They say that 1st time is happenstance, 2nd time is coincidence…


Let it be known that after our first run-in — and now definitely after this second coincidental run-in, Gerard Butler now reads this blog, and I quote from June (left in photo):

“It was funny how he mentioned he had read The Monsoon Diaries, because he kept saying how he usually doesn’t look into these things that mention him. I also mentioned your North Korea trip to him, and he seemed interested [in following up]. Maybe you’ll have another famous follower? He also complimented you…something along the lines of you seem to be very confident.”

Melissa (right in photo):

“Gerard said that you’re very charismatic.”

So the Spartan King from 300 who took on Xerxes and his one million Persian soldiers with a battalion of 300 Spartans, just complimented me on my confidence and charisma…I think I might work up some of both to make a visit to Scotland and ask him to monsoon with me. Perhaps Gerard could be the next travel partner on my 2nd trip to North Korea?

The full account, through June’s words:



“I thought saying good bye to Marrakesh, Morocco, was when my noteworthy adventure would end. Stepping out of the taxi and taking in the beautiful entrance of the Menara Airport in Marrakesh, I was preparing for the long flights ahead. No more breathtaking sites, no more freedom to stroll around winding streets, and no more interacting with locals. After a long arduous wait for our boarding passes, Melissa and I finally made it to our gate. As we were waiting we noticed a familiar face trying to board our flight. It was Gerard Butler! I looked to Melissa for confirmation as I stared at her in disbelief. It was amazing enough that the first time we ran into him was just a couple of days earlier, but this was unreal.

We struggled to muster up the courage to talk to Gerard and to make sure we don’t make a spectacle. I debated within myself if it would have been an intrusion of his privacy, but reasoned that if it were any other person I had happened to met earlier, I would have said hi again at the very least. I turned to say hi. It was possibly one of the most awkward greetings I have ever done, but at least I was able to mention how I thought it was such a coincidence that we ran into each other again. After the awkward start of the conversation, he was kind enough to mention that he had remembered our group, particularly because of the post on The Monsoon Diaries. He divulged the fact that he indeed did manage to look at that entry personally. His manager had done the search and shared the link to him. Gerard mentioned that he usually doesn’t look into these things, but he had scrolled through that entry and had seen the activities our group was doing such as cooking and site-seeing. It is difficult to imagine a busy man like him taking time to do that, but I was glad to hear that he was impressed by it.

We chatted with Gerard until we were the last people to board our flight. He was kind enough to even talk to others who had approached him.  As we were about to board the plane, Melissa and I asked if we could take another photo to document this coincidence. And voila. I was glad that we had the time to chat. To Gerard, good luck with your premier for Coriolanus and hope your endeavors with surfing remain accident free! 

The next part of the never-ending trip: the flight from Marrakesh to Madrid was delayed by about 40 minutes, which caused Melissa and me to miss our connecting flight to JFK. As an inexperienced flyer, I worried about missing the flight. Were we going to be stranded? Did I need to buy another plane ticket? Thankfully, other passengers aboard reassured me that the flight company would arrange a hotel for me to stay in overnight to catch the next flight out without any cost. As we landed, Melissa and I had parted ways. I had to go to the customer service desk to get my other boarding pass as well as figure out what my options to get home were. The wait was over one hour long, but the service to get me a place to stay and food to eat was quick. I was a bit worried that my lack of the Spanish language would get me lost, but many of the people I stopped for help were able to show me the way despite the language barrier.”



And so I spent the night in my own room in a nice hotel before having to go home for no additional cost. Privacy at last. Not a bad way to spend my last night abroad.




- At time of posting in New York City, Central Park, it was -2 °C - Humidity: 44% | Wind Speed: 10km/hr | Cloud Cover: broken clouds


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January 2012