We came from opposite ends of the world.
He was an aspiring architect. He was born, and he studied and lived in the cold, busy streets of Berlin.
And I was a disgruntled public relations officer in Manila, who at that time, was at the crossroads of my life.
Six thousand and three hundred miles of land and vast oceans separated us, not to mention the seven-hour time difference between our two cities.
But on that rainy July morning, near daybreak in the streets of Khao San Road in central Bangkok, amidst an ocean of people and an explosion of sounds, odor, and sights, fate brought the two of us, strangers who were worlds apart, together.
I arrived in Khao San Road past midnight, determined to find myself.
For weeks, I have been trying to escape my worries about the future. My workplace bored me to death, my love life was a total mess and my family was as dysfunctional as ever.
And did I mention that it was my birthday?
Any means of escape, would have been a great idea.
I traveled to Khao San Road after hearing tales of adventures and conquests from fellow travelers. The place, as they told me, was not necessarily an idyllic destination. In fact, it was just a short strip, composed of stalls, shops, travel agencies and budget hotels that offer accommodations at mind-boggling rates.
They shared, however, that it is a place for any journeyman, any person who is trying to find himself and put his acts together. After all, this street, which offers anything, from the absurd displays, shirts and jeans knockoffs to, cruises in the most distant lands you will ever hear, you can find anything, even yourself.
This truly appealed to me and prompted me to pack my bags and hop on the next available plane.
But on that night, amid the flurry of different tongues, the endless parade of pad thai noodle carts and rows of clothing shops, I was simply lost.
I went to Lucky Beer, one of the busiest pubs in Khao San Road, hoping that three bottles of beer and the endless chatter around me, would make me dizzy enough, so I can finally rest in my hotel, just a few steps away.
Then I saw him.
Tall, broad-shouldered, with natural blonde hair reaching his shoulders, he sat in the corner, beer in hand, watching the different crowds that had been chattering inside the bar.
I could tell that like me, he was alone.
Being polite, I knew that it was rude to stare but there was something in him that made me look again and again and this, he noticed.
Our eyes met and seeing that I was sitting alone, he stood up and said, “You’re not Thai.” It was a statement, not a question.
I told him I was from Manila, and he smiled. He’s heard of it before but has never met anyone from it, he told me and I smiled back. He told me he was from Germany and I told him about sausages and Octoberfest, which I learned, is actually held in September.
With a giggle, we started a small talk, which as the hours flew by, turned to an intimate confession of our deepest wants and desires. Oblivious of the noise from the drunken Scottish lads next table, and of the loud noise thundering from a jukebox nearby, we talked and talked in earnest, sharing our thoughts on the most mundane topics ranging from German sausages to the distance lands we have traveled.
All the while, I couldn’t help but notice his eyes, icy blue, that seemed to smiled with him every time he cracks a joke.
He told his stories with so much conviction and emotion, which I was lacking for weeks now.
At 4am, after decimating 12 bottles of beer and a half bottle of cheap vodka, he looked me in the eye and asked me, gently, if I would would be interested to join him in his hotel.
I looked into his blue eyes and saw nothing but passion. His and mine. I said yes.
For two days, we ventured into the labyrinth of Banglamphu. We explored the whole strip of Khao San and the streets around the Chao Phraya river.
At night, we dined out in whichever restaurant we fancy and then locked up inside his hotel room and discovered the mysteries of our own bodies.
In those two days and nights, we only cared for each other not giving much thought to anyone else. It was like seeing each other clearly, and everything else is a blur.
Our separation was bittersweet. He was traveling to Australia and I was set to explore the Mekong region. We promised to stay in touch, with emails, chats, but we knew they were futile.
We knew it was over.
Coming from two opposite ends, finding a common ground was just too difficult, if not totally impossible.
On the morning of my scheduled departure, he asked me if I enjoyed my trip to Thailand.
I paused for a moment, reflecting on the past three days. I looked up to see his blue eyes once again and answered him honestly. I told him that I could recall very little of my time in Thailand for during our time together, it was only him I could see and everything else was lost in the background.
He gave me a long hug and then I was out of his room into the hot, humid and noisy street of Khao San Road