Even when we go around the world, we bring a little bit of home

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In 1996, Bill Lidell from Dumfries, Virginia, was vacationing in Florence with his then-wife when a street performer called Bill to join him in his act. The thing was, Bill stood shirtless in the square next to a young buff “Adonis” as the busker surveyed the pretty young women in the crowd to see who they would prefer.

“Go ahead,” Bill’s wife said. “No one here knows you.”

Bill walked over and took off his shirt. Then came a shout from the assembled crowd: “Hi, Mr. Lidell!”

He was the son of a friend, who was also visiting Italy. Bill wrote, “It’s become local gossip, small town home.”

Small town, small world. Today, I have more travel coincidences with readers.

Coincidences are usually memorable. Often they are delicious. But sometimes the District Barbara Lynch writing, they are disconcerting.

In the early 1960s, Barbara was living in Georgetown. Every weekday morning, she would walk to a bus stop on Q Street NW to wait for a bus or taxi.

“For five years, almost all those working days, I was already seeing the same man at a standstill,” she wrote. “And it was always just the two of us. Strangely, during all this time, he never said hello or even smiled a bit.

In July 1962, Barbara found Barbara elsewhere: in the dining room of the St. Ermin’s Hotel in London. “And, yes, strange as it may seem, at the next table was – THE MAN AT THE BUS STOP!” she wrote. He looked at me, but never changed his typical unpleasant expression.

He just continued to eat his breakfast without a word. Beard did the same.

Barbara wrote: “A month later, when I reappeared at the bus stop, there he was – silently, grim-faced as always, not a shred of recognition!”

Pallavi Kumar and her sister, minalbarely caught the last train of the day between London and Paris on their trip to Europe years ago.

“Bewildered by our frantic rush to the departing train, we struggled to hoist our luggage up to the upper bin,” wrote Pallavi, from the district. “A rather gruff-looking man traveling with his girlfriend stepped in to help us a bit grumpy. A few days later we were strolling down the Champs-Élysées and tapped a man on the shoulder for us. take a picture. Lo and behold, it was the same man! This time he laughed and said, “I always help you girls!”

In 1995, Bethesda Tim Polk and his wife, Marianne Swansonboarded a flight to London with their two children.

“We had four seats in the middle section of the row, next to the aisle, and the kids managed to sleep once the novelty wore off,” Tim wrote.

With an hour to go before landing in London, the couple across the aisle shouted, “Smoke! Smoke!” A large puff of smoke billowed from an overhead overhead bin. Within seconds, flight attendants evacuated everything from the overhead compartment. A faulty ballast in a fluorescent fixture had caused the problem.

Eight days later, the family was in Edinburgh, having breakfast in their guesthouse.

“My wife and I felt we knew the couple at the next table, but couldn’t seat them,” Tim wrote. “It was clear from their body language that they recognized us as well. It was the couple opposite who had seen the smoke! We chatted briefly, marveling at the efficiency of the flight crew and we wondered what the chances were of seeing each other again, eight days and 400 miles from this happy landing at Heathrow.

When Ellen Hinch was a university student – “light years ago”, according to her description – she spent her first year in France. It was after taking the train from Rouen to Paris during the last week of her stay that Ellen found herself on a busy and soggy Parisian street.

“It was raining and almost everyone on the crowded sidewalk of a large boulevard had open umbrellas as they walked,” wrote Ellen, of Leesburg, Va. “The tip of my umbrella caught the edge of another woman’s umbrella.”

When the women turned to each other to untangle their umbrellas, they realized they were high school classmates who hadn’t seen each other since graduating three years earlier.

“Talk about being stunned,” Ellen wrote.

Of all the umbrellas on all the streets of the world…

Tomorrow: No more mundane coincidences.

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