While in Hawaii, I did have a few conversations that stood out. Because the shuttle ride to Waikiki took so long, there was another guy and me for a long time. He turned around and stuck out his hand as he introduced himself.
Turns out he had just come from a conference in Maui (Hawaii is a popular location for conferences involving Asian countries.) and was looking forward to spending a few days in Honolulu before going home. He was from Kuala Lumpur and it took him one layover and about 34 hours to get to Hawaii. I told him I've never travelled that long before and cannot yet imagine such a lengthy journey.
As he was quite well travelled we compared favourite places, best travel deals and visa requirements. Such a polite man. Shook my hand a second time upon his stop.
In Maui, I met a really sweet older gentleman (80s?) who ended up sitting beside me one afternoon. It was the only lounge seat open as there was temporary maintenance of the grounds. He promised he would not bother me (I was journaling up a storm) and that he was going to take a nap. I told him no worries. His nap lasted about 2 minutes before he asked if I was writing a book. I told him no, I was just thinking on paper.
We ended up talking for a couple of hours and he concluded we were definitely "cup half full" people. He lives in Phoenix and travels whenever he can and warned me he can talk my ear off about travel if I'd let him. We spoke about the pleasures of solo travel and how underrated it was. I told him I did my best thinking when I was alone, especially amongst beautiful scenery. He told me I will love Bergen when I get there.
Because of his age, he has had ample opportunities to return to many places over the decades and was able to comment on the changes in cities and countries. I was really interested to hear about it. And since he was such a frequent guest, he got a lot of perks. One of which was free drinks at happy hour of which he could invite a guest. So I got an invitation. I declined politely though I did get asked if he will make it into my journal. I guess he has.
Remember how I seem to get mistaken for being local when I travel? At first D thought I was pulling his leg. Now that he has personally witnessed the phenomenon twice in Amsterdam and once in Florence, he doubts me no more. The trend continued in Lahaina at a local gelato spot. I was too impatient and warm one day to wait in the long line for their "famous" shaved iced so I went for ice cream instead.
The gelato place had a good number of non dairy choices (I have 4 more months of avoidance before I can stuff my face again). I had a scoop of coconut - vanilla - cinnamon (deliciously creamy!) and Lilikoi (Hawaiian passion fruit). The fellow who served me asked what part of Maui I was from? I told him I wasn't but considered being mistaken for Hawaiian as a complement. He said I look like I could be from there.
Never dawned on me I could possibly be mistaken for anything other than what I am. D thinks it is because I give off a confident "I belong here" vibe when I am in a new place. I've never been mistaken for an Icelander. Now that would be super cool.
So the list has gotten longer: Italian, French, Russian, Dutch and now Hawaiian...