The clock struck 1pm at work, signaling lunch time, and off i dashed out of my office building and into the hot and humid weather outside, that awaited me merciless. My sudden thirst for an ice cold drink came out of nowhere that day, and just like that, i went to the nearest Starbucks for my ice shaken lemonade green tea.
With each foot step getting closer to Starbucks, small droplets of rain started to slowly fall down onto the pavement. As the rain gradually got stronger, I started to pick up my pace while holding tightly onto my brolly, and quickly ran into Starbucks for shelter. The cafe was bustling with men in business suits, ladies in corporate attires, and laid back tourists, where small chit chats filled the room. It was a typical busy lunch hour where staffs were working away like no tomorrow. I ordered my ice shaken lemonade green tea and within 10 minutes, i had my drink in hand and ready to go back to the office to dig into my lunch box.
To my surprise, not only did the rain not stop but it started pouring down real bad, as if a typhoon was on its way. There were no empty seats in sight and as i busily skimmed through the crowd, i spotted this one empty chair that was situated opposite a sofa, where a guy was sitting, whom i shall name Mr. A. I politely asked “Is anyone sitting here?” and he responded with a brief “No”. I was in my own world, in a blur of random thoughts as I was fiddling with my iphone, and slowly tasted the icy and sourness of my lemonade green tea as it touched my lips. It was also at this moment out of nowhere that Mr. A asked me “So where are you from?” and he had the friendliest and biggest smile on his face. To say i was i caught off guard, was an understatement, because this has honestly never happened to me. I still remember debating whether or not i should make things easier and reply “Hong Kong”, with me being Chinese and all, or should i make things more complicated yet interesting and stir his attention, by saying “Denmark”. Within 2 seconds, Denmark came out of my mouth and i will never forget the response i heard next, where he still had his smile and said “me too”. My face looked like I was in disbelief, which I also confirmed with him later on.
Mr. A gave me his business card and we talked for about 30 minutes, and all along i kept thinking how surreal the entire experience was. I’ve never been the type who just chat with strangers in cafes and yet there i was, doing just exactly that, and it was an enjoyable experience. It’s an unexplainable feeling of feeling “home”. Our share of similar backgrounds, in terms of our childhood memories, such as food we loved and TV shows or music that we enjoyed, was quite unbelievable. And just like that, and after an exchange of a few emails that afternoon, we decided to meet up for dinner.
The night did not disappoint, where there was an endless flow of talk and lots of laughters, followed by delicious Italian food and red wine. The silence apart from our cheerful voices, filled the room, and we soon realized we were the last customers and the staffs looked desperate to close. We quickly got the bill and i remember thinking how i didn’t want the night to end yet, and that was when i suggested to go to a bar for one more drink. To my delight, his face looked more than happy by the sounds of that idea. I decided to take him to Al Pasha, a middle eastern theme bar. The setting was dark yet cosy, with friendly staffs, and Mr. A was beyond impressed as we got escorted to the patio outside. There were rows of green bushes decorated with sparkling lights on them, and these lovely wooden tables with candle lights shining from a far. It was the perfect ending to a perfect night. I found out later that night that Mr. A was in town for a business trip and had to renew his work visa. And up to this day, a month later, we are still in touch.
What are the odds of two people from Denmark to meet in a Starbucks, in Hong Kong? We both agreed on this and are very grateful that we met, especially under the circumstances that we did. Such encounters do not happen everyday and this really shows that you just never know what is around the corner. As for Starbucks, i will always see this place in a very different and positive way now:)
Photo source: weheartit