One of the best things about travelling is the people one meets. People of all kinds, which you would never have met otherwise. People from different backgrounds, all with a story to tell.
As we walked around in Singapore’s Little India we decided to sit down and have a drink, in one of the food quarters. I was playing with the camera and an old man at another table said: Hey take a picture of me. I did, and soon he walked over to our table and sat down. An rather tipsy old man, with barely any teeth left in his mouth. Hs name is Tan. He asked where we were from and when we said Sweden his face lit up and he started talking Swedish!
It turns out Tan was an old sailor, who started to working on ships at the age of 19. As a young poor man in Singapore after WW II there were few options. But he got to sail all over the world and had what it seemed a woman in every port (doesn’t all sailors 🙂 )
He had been in Sweden for many years and although he left Sweden a long time ago his Swedish was vey good and so was his memory of different Swedish cities and places. He talked fondly of the food and told us that in the beginning of his time at sea the food was scarce, not like today he said; when everything is available.
After problems with the union Tan had to leave Sweden and return to Singapore. And every day he comes to this food quarter, to sit and chat with his friends, drink beer and tell tales of South and North America, Europe and Africa.
We didn’t talk long but it was a nice chat. People really can surprise you in ways you don’t think, if you just give them a bit of your time.