It’s a small world.
That expression has never ever been any more true than it is right now. So true, that I have to take a break from my duties to write this short post.
In May, I was on my routinely business trip to Saigon, and I was walking down the street one evening looking for a place to eat. Looking very foreign, touristy and lost – all at the same time (I guess all tourists look like that when I think about it) – I was standing in an intersection, looking in all four directions, on a quest to find a potentially delicious restaurant. Almost like I’m being watched, I turn around and find this Vietnamese dude creeping inside a restaurant, snapping pictures of me on his phone. When realising he’s been busted and caught red-handed, he laughs and comes out to me to apologise. Or something.
Immediately, it becomes very clear that this is a very femininely homosexual Vietnamese 20-something man. Just to be clear, I have no issues with this at all, but as it turns out, he was taking pictures of me because he adored my foreign, Nordic looks. I guess I should feel kind of flattered. I dunno.
Anyway, we spoke for a while, and I told him that creeping up on strangers, taking paparazzi-like photos of them is usually not appreciated by the victim, but I cut him some slack and “forgave” him. Since I’m such a nice guy, we chatted for a few minutes, I went in and had some soup, and I took off as soon as I finished my meal.
This was the first time I can remember being hit on by a gay man.
The second time was today. Like, just now.
Staying at my usual hotel, I decided to visit the neighbourhood café, which has gotten brilliant reviews and was kind of awesome. I take my seat in the corner of the café, and I am approached by the waiter who makes the usual small talk and asks where I’m from. I say Sweden, and he counters with the obvious “it’s kinda cold there, huh?” and the way too presumptuous “you have polar bears there too right? lol, no? kay, awesome anyway here’s your menu”.
Also, he casually mentions that while he was working in a Vietnamese soup restaurant not too far from here, he met a Swedish dude the other month who lives in Bangkok, who was in Vietnam for business.
This is when it hit me like my face was being slapped by a clapping seal – it was the same freaking dude from the soup place from four months ago! And he recognised me.
Not only that, he insisted that we should become Facebook friends. Internally questioning his motives, I didn’t had it in me to decline his request, so he had me search for myself on his Facebook app on his phone, but I was saved – we couldn’t find my profile. Almost like help from above. Then he suggested that I should try to find him from my laptop. FUCK!, I thought, and typed in his name. Again, I was saved by the slow WIFI Gods of Saigon, and I couldn’t find his profile.
Quick side note: my reluctance of accepting his proposals has absolutely nothing to do with him being gay – in fact, I have several gay friends and I consider myself being as far away from a homophobe as one can possibly be – it’s just that he doesn’t seem to realise that I’m not, even though I casually but explicitly mentioned that I have a girlfriend. Being socially awkward and emotionally un-evolved, I dread to have the confrontation where I say “sorry dude, not interested in guys”.
Anyways, ten minutes later, he comes back to my table and says that he’s now found me and asks me to accept his friend request. With all my get-out-of-jail-cards nowhere to be seen, I had to accept, and now the WIFI Gods of Saigon were laughing at me.
I guess what I really wonder here is what the hell are the odds of me meeting the same dude once again, four months later, in another place, of all places there are in Saigon. More so, I was even hesitant in going to the second floor – the floor where he worked – as I was intrigued and tempted to sit on the first floor outside by the street, looking at people while sipping on a double espresso. Had I done that, I probably wouldn’t have run into him.
Sometimes I wonder if there are some mysterious forces going on and what to make of them.
Another brief example: two weeks ago, I was on a classic googling spiral where I google one thing, click on a link on that page, and another link on that page and so on, leaving me with insanely many tabs open in my web browser. I landed on a Wikipedia page about the Kingdom of Tonga. Bet you’ve never heard of that country, huh? I was amazed that there exists a country with such a cool name, but also that it’s practically located in no-man’s-land (as you will see if you click on the link, you lazy human!).
Later that same day, I met a Brit friend for a beer after work, and he mentioned that the rugby world cup was just about to start, and that England, or some other country, were facing – wait for it – fucking Tonga! I have never heard of that country before in my entire life, and now I hear about it twice in as many hours.