Can you describe the most interesting person you met on one of your travels? I met an elderly (70 yo) English man last year in Goa, who frequently travels to various parts of the world. This guy really was great to talk with. He was very objective and could discuss things of a complex nature in a very simplistic way
I met a really old hippie in Spain - he was completely wasted all day long. He'd just sit there skinning up joints one after another. He had this little dog, Mica, and every so often he'd take a big drag on his spliff, take the dog on his lap and blow the smoke into the dog's mouth. The poor litte thing was walking around banging into tables and walls. (i know, i should have reported him to the spanish version of the RSPCA). Then he'd launch into a 20 minute rant about something or other (he was actually pretty interesting to listen to) and direct the odd question at Mica who'd gaze up at him adoringly.
Debiliating drug habit aside, he seemed like a very content individual who was seeing the world with his little dog. He seemed to have little or no possessions and not a lot of money, but I found myself feeling pretty happy just spending a few hours chatting to him.
While I was in Mexico five years ago I got talking to an old man who was facinated by my blonde hair and blue eyes (and very pale skin).
I chatted to him for a while and he was quite sad. When I asked him why he was so down he said "I have never seen snow and I never will".
Makes you count your blessings.
When I went to the Dominican Republic a couple of yrs ago, I stayed at a Bed and Breakfast, really cozy place ran by a Spaniard. One of the cooks was a 13 yr old boy who was the son of one of the maids. When I woke up first thing in the morning he was there, when I came to the place late at night he was there. I noticed it after the 2nd or 3rd day...he was ALWAYS there and I found out later he didnt live there or even near by. I asked someone whether the kid went to school. He didnt because he had to help support his family.
I realize this is very common in many poor countries but I spoke with his mother and I asked her why her son was working so hard. I also asked her what she wanted the most for her son...she said, for him to go to the US and go to school. (LIGHT BULB!) After I came back from there to the US, I asked my husband if we could adopt him, I was so happy and so excited to make that happen. Needless to say, he said no and everyone thought I was crazy and out of my mind. I was extremely disappointed and I still think about him to this date.
For me, I can't say any one particular person has stuck out more than any other. By that I mean, in each place we have visited, we have met one or two people who have stood out for that trip. Each trip adds more people to list and each one is interesting for different reasons. For example, in Panama, there were 2 botonists from Univ. of Florida; in Jamaica, a couple from Toronto and several Jamaicans; and it just keeps going that way. Maybe one day we'll meet a particular person who just stands out from everyone. (Maybe Eve's hippie and his dog from Spain.)
When I first travelled in Italy, my first destination was Torino, where I stayed at the Youth Hostel at the top of the hill... My Italian penfriend was accompanying me from the train station and we had no idea where the entrance of that place could be, so we were walking around that building and looking around to see if we could ask someone.
There was a girl smoking at a balcony, we didn't know if we should ask in Italian or English, it must have been a mix of both, and she laughed with us and showed us our way... After checking in, we went upstairs to have a look at my dormitory... to realize it was the same as the one of that girl we had just spoken to!! We ended up forming a very interesting little gang... She was biking solo through Europe, from Köln, Germany, to Firenze, Italia, with very little besides her bike and her credit card!!
I met a Korean man in Salzburg, and later learned he was a senior manager in a big record company from his biz card. He stroke up the coversation with me and asked for being my companion. We spent a whole day together because he insisted on strolling around with me. He behaved liked a real gentleman and invited me to take a carriage with him, have dinner with him and take a coffee in the castle with him. Even now I can`t help wondering why he was so interested in being with me even though I rejected all his nice offers and walked like wind when we strolled.
Renne was pretty weird and pretty interesting,
When I met him in a hostel in Rio he'd been travelling for about 2 years, on the shortest shoestring, like 3 euros a day, his clothes were so dirty, he had one shirt that was revolting, he'd given it a name, it absolutely reeked, he told us in Ethiopia of all places they;d called him "poor man" in the street!!!!
He was totally paranoid but we had a laugh for a few days in Rio, he showed me the "sights" like the really dirty places in Rio which I would never have seen without him so Ren wherever you are thanks!
An Australian couple I met in Rurrenebaque, Bolivia. They were tons of fun. She had one huge tattoo that ran from the nape of her neck to halfway down her buttocks. He was festooned with skull tattoos. He had a beer in his hand ALL the time. Not exhagerating. He kept one in his hand and one in a beer cozy attached to his belt, so that he wouldn't experience a delay between one beer and the next.
When i was living in Fontainebleau Forest in France (due to being a vivid rock climber), for around a month...
One day i was around Bas Cuvier and i bumped into an old chap helping some young french climbers film a climbing project, and i thought i know him from somewhere it turned out to be Michel Libert a climbing legend! (He is singled out as the spirtual son of Curvieristes and has been entrusted with the secret of the master's bivouac site and the keys to Bas Cuvier) for all his work and development of climbing in font!