Crossing Paths

Three Short Expat Portraits

2 December 2018

This letter, the last in the “Crossing Paths” series, is a bit unusual in both its form and content. Rather than the standard single portrait, I present the short portraits of three atypical expats that I met early in my travels. Although these characters are unrelated, I feel that there is an element of common weirdness and even humor that runs through them. Unlike my previous portraits, these ones mainly concentrate on a single feature of each character that stood out during our brief encounter.

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Papete

15 November 2018

Listening to him was a most eye-opening experience. Papete was one of the very few people in the story of man’s existence on the planet who had the extraordinary experience of jumping from the oldest past of humanity into our advanced present in the span of a few years. I became aware of what a rare privilege it was to look into the mind of an ex-Stone-Age man and see my world with fresh eyes. 

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The French Sinophile

20 October 2018

A Frenchman speaking Chinese in a French accent in one of the remotest regions of China accompanied by an equally strange Cypriot traveler making all sorts of grimaces – this is what I call a truly odd couple, behaving oddly, in an odd place! 

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Arjuna the God

6 October 2018

“Come on, my friend,” I insisted, “this is definitely not a house! It’s not even a mansion. It’s a hotel of some sort. I have seen many large mansions in my life, but this is ten times larger than the largest house of a big Hollywood star in Beverly Hills! How can this function as a family home? How will you spend time with your family if you need to walk ten minutes to get from one room to another?! You are pulling our leg!” 

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Mr. Irenaeus

2 October 2018

I couldn’t believe my luck! It was my last day in Rio, and I was forming my travel itinerary for the south of Brazil, Argentina, and the rest of the continent – so he was a God-sent gift. What was most surprising is that what interested him and what he judged as important were the same exact things that I also loved and appreciated.

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The Colossal Traveler

7 September 2018

Doris is a world-traveler in a league of her own. She has been to 180 countries, many of them multiple times. Most shockingly, for the past twenty years, she has been traveling for about half a year every year. She is the female equivalent of Ibn Battuta, the greatest traveler in history, the only difference being that he traveled continuously whereas she does it piecemeal. 

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The Drifter

24 August 2018

I was crossing paths with a kindred spirit whose life lay at the extremes of my own endeavor, at the very end of the spectrum of freedom. For a moment, I felt that because of this special yet invisible connection between us, I was given an honorary glimpse into his unorthodox and unique life.

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© 2019 Nicos Hadjicostis