though ours is an Apache knock off we got at the gift shop at Mesa Verde. It is a corn god kachina. Maybe I am supposed to grow corn in the garden?

      Liked by 3 people

  1. When I was about twelve, my family took a trip to the Black Hills. On that trip at a roadside shelter, we met Clyde “Dakota” Jones. Clyde Jones had been a rodeo cowboy and for a time owned a pair of trained bison he would harness and drive in wild west shows. He had assisted the secret service when Calvin Coolidge came to South Dakota for the summer and was given as a token of thanks a pair of gold-plated six-shooters and holster, which he let the twelve-year-old me try on.
    Here’s more about Clyde Jones and Coolidge:

    More recently, Robin and I have had great luck with the hosts we’ve met through Air B&B, among them a restauranteur in Dubuque, a vaudeville-type juggler in an incredible stone house near Mount Horeb, WI, and a painter of museum-quality Russian Icons in Sheboygan.

    In Scotland, we briefly met the Duke of Argyll when he kicked us out of his parking lot.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Wow, Bill, what a serendipitous meeting with Clyde “Dakota” Jones. Do you recall how you discovered that he had such an interesting story? Fascinating.

      I recall you telling us about being kicked out by the Duke of Argyll, but would love to hear more about the juggler and the painter of Russian icons and their respective abodes.


      1. As I recall (this was almost 60 years ago) Clyde volunteered most of this in the course of a chat. It’s a measure of how remarkable it seemed that I remember so much of it.

        The juggler performed on stages with her ex-husband and lived in this restored stone and log house at the bottom of a steep hill. Here’s a photo of the place:

        The icon painter lived in a modest ranch-style brick house a couple of blocks from Lake Michigan. She used her living room for a studio. There were lovely gold-leafed paintings throughout the house.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Travel presents all kinds of opportunity to meet interesting people if you’re open to it; in fact, you don’t really need to go very far from home to encounter them. Interesting people are everywhere; so are dull and boring ones; the trick is discerning which is which before you get trapped into a lengthy discourse with one of the latter.

    I’ve already told you about Andy and Marie, the old millionaire American couple that befriended me when they were visiting Denmark; my chance encounter with Bob Dean in Basel that changed my life, and my short friendship with the Jamaican painter Barry Watson.

    You may recall a road trip Hans and I took a few years ago to attend my friend Tia’s mother’s 100th birthday party in Chicago. On that occasion we stayed in an Airbnb in the outskirts of the city.

    We didn’t have a chance to visit with our hosts the night we arrived because they rushed out the door to have dinner with friends in the city minutes after we arrived. They left us in charge of their house and their old cocker spaniel.

    The following day, when we returned to their home after the birthday party, we presented them with a plate full of Polish home baked cookies, and they invited us into their living room and uncorked a very nice bottle of South African wine. We spent the next couple of hours talking, munching on cookies, fruit and fine cheeses, and sipping wine.

    Turns out our hosts had both grown up in Cape Town. He had attended a boarding school in England for a few years, before attending Oxford. He was now a representative for a South African winery. She had a background in the hospitality industry, and they had met through their respective jobs, married and immigrated to the US twenty-five years ago.

    They told us about living under apartheid, the political upheaval, and the beauty of the country. They clearly had a deep affection for the land of their birth but no desire to return to live there. When we left, it felt as if we were leaving old friends. A most enjoyable visit.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. What neat stories ALL of these are! I think most people have stories… it’s just being open to listen and often, in getting them to talk.
    Rochester has a magazine, (Edith, look for “Rochester Magazine” when you’re in town. They’re free and on stands all over) they have a one page article called “Random Rochesterite” that’s always interesting.
    (Latest issue).

    Several years ago I went to a conference. Arrived at 11PM and one other young man and myself waiting for a shuttle. He didn’t have cash for the shuttle so I paid his fare. He was going to the same conference because he was learning acrobatics and wanted to connect with the rigging companies. We’re still friends on FB – he does the ‘Cirque’ type acrobatics and it makes my shoulders hurt watching his videos.

    Just a few weeks ago when I was learning about lighting consoles, my partner for two of those days was Bridget. She teaches at Interlochen camps in Michigan. Our personalities immediately clicked and had a great time together.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Husband just returned from the Santa Fe Farmer’s market with a bunch of business cards. He told me he did a lot of visiting and I hope I can report on the people he met after I am done with my workshops today.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When Robin and I were in Scotland, we stayed one night in the town of Killin, seat of the clan McNab, with an older couple named Mudd. The Mudds had met when he was a civil servant and she a nurse in India and their home bore its antiquity in its two-foot-thick walls. It was very cozy and after a day of exploring the area we sat with the Mudds drinking tea and eating biscuits while watching an episode of Perry Mason. Mr. Mudd was an avid local historian and told us several tales about the McNabs. I found a version of one of them online:

    One Christmas, John’s father the chief of the Macnabs had sent his servant to Crieff for provisions, but, on his return, he was way laid, and robbed of all his purchases by the Neishes. He went home, therefore, emply-handed, and told his tale to the laird. Macnab had twelve sons, all men of great strength, but one in particular exceedingly athletic, who was called for a bye name, Iain mion Mac an Appa, of “Smooth John Macnab”. In the evening, these men were gloomily meditating some signal revenge on their old enemies, when their father entered, and said in Gaelic, “The night is the night, if the lads were but lads!”. Each man instantly started to his feet, and belted on his dirk, his claymore, and his pistols. Led by their brother John, they set out, taking a fishing boat on their shoulders from Loch Tay, carrying it over the mountains and glens till they reached Loch Earn, where they launched it, and passed over to the island. All was silent in the habitation of Neish. Having all the boats at the island secured, they had gone to sleep withour fear of surprise. Smooth John, with his foot dashed open the door of Neish’s house; and the party, rushing in, attacked the unfortunate family, every one of whom was put to the sword, with the exception of one man and a boy, who concealed themselves under a bed. Carrying off the heads of the Neishes, and any plunder they could secure, the youths presented themselves to their father, while the piper struck up the pibroch of victory

    Liked by 3 people

  6. We have met interesting people while traveling, but I can’t conjure up the details to make stories about them like those you baboons are all telling. René and Hubert (pronounced you-BAIR) from St. Père en Retz were both colorful characters – it was Hubert’s wife’s manor house we stayed in, and he was a character with quite a sense of humor. Unfortunately there was the language barrier.

    Moving around a lot is another form of traveling, and it occurs to me that the most interesting people I’ve met are those I’ve lived either with or among (including this crew of baboons). I could tell rich stories of some of these but, alas, I have no time today.

    OT: We are preparing to head out (Monday) for Husband’s son’s wedding in … MAUI! : ) We’ll be away for about 8 days (3 of it travel), will take laptop but I have no idea how often I’ll be able to get online – sporadically at best.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Have a great time, BiR. What a marvelous reason to go to Hawaii, as if you needed one. With a little luck, the snow will be all gone by the time you return.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. OT – Huge sigh of relief. I just finished our tax returns. Can’t wait till next year when I’ll hopefully be able to see what I’m doing. You’d think that a sizeable refund would be motivation enough to get the damn things filed early, but no, I find more interesting things to do with my time until it can no longer be put off. Now back to Straight River.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hearty congratulations, PJ. There is a bill in Congress to radically simplify filing taxes. Apparently it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance. Lined up against it are tax lawyers, TurboTax lobbyists, H&R Block, etc, etc.


      1. The irony is, Steve, that our taxes really couldn’t be simpler. It’s the combo of having a very hard time reading small print and, that I can usually think of something more interesting to do that’s the problem. It took no more than two hours, and that long only because of my poor eyesight.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I wouldn’t know where to start. I spent a long lifetime in outdoor sports, traveling so I could photograph and write about my adventures. The pay was poor but I kept at it mostly for the astonishing people I met. I have stories and stories, most of which are unprintable here.

    Sylvia drove a school bus and ran a resort. She talked often about “the president,” meaning Coolidge. She had a magic way with children and animals.

    Don was a busted-up former bronc rider on the rodeo circuit, which meant he was a also a criminal because rodeo guys have to be criminals to scratch up the funds for entry fees. He is the only one of my personal friends to serve prison time for cattle rustling.

    John, my former employer, was a rich man who lived in virtual poverty. He worked various jobs, none of which he took seriously, treating most jobs as a form of performance art. He was a shopkeeper who hated many customers, and John had ways of making sure they would never come back.

    Jim hated many of his customers, which crimped his profits. His business was breeding and selling dogs. He kept deciding that the dogs he bred were too good to go to the customers he attracted. He fought with everyone from the Corps of Engineers to his friends.

    Jim H served five tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam, coming out with a towering case of PTSD. As a result of being trapped behind Chinese lines for nine days, eating nothing but grass, Jim was obsessed with food.

    Lefty was famous and funny. He had a TV fishing show and wrote books about saltwater fishing. He had an incredible storehouse of jokes and stories. When he was in a plane that crashed in the Alaskan bush, Lefty and his pilot sat on a beach waiting to be rescued. Lefty talked nonstop for three days, telling dirty jokes and stories. He was going strong when help finally came.

    I’ve had two bosses in the TV fishing show game, both epic drunks. More stories I can’t tell here.

    Larry was a cowboy/farmer whose hobby was fighting in bars. He was amazed that I had no interest in bar fights; they always improved his spirits.

    Lowell was a mountain of a man who used his canoe country cabin as a sort of theater for his own performances. He looked like a bigger version of Burl Ives and had an ego to match. Lowell had appetites. He mixed his martinis in a five gallon pitcher.

    The funniest man I met was Jon, but I don’t remember him speaking a whole sentence I could repeat here without redactions.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. Yesterday at the Santa Fe Farmers market, Chris met a fellow who sold used but desirable cowboy boots. He used to be a country western musician in Texas but likes it better in New Mexico. He is looking for a pair of black Frye boots for Chris.

    Chris also met a Ukrainian woman selling icons, and a German woman selling textiles. He has all their business cards.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. OT – It’s a glorious sunny day outside, and Pete Buttigieg has officially launched his campaign; what a hopeful and inspiring way of ushering in spring.


  11. PSA – Just came across this article that claims eating chocolate cake for breakfast is good for your brain. I know there are several baboons who like chocolate cake, and hot chocolate, so I thought I’d pass on the link to what you might consider really great news:
    You’re welcome.

    Liked by 2 people

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