Two Years Later

PARIS, France — “Promise me you’ll come to Paris,” she managed to say in between strides. Each step was swift and fleeting. We were chasing time, trying to catch the opening of a puppet show. It was astonishing how we could still have a conversation in the middle of the erratic barrage of motorbike traffic that ruled the streets of Hanoi.

Her name is Josephine. We never planned to travel together. Our story began not in Vietnam but 2300 kilometers away. Both solo backpackers, we met at a hostel in Chiang Mai and parted ways four days later. In a delightful twist of fate, as I roamed around Luang Prabang’s night market a week after, I bumped into her again. We agreed to take the rest of the trip together and shared a room all the way through. An unlikely duo: a gay guy from Manila and a beautiful woman from Paris with nothing much in common.

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