Thought I’d stay home today. It’s Friday the 13th. So. Where’s Freddy Krueger?
“When the joints ache,
when the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.”
The other day, I thought of my favorite things. Feeling “Julie Andrews”. More so when I had to fetch my granddaughter from swim school with my red umbrella. 😀 But really, just thinking of all my favorite things busts any lists. Even thinking of my favorite “travel-related” things or events or moments can easily fill up a list. No Top Ten list for me here. It just wouldn’t be fair. There were far too many random acts of kindness here and all over the world that I still vividly remember to this day. And these were random acts of kindness from strangers. Complete strangers. I did not even bother to get their names. The ones I got, I promptly forgot. Quick kind acts; instant good deeds. As the good book says: ASK, BELIEVE AND CLAIM! You guys pray for angels before and while traveling? I do. All the time. And it never fails to amaze me the many shapes, forms and “colors” of the angels sent my way.
No Top 10 List. But 2 stand out, worthy of mention.
Back in 1986. I was in Scotland for a weekend. Right in the middle of winter. Trained in from Bradford, England. Walked around Inverness and decided to join this local tour around Loch Ness. You know, that famous monster the size of a dinosaur that claimed a whole lake as its official residence? Well, Nessie the Monster that was. Or is. The local tour cost me 7 Euros back in ’86. Not cheap , based on my cash-starved pockets at the time. I was sleeping in pension houses for only 8 euros a day (low season), and that goes with that very heavy English (or Scottish) breakfast which is about the only proper meal of the day for me.
The local tour is like a family outing. The driver cum tour guide with his blue van, and all 8 of us “kids” at the back. Yeah, that’s how he called us. He, without a name. Lol. Sounds like a Lord Voldemort line from Harry Potter. 🙂 But he was really a nice guy, acting out like a dad to us “kids”. He made 2 stops before proceeding to the lake. He also divided us into 2 groups of 4 members each. Each group was given a grocery list. I was with the 1st group, and promptly took over the shopping assignment. Bread, cheese and some cold cuts. The 2nd group was assigned to take care of the drinks. Hot choco, water and orange juice. We were having a picnic by the lake………IN WINTER!
Have I managed to bore you with all these details? Alright, I’d get on with it. The local tour guide finished his job. We who paid 7 euros each were satisfied. When it was over, he who has no name invited me and another Fil-Am, and a Brazilian to his house for lunch. Not one to pass up a free meal (cheapskate!), we accepted the invitation without thinking why we 3 were singled out and the other 5 were not invited. It was a simple but filling lunch. Some kind of meat loaf dished out by his charming, hospitable wife who was just as surprised as we were to be invited to their home. Over cups of steaming hot tea (with milk), he who has no name told us a story. He used to be with the army. Had stints in the Philippines and somewhere in South America (not Brazil). He said he met locals who have shown him random acts of kindness which he will never forget. Not much details. But there it was, pure sincerity. And then, he fishes wads of bills from his pocket and told us not to take offense that he would be returning our 7 euros each. He said it was the only way he knew how to return the “favor”. Imagine that! I got a free tour, a picnic and a free lunch. Yet more than that is what stuck in my mind. All these years, I have been conscious of the chances, the opportunities to “return the favor”. Let those random acts of kindness roll…………all around the world.
The 2nd random act of kindness happened in Nanjing, China. Yes, that’s where I had this freaky accident. But I don’t want to spoil my Scotland monologue with this 2nd story. Perhaps you should read it another time. Dwell on the Scotland story and he who has no name. If I can sketch, I can illustrate every facial feature of this kind charming man. Think about it. He was my angel. The girl who has the knack for ending up with her last US$20 in her pocket back in those days. Or take weekend trips at the height of winter because lodgings and tours are way cheaper then. A sucker for low-season deals.
When you’re done and care to know the 2nd story, come read about my Nanjing Misadventure.
P.S. Back in those pre-digicam days, I took very few photos of my trip because having the films developed cost a fortune. I also had with me the cheapest camera you can find, as these blurry photos show. But I wrote my travel journals even then. Diaries. That’s what they were called. Not blogs. After many years, I am now able to publish them! What’s that? I should keep it private? TMI? Who cares? I’m too old to keep secrets. 🙂